Time to upgrade your computer?

On Sunday I upgraded my laptop to Snow Leopard. I had been putting off the upgrade for so long that my original plan was just to skip Snow Leopard and go straight to Lion. Unfortunately Apple screwed me over there by requiring you have Snow Leopard before you can install Lion.

Anyway, even after my install disc for Snow Leopard arrived, I spent a lot of time trying to decide if I should actually upgrade now or not. There’s a lot of pros and cons (okay, mostly cons) when it comes to upgrading software on your computer.

Pros:

  1. You end up with the most recent version, which usually means new features.
  2. You have a new toy (sort of) to play with.

Cons:

  1. You may lose features that you really liked when moving from one version to the next.
  2. Sometimes things break. And sometimes they break badly. And a simple 2 hour upgrade becomes a multi-day nightmare.
  3. Old software you relied on may no longer work and may require shelling out more money.
  4. The new version may just point out how old/crappy your laptop has become when it has to start chugging away to be able to keep up with the demands of the new software.
  5. New doesn’t always equal better.

I’ve also been busy trying to get my experiment in shape to go. Yes, it’s still a work in progress. And so one of my biggest fears with upgrading, was that something was going to go wrong, and the next thing I’d know, my to-do list would grow exponentially as I had to re-fix stuff.

But, you can’t always get away with sticking with old software, even if it’s comfortable and you don’t want to change. Eventually, something will come along that you need and can’t use with out the upgrade.

In this case, there are a few things to make sure you do before proceeding.

  1. Back up your computer. Make sure, double sure, triple sure, that you have all your important files backed up on an external harddrive, email, wherever. Just don’t rely on all your information surviving the upgrade intack.
  2. Make sure you more than meet the minimum requirements. If you only meet them, you’re not going to get the full benefits of the software, and are more likely to start to hate it.
  3. Find some time in your schedule where you can be flexible. Don’t plan to have everything done and be back to work in a couple of hours. Plan in contingency time so that you’re not panicked if (when) things go wrong.
  4. Do your research. Make sure that any vital software will continue to work, and if it won’t, figure out a solution before proceeding.

Thankfully, my Snow Leopard upgrade went perfectly. However, I’m still holding off on Lion. I don’t think I can handle two upgrades in one week.

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