In case you've had your Mac for a while and it didn't come with Mac OS X installed, this section will guide you through the basics of installing it. (If you need a reason to make the change, a lot of the best software for using digital media on the Mac is available only for OS Xincluding iPhoto and the most recent version of iMovie.)
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From the time OS X was released until 2002, Apple shipped computers with software for both OS X and the previous operating system, OS 9. The reason for this is simple. During development of OS X, Apple had the foresight to know that its long-time users couldn't switch to the new operating system, no matter how well it worked, until the applications and hardware they had come to depend on were available for it. By designing OS X and updates to OS 9 in such a way that the two systems could co-exist, users were getting the best of both worlds their old familiar applications and hardware and a new state-of-the-art operating system that could pave the way for even better hardware and applications later on.
Because a broad range of software and hardware is now available for the new operating system, Apple has stopped offering OS 9 as a separate product, and has even stopped making computers that can boot directly into OS 9. The good news is that OS 9 lives on as the "Classic" environment in OS X, and most older Mac programs can still be used in this mode. We'll talk about using Classic applications in more detail in Chapter 3, "Working with Windows, Folders, Files, and Applications."
The first thing you must do is make sure that your system can handle Mac OS X. The system requirements for Mac OS X are higher than previous versions of the Mac OS. According to Apple, Mac OS X runs on all original G4 computers, all iBooks and iMacs (including the Bondi 233), all PowerBooks (except the original Powerbook G3), and all beige desktop G3s.
Although Mac OS X can run on a wide range of processors, the minimum requirement for decent performance is considered by many to be at least a 350MHz G3. If you're using an older or slower Macintosh, it might exhibit extreme sluggishness with Mac OS X. Users of original iMacs and iBooks might want to consider upgrading their computers, rather than experience the frustrations of overloading their machines' processors.
In addition to the processor requirement, Mac OS X needs 128MB of RAM and 1.5GB of available storage. If you meet these requirements, you're ready to begin!
Preparing Your Hard Drive for Mac OS X
You have 2 choices about how to configure your system. The best configuration depends entirely on your needs.
The simplest path to upgrade from Mac OS 9 to Mac OS X is to upgrade to the most current version of Mac OS 9, and then to install Mac OS X. Apple recommends this approach only if you have existing data and cannot start from scratch. If you choose this path , your system is ready for Mac OS X installation after you install Mac OS 9.
Another configuration option is a clean install , which means you want to disable your current system folder and install a new one. Why choose this option? Although installing on top of an existing Mac OS 9 system is acceptable, it might not lead to the best possible performance. You avoid some types of system problems if you clear out your system and start from scratch. However, you must move your system preferences from the folder labeled Previous System to your new system folder so that your application settings aren't lost.
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Even though a clean install won't delete your existing data, backing up your documents is still a recommended practice. System updates often update the drivers for your hard disks, which, although unlikely to cause problems, is a serious enough action to take the cautious route.
When installing Mac OS X, installation wizards do most of the work. Follow these steps to start installing Mac OS X:
If you're currently running Mac OS 9 and have inserted the Mac OS X CD-ROM, double-click the Install Mac OS X icon. Your computer will display a welcome message, restart after a few moments, and begin to boot from the CD-ROM. If you're starting the installation from a power-off state, make sure that the CD-ROM is in your drive, and start the computer while holding down the C key.
While the installer boots, you'll see a Mac OS X loading screen. It's normal for this screen to stay visible for a few minutes. The installation procedure begins immediately after the operating system is loaded.
The next several screens ask you to choose the language in which you'd like the entire operating system to be displayed. You must click Accept for the licensing agreement.
Next, you must choose the drive that will contain Mac OS X. Click the icon of the drive that corresponds to the volume you've prepared for Mac OS X. A circle and arrow form over the selected drive. Click Continue to move on to the final step.
Click the Install button to copy all the standard Mac OS X components to your computer. If this is the first time you've used Mac OS X, this is the best course of action to take. Advanced users can consider clicking the Customize button to display the individual components that can be added and removed from the system.