Prepare your Mac for OS X Mountain Lion

The release of Mountain Lion is here.  Well, if you’re reading this Tuesday night you still have a few more hours to go.  So the question is, do you have all of the latest OS X updates; as well as third-party application updates?  Have you done your spring cleaning of OS X Lion?  Have you made a full backup of your Mac?  If your answer is no to one or all of these questions, then you’re in luck.  I will give you a few tips on updating, cleaning up, and optimizing your Mac; as well as making a reliable backup before you upgrade to OS X Mountain Lion.


First things first, with your Mac powered on perform the following steps:

  • Go to System Preferences
  • Select software update
  • Select Update Now

If you have a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air, you should have the power plugged in.  As a matter of fact, you should have the power plugged in for all of these steps.

Once it’s done checking you will either have updates, or it will tell you that your Mac is up-to-date.  If you have updates that are ready, go ahead and download and install them.  Some updates might require a reboot.

Now that the OS X updates are complete; make sure that your other software and utilities are up to date as well.  If you’ve purchased most of your applications from the Mac App Store simply run updates from there.  If not, you will have to check with the individual software developer.


Next up, spring cleaning.  The best and quickest way to optimize your hard drive without third-party utilities is to use Disk Utility.  If you have a third-party utility that you use and like; then, by all means use that utility.  For the sake of this article I will be talking about Disk Utility.

Let’s begin.  Reboot your Mac, when you hear the chime hold down the Option Key.  You will see Your Macintosh HD drive, any attached hard drives ie, external or DVD, and your Recovery HD.  You will perform the following steps:

  • Select your Recovery HD
  • Select your language
  • Select Disk Utility
  • Select Continue

In Disk Utility you will want to perform the following steps:

  • Select the Macintosh HD partition, and not the actual hard drive
  • Choose Repair Permissions
  • Choose Repair Disk once the above step has been completed

Depending on the size of your hard drive, and the last time you have ran these utilities will dictate how long they will take to run.  On average this whole process should take about five to ten minutes.  However, everyone’s Mac is different, so times may vary.


Now that all of the above has been completed, you’ll want to run a backup, or clone your Mac.  This can be achieved by remaining in Disk Utility, and performing the following steps:

  • Select the actual hard drive
  • Click the Restore Tab
  • Click Macintosh HD and will add itself to the Source field
  • Drag Backup HD Partition to the Destination field
  • Click on the Restore button

Times will vary with this process.  When it’s complete you will have a full backup of your Macintosh HD.

You are now ready to upgrade to OS X Mountain Lion from the Mac App Store.

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  1. In regards to disk permissions:  “You don’t need to repair disk permissions prior to installing Mac OS X over a previously-installed OS. The installer will do this automatically.”

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