I decided it was time to install Mountain Lion on my MacBook Pro.
I usually wait to upgrade anything until the early adopters have worked with the producer of the software to iron out the bugs that inevitably show up. Also, I want to give the third party developers of other software a chance to get their products to work with the new operating system or the new hardware. I try always to wait until we are past version 1.0 and are on at least version 1.1.
I finally have a reason to upgrade
One thing caught my eye and made me realize I was missing out by not having Mountain Lion. My cable box has two tuners. This means I can only record two programs at a time or record one program while watching another. In my local TV-watching area, “Nikita”, “Grimm”, and “Fringe” all come on at the same time. So I recorded “Nikita” and “Fringe”. I can watch “Grimm” the night after it airs by going to the NBC web site. But that means watching it on a small screen like my iPad or my MacBook Pro. Mountain Lion may offer me an alternative!
With Mountain Lion comes AirPlay. That means, as I understand it, with an AppleTV hooked up to what I euphemistically call my "entertainment center", I can navigate to the NBC web site and start up “Grimm” and watch it on the TV screen.
Preparing for the upgrade
I first made sure I had a bootable backup of my MacBook Pro's hard drive. I use Personal Backup from Intego for that purpose. It actually uses your previous backup as a basis and just does an incremental backup, so that takes a much shorter time than a full backup would. I had to run it twice. The first time it reported scanning 1,393,340 files, resulting in a task of copying 474,245 files and deleting 61,603 files. It ended up copying 471,615 files in 3 hours, 22 minutes. But I ended up getting 3900 errors. It appeared to me, looking at the error log, that it was trying to find documents on my laptop that no longer exist. Running it a second time, it scanned 1,330,497 files (since it had deleted the 61,000 files) resulting in a task of copying 242,979 files and deleting 248 files. This time it only reported five errors. So I felt I had a good bootable backup that I could use if an emergency arose.
Just to be sure, I rebooted from the bootable backup. One of the ways you can do this is by going into System Preferences and changing the Startup Disk. The backup worked fine. So I rebooted from my regular laptop hard drive.
Next I looked at the RoaringApps web site. This site gives you a very comprehensive list of applications and informs you of whether they are compatible with Lion or Mountain Lion. Even though I found an application I use that isn't compatible with Mountain Lion, one that has some problems, and one that wasn't even listed, I decided to proceed anyway.
Ready to download the installer
The only way to get Mountain Lion is by downloading it from the App Store.
Once it was downloaded, I found an app called Install OS X Mountain Lion in my "Applications" folder. The first thing I needed to do was to burn this app to a DVD. This way if I ever run into problems where I have to reinstall Mountain Lion, I will have a ready copy of the installation application. You will find that after you install Mountain Lion, this application will disappear from your “Applications” folder.
After that was done, I was ready to run the Install OS X Mountain Lion application. The first thing I had to do is agree to the license. Next, I was asked to select a place to install it. (My laptop hard drive showed up as the only choice). The next thing I saw was, "Preparing to install. Your computer will restart automatically". It indicated there were 3 minutes remaining to finish.
After it completed that procedure, the message appeared "Will restart in __ seconds." You may click a button to restart sooner. It told me that it needed to close all open applications. Once I clicked my approval, it then proceeded.
The next message I saw was, "Installing OSX on the disk. Time remaining: About 34 minutes." The computer just sat there for at least a minute before I saw any change to the screen. Finally I saw the progress bar move.
Mountain Lion is installed!
It finished an hour and fifteen minutes later. A message appeared stating that some of my software was not compatible and may cause problems, and therefore it was moved. The message said I could delete the software anytime I chose. The two pieces of software it specifically mentioned were Parallels and VMFusion, both applications used to run Windows in emulation on my laptop. An “Incompatible Software” folder was created at the root level of my laptop hard drive (the same place you find your “Applications” folder and your “Users” folder.) There I found the files and applications that the installation process had moved.
The first application I opened, of course, was Mail. A message appeared on the screen saying that the Antispam Engine would like to access my contacts to pre-populate my list of trusted e-mail sources. You are given the choice of OKing this or not. It seemed a reasonable thing to do, so I OK’d it.
But then Mail crashed. In the window that appears when an application crashes, the information in the crash report indicated that the creation of the Sandbox had failed and that the Container object initialization had failed. I clicked to send the report to Apple and relaunch Mail.
This time a window opened with the message, “Welcome to Mail”. I was also told that existing messages needed to be upgraded. After OKing this, I was told that Mail was upgrading my Mail database.
Next I was asked about how I'm dealing with junk mail. I was given three options: ask again later, stay in training, switch to automatic. So I spent some time setting up Mail the way I'm used to using it modifying the tool bar, setting up how to handle junk mail, whether to show the side bar, etc.
Finally, I was able to look around to see if I could see if anything had changed to the desktop. The first thing I noticed was a new icon to the right of the Spotlight magnifying glass in the Menu Bar. It looks like a checklist. This is the new Notification Center, which I anticipate may take the place of Growl. I’ll have to make that decision after I have used it for awhile. Right now, the only notifications I see in the Notification Center are those dealing with iCal. When you click on the icon, your whole desktop moves to the left, and your list of notifications are displayed. At the bottom is an icon that I guess is supposed to be a gear wheel. When you click on it, System Preferences opens to the Notifications Preferences where you can choose how it will work for you.
Any new software updates after installation?
I decided at this point to check again for software updates that may apply specifically to Mountain Lion.
The Software Update menu selection under the Apple icon in the menu bar took me to the App Store instead of opening the Software Update application like in Lion. I couldn't see any way to ignore the one software update that I was told I needed. It involved RAWimages compatibility when uploading pictures. I don't have a camera that has the capability to download RAW images, so I didn’t need this software update. I finally found the answer about how to ignore this update in the MacRumor forums. The solution was to make sure that the full description of the update is showing. (You click on "More..." if necessary in order to show the full description.) Then you right click in the window. "Hide update" will appear on the screen. Click on that. That hides the software update. You can get it back later if you want to by selecting "Show all software updates " in the App Store "Store" menu.
The next thing I attempted was to open iPhoto. At my first attempt at doing this, iPhoto crashed. On my second attempt, it Informed me that my photo library had to be updated and that large libraries could take hours to complete. Mine took less than a minute. But then there were two windows open, one normal window displaying pictures, another window with no pictures. When I tried to close that one, iPhoto quit. When I reopened it, everything was back to normal.
The next day I was asked if I want to enable dictation. I was also warned that if I did, my contacts and other information will be sent to Apple. I enabled it, but I don't expect to use it much.
By this time I was able to take stock of how much space I had lost on my hard drive by upgrading to Mountain Lion. I was surprised that I actually saw a reduction of 4 GB of space used.
Up and running
So I am up and running with Mountain Lion. For the work that I do, not much has changed that affects my day-to-day use of the computer. Once I got over the bumps described above, I haven’t had anything else that has interrupted my work.
So a week has gone by, and I was anxiously looking forward to viewing “Grimm” on my TV using AirPlay. But when I called up the TV program in my browser and was ready to watch it, I couldn’t see how to get it to work. I thought I was supposed to see an AirPlay icon in my menu bar or somewhere, like maybe in the browser window. So I Googled my question and was taken to the Apple Support pages. It turns out I don’t have a MacBook Pro that is able to use the AirPlay mirroring. I have a Mid-2010 MacBook Pro and it requires an Early 2011 or newer.