What is the best way to upgrade to Mac OS X Lion?

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Answered by: Jason, An Expert in the How To Use Your Mac Category
The new Mac OS X Lion operating system for Apple devices blends the best features from the iPad, iPhone and iPod seamlessly into a functional interface for your Mac laptop or desktop computer. As well as full screen support for word processors, web browsers and other applications; those functional swipe gestures that users enjoy on the iPhone/iPad are now available right from the comfort of your trackpad.

Unlike other operating systems, installing Mac OS X Lion does not require additional software discs to upgrade the OS on your computer and is relatively inexpensive at $29 compared to other operating systems that can run into the hundreds of dollars. Instead, users download all the required files and install the new system right from the App Store's interface, saving time and cutting out the risk of damaging your operating system discs. Follow these steps to make sure your valuable photos, documents and data are protected while migrating your computer to Mac OS X Lion.

Backup your entire hard drive and system files before installing Mac OS X Lion. Not only will this save you hours of headache and protect your data in the rare event something goes wrong with the installation but this is good practice whenever making large scale changes to your computer. Fortunately, Apple includes a built-in backup tool, called Time Machine, to assist you in protecting your data.

Connect an external hard drive to one of the USB ports on your computer and click the "Time Machine" icon in the "Applications" folder if it does not automatically appear to begin the process. Click the "Backup Now" button in the Time Machine interface and click the icon for your hard drive. A progress bar will appear indicating the estimated time to complete the backup. This process can take up to several hours however you must wait until this process is finished before disconnecting the hard drive in order to have a backup copy of your files.

Click the "App Store" icon on the "Dock" of your computer. Click the "OS X Lion" entry in the "Categories" field. Click the "Download" button in the "OS X Lion" page that appears. Enter in your payment information in the field that appears to begin downloading the OS X Lion files to your computer. A small icon will appear on the dock of your Mac, indicating the progress of the download.

Click "OK" in the prompt that appears to close any other programs that are currently running in the background as they can conflict with the final installation of the operating system. Click "Continue" to begin installing the new operating system to your computer. A progress bar will appear indicating the progress of the install process. Once the install is finished a prompt will appear, asking to restart your computer to complete the installation.

Click "Continue" and your computer will restart into the new operating system. Take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the new features once the installation is complete and your programs appear on the desktop window. The "Settings" application on the dock will walk you through any changes to the trackpad gestures and allow you to tailor the system to your needs.

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