Take Control of Upgrading to Panther
Review

On October 27, 2003, in Book Review, by David Weeks

Take Control of Upgrading to Panther
Joe Kissell

TidBITS Electronic Publishing
US $ 5.00 online purchases only
http://www.tidbits.com/takecontrol/panther/upgrading.html

TidBITS founders Adam and Tonya Engst have launched a new series of ebooks. Published by TidBITS Electronic Publishing, the series is called Take Control. The premiere title in the series is Take Control of Upgrading to Panther, written by Joe Kissell.

While Mac OS X early adopters have upgraded from early versions of OS X, many current OS X users have never had the (dubious) pleasure of doing a major upgrade to their Mac’s operating system. While each succeeding version of Mac OS X has become more stable and feature-filled, with a more predictable upgrade process, there are still plenty of pitfalls to avoid, and possible pratfalls to make. If you read and follow the steps outlined in Take Control of Upgrading to Panther (hereafter referred to as TCUP) you’ll almost certainly have an uneventful upgrade.

Kissell has penned a 51-page ebook that walks the reader through the process of upgrading to OS X 10.3 “Panther” (each version of OS X has been named for a wild cat), and spells out the best methods to avoid problems along the way.

After a pithy introduction, Kissell provides a Quick Start, for those too impatient to take the 45 or so minutes needed to get through the entire ebook. I read it onscreen, but it prints well on paper.

But the meat of the ebook is in the thorough discussion of the various upgrade strategies you can take. Data backup is discussed at length, as is partitioning your hard drive. Backup instructions for both Carbon Copy Cloner and Retrospect, the two most common OS X backup apps, are provided. You get your money’s worth when you get useful hints that don’t occur to most people; the need to disable your Login items to prevent possible crashes due to Panther-incompatible applications.

Once installed, TCUP covers some possible areas of confusion that stem from Jaguar-to-Panther changes: how to setup Login items, changes to Disk Utility, and caveats about FileVault. While Kissell doesn’t pretend to discuss all of Panther’s new features, you’ll at least know how to get your basic setup accomplished.

I especially liked the chapter discussing how to get up and running after your Pantherization has been completed. Some applications will need to be re-installed, and some can have their settings copied over. TCUP gives good examples of when to re-install and when to copy settings. Taking full advantage of ebook capabilities, the author provides many hyperlinks to major software publisher web sites, so you can point your web browser to get the most current versions of software installers right from within TCUP.

Conclusion

Who would benefit the most from shelling out a 5-spot (online payment via Kagi, Via and Mastercard) for TCUP? If you’ve done more upgrades or re-installations than you care to admit, and can do one the dark, save your money. You probably know most of what Kissell has to say.

But if you’re an average Mac user who isn’t sure what steps to take to prevent possible data loss (or worse) when doing a major update, then you NEED this little book. Even if you never read it more than once, it’ll be worth the 5 bucks and 30-45 minutes of reading time.

I’m anxiously awaiting the next installment in the Take Control series, Take Control of Customizing Panther, by regular TidBITS contributor Matt Neuburg.

MyMac Rating: 5 out of 5


David Weeks

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