Take Control of Upgrading to Lion

By Joe Kissell

Review By: Victoria L. Herring

Iʼm a big proponent of the Take Control series of books on proper use of your Macintosh computer. http://www.takecontrolbooks.com/ The books come in downloadable PDFs as well as epubs and other formats for your iPhone, iPad or other electronic device. The whole series takes a basic topic [e.g. upgrading an operating system, using that system, maintenance of it], and other more targeted topics and provides useful information in a logical fashion for the non-geeky audience.

Itʼs no different with the newest books, Take Control of Upgrading to Lion and Take Control of Using Lion. This is a review of the Upgrading title, since I just did that. Joe Kissell, a guy who has authored quite a number of the Take Control works, leads the reader through step by step in getting ready for, upgrading and starting to use Lion.

The main machine in my office is a 2007 MacPro and I didnʼt want to upset it with an upgrade if some of the applications I use wonʼt work, so I decided to upgrade an iMac and my MacbookPro instead. Once the dust has settled, the MacPro is able to be upgraded to Lion, but thereʼs [so far] no rush to do so.

The Take Control book first provides you with an upgrade Quick Start, if youʼre knowledgeable and used to the various steps in upgrading software. Itʼs good to review that part of the book, but I knew that Iʼd be a fool to just follow it even if I feel comfortable because if something did ʻbreakʼ, Iʼd have to deal with that issue and waste time. So I decided to carefully go through each of the steps in the book one by one and make sure I didnʼt have any major problems. So far, on the two machines which I have upgraded, no problems at all.

The initial chapters of the book explain what all the commotion over Lion is about, how to be sure your computer can be upgraded, and some of the initial safety steps to take [backing up your machine, cleaning out what you can and taking a number of Final Preparations]. Then, in some detail, Joe walks through the various decisions you need to make [whether to install in place or do a clean install, post-installation steps, etc.]. I found the discussion helpful, easy to understand and providing a step-by- step process to follow. As he notes, it is helpful to either have a printout or a copy on another machine [computer, iPad, whatever] to follow along; I didn'tʼ want to waste paper [weʼre talking 150 pages] so I put it up on my MacPro and followed along when needed.

Also, as Joe warns, be sure to have other things to do so you donʼt hang around and watch paint dry during the steps you take. I did plan other alternatives and the upgrade was painless. I havenʼt used the system too much so far. I donʼt use the iMac much now and while I do use the MBPro, I havenʼt had time yet to do so. But Iʼll put it through its paces this week and hope to have more to say at the end of it. On the whole, using the Take Control book and following along took alot of the pain out of the upgrade and made it exceptionally simple and easy to do.