How to Prepare Your Mac For OS X Lion

Apples newest operating system, OS X Lion is expected to come some time in July. Just to tantalize us, Apple has not released a specific date, and that means that you should be ready to go at any time if you want to be the first one in your social circle to have the new OS. So, let’s go about getting your Mac prepared for the new operating system.

In order to install Lion, you need to make sure that your computer meets the minimum system requirements. Before that, you need to know what the minimum system requirements are. According to Apple you will need to have a system with the following:

  • At least 2GB of RAM
  • One of the following processors: Intel Core 2 Duo, i3, i5, i7, or Xeon
  • You have to be currently running Snow Leopard

To find out if your system has the right specs, simply click on the Apple logo and select “About this Mac”.

system-about-this-mac

The pane that pops up will show you the processor and memory specs that you have on your current system. You can then compare your systems information to the minimum needs. As a general guideline, most of the system built after late 2006 will be able to run Lion.

You should probably have at least 8GB of free storage space on hand for the install, since the OS installer is 4GB and you will need to have more for the temporary files created by the installation process itself. While there are a wide variety of tools out there that can help you to determine your memory usage. If you do not want to pay for one, you can just use a classic organization system, updated for the digital age. You are going to need a flash drive, and an external hard drive if you have a lot of memory.

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Sort through your documents, media and pictures. Each will fall into one of three categories:

1. Keep – This is a file you need to have on hand. It is essential, used frequently or needed for a current project.

2. Store – This is the point of your flash drive. You will store files that you need (or paid good money for on iTunes) but you do not use that often, files that are older, or files that you simply have no use for in the near future.

3. Trash – This category is for files you do not need now, have no good reason to store and see no need for in the future. This is also a good category for any photos of yourself that could be deemed embarrassing or potentially incriminating.

In most cases, a good clean out can give you what you need. While you are at it, go ahead and see if you have any program that you are not using anymore. Sure, The Path was a great game, but it does not need to stay on your system forever.

Before you install, make sure that your OS and software are up to date. Click on the Apple menu and then on Software Update. The system will then present you with a list of the updates you need to run before you can install the new OS.

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After this, all you need to do is check on the manufacturers sites for your favorite programs that are not made by Apple. Many early adopter is annoyed to find that their favorite software is not forward compatible, and the patch will not be out for three months, as this writer did with her copy of Mac Speech Dictate when she upgraded to Snow Leopard.

Now all you have to do is wait for the announcement.