Apple recently seeded the “Golden Master” release of its Mountain Lion operating system to developers. The term “golden master,” by the way, is taken from audio recording where it refers to a single copy of either the original, recorded audio or of a finished album from which all other copies are made. In software, the golden master is the final, canonical version to be released to the public. All that means that Apple is very close to releasing Mountain Lion which will be available in the Mac App Store for $19.99. If you’re planning to upgrade, here are a few things you can do to get ready.
It’s always crucial to make a backup of your data. Lots of things can go wrong during a software upgrade or just in daily life: the power could go out, your download could be corrupt, or you might accidentally erase your hard drive (hey, it happens). A good backup should be up to date, verified (you’ve tested to make sure you can recover your data from it), and on a separate hard drive. Preferably you’ll also have a copy of your most important data in a separate location (referred to as an off-site backup). That way your data will be safe even if something terrible happens to your house. And just to be clear, having a backup means you have two copies of everything, one on your computer and one on your backup drive. Backing up your photos and then deleting them off your laptop to save space doesn’t count.
On this one point, I will allow myself to get preachy. Backup, backup, backup because, as the saying goes, there’s no use crying over spilled milk. Unless it lands on your laptop.