Installing Lion: A Full Day’s Work

by Dean Mattson

Yesterday morning when I started the process to install the new Mac OS on my personal laptop, I hardly expected it to take the whole day. Here what went down:

8:00 AM ¬†Shortly after I discover Lion is available on the Apple App Store, I purchase it and it starts downloading. It’s over 3 GB and I see it’s going to take awhile so I go off and do other things while it downloads.

9:40 AM It finishes downloading. After I agree to the terms of service, I get to the screen where I’m supposed to pick the hard drive where I want it installed. Here is where things start getting complicated – Lion cannot be installed on my laptop’s hard drive because it has to be¬†formatted as Mac OS Extended (Journaled). In order for me to do that will require me to reformat my hard drive, which means erasing all my data. Unfortunately I have a meeting at 10:00 AM, so all this will have to wait until I get back.

11:00 AM Back from my meeting, I run a Time Machine update in advance of reformatting my drive.

11:30 AM My backup done, I reformat my drive and then restore everything from my Time Machine backup I just made. I’ve heard that sometimes Time Machine doesn’t work perfectly, but this is the second time I’ve done this and it has worked perfectly both times. I get my computer back exactly as it was and everything is working perfectly … except for one very important exception.

12:30 PM At this point, I decide to be extra safe and I try to make a bootable DVD following these instructions from Macworld, whose coverage of Lion has been excellent and exhaustive. However the burn fails.

12:40 PM I have now decided to skip making the DVD and just installing 10.7, but that fails. After doing some reading online, I figure out that the downloaded install application is corrupted (impossible to tell if it was the original download or it was corrupted from the process of backing it up).

1:00 PM I delete Install Mac OS X Lion from my Applications folder, go to the Purchased tab of the App Store and start redownloading it all over again.

3:50 PM Returning from a late lunch, the download is complete. I make another attempt to burn a bootable DVD. This time it works.

4:15 PM I begin my second attempt to install Lion.

4:45 PM Lion is finally installed! Success at last!!

So far I’m liking it, but it’s going to take some getting used to. Lion uses a lot of “gestures” so I’m trying to get used to that and getting used to using Mission Control, which I think is going to be very useful.

The same thing with the full-screen mode of several of the Apple apps. I’m not sure if I like that or not yet. For now, I’m giving it a try and seeing if it grows on me. (Well, sometimes. Right now, I’m writing this in Safari and it would be perfect time to be in full-screen, but I’m not.)

The Auto Save is a bit disconcerting. I started working on a Pages document and it was weird not having to save when I closed it. (It does ask you to name the file the first time you do.) Several times I closed it and then opened it right back up again to see if all the changes were still there. They were.

So I’m going to keep trying it out, seeing what I can get comfortable with and looking for what else has changed.