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How to upgrade safely to the new Mac OS X El Capitan

How to upgrade safely to the new Mac OS X El Capitan
image courtesy of apple

It's an exciting day for Mac users - the latest version of OS X, known as El Capitan, is available as a free download today. It replaces OS X Yosemite, which brought big changes to the Mac operating system environment. El Capitan isn't a major overhaul, but has some tweaks like split-screen that users will likely enjoy.

Should you upgrade now? There's no particular reason to hold back if you're anxious to try out El Capitan. It's been beta-tested by users for months now, so it should have most of the bugs out of its system (unless you're trying to run Office 2016 - we'll get to that shortly).

So if you're going to upgrade to El Capitan, there are a few things you should do. First, make sure your Mac is compatible with the new OS X. If you're running Yosemite, or its predecessor Mavericks, you should be fine. Here is a list of the El Capitan compatible Mac models:

  • iMac - Mid 2007 or newer
  • MacBook - Aluminum late 2008/early 2009 or newer
  • MacBook Air - Late 2008 or newer
  • MacBook Pro - 13-inch, mid 2009 or newer | 15-inch, mid/late 2007 or newer | 17-inch, late 2007 or newer
  • Mac Mini - Early 2009 or newer
  • Mac Pro - Early 2008 or newer

So your hardware is compatible with El Capitan and you're ready to make the leap. First, make sure you have about 10GB of free space on your hard drive. If you need to free some space, look for files you can delete from your Downloads folder.

You'll also want to make sure your apps are up to date, by opening the App Store and looking for upgrades. Keep in mind that not all developers have upgraded their apps for El Capitan, so things might not work quite the same after your upgrade.

Most importantly, you should backup your hard drive. If anything goes wrong with the installation, you'll want to be reassured your precious data is safe.

Also, know that you don't need to install El Capitan right away just because it's available. There's nothing wrong with waiting two or three weeks to make sure the system's bugs are all worked out - it'll still be a free upgrade no matter when you choose to install it.

If you're planning on using the latest version of Office 2016, don't install El Capitan. A writer for the tech news site Thurrott reports that the experience of attempting to use Office 2016 on El Capitan is "atrocious."

He writes, "Office 2016 on El Capitan is unstable and virtually impossible to use on my machine; all of the apps crash multiple times a day." He's not the only user experiencing these issues - Microsoft's Answer forums are filled with complaints about the problems.

Microsoft will likely issue a patch to fix the issues sometime in the future, but for now, there's no easy fix for Office 2016 on El Capitan. If Office 2016 is a must for you, avoid the El Capitan upgrade.

As soon as Microsoft announces a fix for the Office 2016/El Capitan problem, we'll let you know right here on our Happening Now page. If you've installed El Capitan on your Mac, let us know what you like and what you don't like about it in the comments below.

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Source: ZDNet
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