My Turn

Installing Mac OS X Is Quick and Easy

Kevin Webb - 2001.07.26

My Turn is Low End Mac's column for reader-submitted articles. It's your turn to share your thoughts on all things Mac (or iPhone, iPod, etc.) and write for the Mac web. Email your submission to Dan Knight .

Installation of an operating system can be a daunting task to even the most seasoned users. I was especially nervous as I prepared to install OS X on my very expensive PowerBook Pismo. My Macintosh fleet consists of my main desktop G4 , my Pismo, and a few older systems.

I am one who must have the latest and greatest and could not sit by and let the release of OS X pass me by. My original plans to wait until Fall fell apart when I first laid my eyes on the white box with the big blue X. I grabbed the box and ran back to the house to install the new OS. As my G4 has been altered considerably with peripherals, I decided to use the PowerBook as the guinea pig. I carefully backed up the Pismo drive, opened the box, and sat down for a long evening.

Let me digress and say that I am a veteran of around 40 Windows installs from versions 3.1 to 2000. These were both new installs and reinstalls/upgrades. Some went well, and others were more difficult. I have breezed through the process in a few hours while maintaining my cool. I have also had installs which lingered for days in which I drank profusely and cursed the fact that I ever became involved with a computer.

I feel comfortable with the process and expect success tomorrow if not today. With this confidence, I sat down in front of my laptop.

Booting from the CD, I felt nervous and began to question my decision. I could always stop and wait a few months for patches and user experience to become more readily available. I crossed my fingers and leapt ahead, pressing the keys to begin the process. I entered a bit of data. I grabbed the latest MacAddict and a cool beverage, and I made myself comfortable for the install. I knew this would be tough as I was moving from Mac OS to an OS based on Unix.

I was certain I would have some trouble as I moved into uncharted territory. I was dead wrong. The process was over before I even finished my magazine.

I was flabbergasted. I screamed for my wife to come down to the office. She had been anticipating screams of profanity and had moved the kids to the safety of the second floor. She arrived expecting to find me crumpled in a ball on the floor. Instead, she found me celebrating the joys of OS X.

The new OS was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I immediately began playing with the system and found that everything ran wonderfully on my PowerBook. The investment in 384 MB of RAM allowed me to run X smoothly and allowed for a few Classic apps to run with respectable performance.

I was hooked. I immediately grabbed the CD and flew across the office to the G4. Caution to the wind, I completed the second installation within 30 minutes and was greeted be an even better performance with the G4 processor.

My wife could not understand why I was so excited, and I tried to no avail to explain that I had converted both of these machine to a Unix-based OS within an hour. My typical Windows installations took a best an hour before I would even return to the room. I could not believe how smoothly the process had gone. I was once again amazed at the work of the team at Apple Computer. They were able to make the OS install process easy for even the most inexperienced user. And not just any OS install - this was a complete overhaul of the traditional Apple OS.

I have since installed Mac OS three more times, including installation on a separate partition on my primary machine. All of these installs have gone without a hitch.

Next week will be the ultimate user test: my father will be installing OS X and Windows 98se in my lab to find out which is more user friendly. I have a fairly good idea but will be interested to see if he can complete either without causing a fire.

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