apple mac_os_x

Before Installing Lion: Check for Application Compatibility

Before you install Mac OS X Lion, take a moment to check if all applications on your computer are compatible with the new OS. The reason why you need to do so is because Lion no longer supports Rosetta. Rosetta is the underlying technology built into Mac OS X that allowed older Mac applications written for the PowerPC platform to run seamlessly on Mac OS X — in fact Rosetta worked so seamlessly that many of us did not even realize it was running behind the scenes.

With Lion, Apple now no longer supports PowerPC applications — you must first check if you have any PowerPC applications on your computer — follow these steps:

  1. Click the Apple icon on the left of your Mac’s title bar, and choose the About This Mac option, as shown in Figure 1, below.

    About This Mac
    Figure 1: About This Mac

  2. This will bring up a window of the same name as shown in Figure 2. Click the More Info… button.

    About This Mac Window
    Figure 2: More Info button

  3. You will now see the System Profiler window that provides detailed information about almost everything about your Mac. Scroll down the sidebar on the left until you see the Software category. Once you click the triangle to its left, you will see several other options. Click the Applications option, as shown in Figure 3.

    System Profiler
    Figure 3: System Profiler

  4. Now the window shows all the applications installed on your computer — note that there are columns in this window — click the Kind column header to sort all your installed applications based upon what kind they are, such as PowerPC, Intel, Universal, etc. Scroll down to where you can see a list of all your PowerPC applications, as shown in Figure 4.

    PowerPC Applications
    Figure 4: PowerPC applications

    Note that all the PowerPC apps highlighted in Figure 4 are actually small applets that are part of Microsoft Office for Mac. In my case, these are Query and OpenXML apps that will not hinder the use of Office 2008 and 2011, so I am just going to let them be and wait for Microsoft to provide an upgrade — fortunately, Microsoft has put up a post to show their commitment in resolving these issues.

    If you have older apps that provide no such options, you will no longer be able to use them when you upgrade to Lion. One option for you in that case is to create a dual boot system that lets you decide whether you want to boot to Lion or an older version of OS X – CNET has a great article that discusses this approach.

Note that System Profiler only lets you see which programs are PowerPC specific — it does not let you uninstall them. You can retain these applications when you upgrade to Lion, but the programs themselves will not be able to run within the Mac OS X Lion environment.

apple mac_os_x

Backup your OS X Lion Download on DVD or External Drive

You already learned how you can pause and resume your OS X Lion download from the Mac App Store. But as soon as your download is over, you will see the OS X Lion install screen that you see in Figure 1, below. Resist installing this upgrade for now, and choose the Install Mac OS X Lion | Quit Install Mac OS X Lion menu option for now.


Figure 1: Install screen for Mac OS X Lion
Why did I ask you to quit the install? That is because it is best that you first create a backup of the 3.74 GB download! Yes, it is true — as soon as you finish installing OS X Lion, the downloaded install file will be cleaned up! You might want to install OS X Lion on other computers, or just retain a backup of the install file — after all, 3.74 GB is not a minuscule size, even by today’s standards.
So head to launch Finder, and go to your Applications folder — it is here that you will find the Install Mac OS X Lion app, as you can see in Figure 2. Note that all applications in this folder, as shown in Figure 2 have the app file extension — this is because I have globally enabled file extensions on my Mac.
Figure 2: The Install Mac OS X Lion app
Right-click or Ctrl-click this app, and choose the Show Package Contents option in the resultant context menu. Within the Contents | Shared Support folder, you will find the InstallESD.dmg file (see Figure 3)


Figure 3: The InstallESD.dmg file
Select and Alt-drag this file to any location on your computer — remember Alt-drag will make a copy, just dragging will remove the DMG from the package — you don’t want to do that! Once extracted, you can burn this image to a DVD. You can also make a backup of this image on an external hard disk.
apple mac_os_x

Burn Image to CD or DVD with Disk Utility

You really don’t need a separate CD or DVD burning application on your Mac OS X, especially if you want to do something as simple as burning an image to a CD or DVD. Mac OS X’s Disk Utility is all you need:

  1. Minimize all your application windows and click an empty area of your desktop. Click the Go | Utilities menu option. In the resultant Finder window, click the Disk Utility icon to launch the program — you will see the interface shown in Figure 1.

    Figure 1: Disk Utility

  2. Click the Burn button on the toolbar. This will bring up the Select Image to Burn dialog — navigate and select a DMG or other image format that Disk Utility can work with. Select the Burn button.
  3. Disk Utility will ask you to insert a blank disc (see Figure 2). Insert a disc, and in a while, your image will be burnt to a disc.

    Figure 2: Insert a disc

app_store apple download mac_os_x

Mac OS X Lion: Pausing and Resuming the 3.74 GB Download

Is it just me, or did you all find that it was not very intuitive how you could pause the Lion OS download from the App Store, and then resume it again. Even in today’s always-connected-with-a-fat-data-pipe days, 3.74 GB is not a very tiny download size!

I found a quick way, and wanted to share it with everyone else — so this is what you need to do — I am assuming that you have already purchased Lion on the App Store, and your download is proceeding, as can be seen within the visual indicator you see below the Lion icon on the Dock, as shown in Figure 1 below.

Lion Download Visual Indicator on the Dock
Figure 1: OS X Lion Visual Indicator

OK — let me assume that I want to pause this download now, and shut down my Mac. Actually pausing is easy right from the icon on the Dock — I can hold my mouse over the icon, and choose the Pause option from the resultant menu — unfortunately, thereafter you will find no Resume option in the same menu!

So this is what you do:

  1. Choose the Apple Menu | App Store option to launch the App Store app.
  2. Once App Store launches, click the Purchased icon on the top toolbar as shown in Figure 2 below. You will see the active downloads, including the OS X Lion download — click the Pause button towards the right of this download. Exit App Store, and shut down your Mac if required.

    Pause Lion Download in the App Store
    Figure 2: Pause your OS X Lion Download

  3. When you have started your Mac again, and are ready to resume the OS X Lion download, just access App Store again, and click the Purchased icon. In the resultant window, you will notice a Resume button along with a message next to it that says “0 of 0 bytes”, as shown in Figure 3 below. Don’t get appalled by the “0 bytes” message — go ahead and click the Resume button.

    Resume OS X Lion Download
    Figure 3: Resume the OS X Lion Download

  4. You may be presented a dialog that asks you to sign into your Apple account now, as shown in Figure 4. Enter your username, password, and click the Sign In button.

    Sign in to continue your OS X Lion Download
    Figure 4: Sign in to the Apple App Store

  5. The download will resume again, until it completes.