The new version of Mac OSX is due out on October 26…Leopard. To install, or not to install, THAT is the question.

Now…those of you with editing systems should proceed with caution. I always, repeat ALWAYS say, “if you have a stable working system, DO NOT UPDATE IT!” Having a stable working editing system is the key to a smooth running business, a stress free life, and more time you can devote to reading, riding your bike, playing with the kids…ANYTHING but sitting in your office for hours trying to figure out what went wrong.

OK, if you find that you MUST update your system and play with all the new toys it has to offer, I have a few suggestions to make to cover your butt:

1) CLONE YOUR SYSTEM DRIVE. Get Carbon Clopy Cloner and an external firewire drive that is as big as your internal, and clone your nice, clean, WORKING system onto it. This way, if things don’t work out with leopard, you can always go back to your properly working system.

2) GET A NEW HARD DRIVE AND INSTALL ON THAT. Now, this only works if you have a MacPro or G5, or G4…a tower where you can swap out drives. I listed the other option first because anyone can do that, towers, laptops, iMacs, MacMinis. This is the cheaper way to go as internal SATA drives are cheaper than firewire drives. Pop out the current system drive and pop in this new drive. Or, if you happen to have an open drive slot, install this in there, so you can have a DUAL BOOT system. Working system, NEW system. Then boot up on the Leopard Install disk and jump through the installing hoops.

Well, that about covers it. Oh, wait…you DON’T want to spend money on another hard drive? Well, OK, if you don’t have $80 to spend on a 250Gb internal, or lacking the funds to buy a $200 external FW 250GB drive….because getting Leopard tapped you out…then this is what you can do. Mind you, it’ll not be nearly as slick as the other options.

Back up all your files. Project files, work documents, spreadsheets, pictures, movies, music…you should be doing this anyway. If you don’t have a back up drive…what the heck are you thinking?!?! Ahem, anyway, then erase your system drive and install Leopard from scratch. Yeah, you can install Leopard on top of Tiger, but this way you ENSURE that you will have a clean, fresh OS. Then install all your applications and copy back all your files.

OH…and the most important thing I can stress: Do not upgrade while you are in the middle of a project. I cannot stress this enough. If the upgrade messes things up, then you have downtime. And downtime is a killer…because in the editing world there are deadlines. Now, if you are NEVER in the middle of a project, and have several that overlap (I know several people and places this applies to), do the upgrade when you can spare the time to do it, test it, and fix it if things don’t work. Weekends are good for this, or any time you can spare a couple days, or have a few days down time and it not be a burden.

But really…honestly…what I’d REALLY suggest you do?


Wait and let others install Leopard and find all the issues with it. OR, if you have TWO computers, one you use for work and then another one you use for web surfing and e-mail…install Leopard on that one. The biggest thing I want to get across is that if you are using a machine to earn a living, and it is working fine…don’t do something that might cause it not to work. You need to eat.

OK…the time is approaching. Friday will soon be upon us and Leopard will come out.

And I swear, 4 minutes later there will be a post on one of the FCP forums where someone says, “I just installed Leopard, and now I can’t _______ in FCP. HEEEEELLLLPPP!”

Don’t be that guy. Or gal.