By Paul Gorski
I have received a number of e-mails regarding “Tech-Friendly: Should I upgrade my Mac OS X?” posted Aug 26, 2014, at http://rockrivertimes.com/2014/08/26/tech-friendly-should-i-upgrade-my-mac-os-x/. Thank you for responding. I will address here a few common questions from those e-mails.
First, do not attempt to upgrade your operating system (Mac or Windows) if the operating appears broken. By “broken,” I mean: cannot print, intermittent crashes or locks up, or the computer fails to start regularly. You should identify and fix those types of problems before upgrading the operating system or the upgrade may fail miserably, causing loss of data. Operating system upgrades usually do not resolve these types of problems.
If your goal is to upgrade your Mac to Mac OS X v10.9 to make the computer compatible with a new piece of software or hardware, visit Apple’s website to find out if your Mac will run Mavericks, Mac OS X 10.9: https://www.apple.com/osx/how-to-upgrade/. Some users upgrade to keep current with iCloud and Apple’s Pages.app, Numbers.app and Keynote.app upgrades.
Second, make sure the programs you use are compatible with the new operating system before you upgrade. Microsoft Office 2008, Quark versions earlier than v9, and Adobe Creative Suite versions earlier than 5.5 do not work well under Mac OS X 10.9. Also, some software that runs just fine under v10.6 may not run at all under 10.9 because Apple removed some older software compatibility components when Apple released Mac OS X 10.7.
If you own an older Mac and Mac OS X 10.6 is the most current version you can run, that is OK, too. I like 10.6, but take steps to make it as secure as possible.
Step 1: Run Software Update to make sure you have all the patches and updates Apple has offered for 10.6. 10.6.8 was the last patch level.
Step 2: Stop using Safari. Use FireFox with HTTPS Everywhere installed, and allow Firefox to automatically update itself. Download Firefox at: https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/new/ and learn more about HTTPS Everywhere at: http://rockrivertimes.com/2014/08/19/tech-friendly-use-https-everywhere-with-firefox-for-more-secure-browsing.
Step 3: Keep Adobe Flash current and have it set to auto update. The auto update does not work that well, but enable it anyway. Flash updates may be found at: http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/.
Step 4: Keep Adobe Reader current. Better yet, use the built-in Preview.app to read PDFs.
Step 5: If you have Microsoft Silverlight installed, keep it current, too: Updates may be found at: http://www.microsoft.com/silverlight/.
Step 6: Make sure your firewall is turned on and Enable Stealth Mode is selected. See this page for screen shots and information (step five shows where you may enable stealth mode): http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-to-use-mac-os-x-snow-leopards-builtin-firewall.html.
Step 7: Optional — you might change your DNS service to OpenDNS for added security. See: http://rockrivertimes.com/2013/06/26/tech-friendly-opendns-malware-blocker-faster-surfing/ for more about this free service.
If you have questions, post them online or e-mail me at: email@example.com. Please supply me with the computer name, OS version, processor and memory information for your computer. You may find this information by selecting the Apple icon in the upper left portion of your screen. I cannot help you with the upgrade, or promise that the upgrade will be trouble-free, but I can give some free advice before the upgrade.
Paul Gorski (www.paulgorski.com) has been a technology manager nearly 20 years, specializing in workflow solutions for printing, publishing and advertising computer users. Originally destined to be a chemist, his interest in computers began in college when he wrote a program to analyze data from lab instruments he hard-wired to the back of an Apple IIe.
Posted Sept. 2, 2014