Leopard's upgrade options

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Reader Lois Roach has a common upgrade question. She asks:

I have an iMac running OS X 10.4.11 (Tiger). I want to install OS X 10.5.7 (Leopard). Will I have to reinstall AppleWorks 6 and iWork ’09 after I run the Leopard install? I have never installed an OS X upgrade before and do not want to lose my AppleWorks.

When you insert that Leopard disc and boot from it, you’ll find that you have three installation options—Upgrade Mac OS X, Archive and Install, and Erase and Install.

The first option, Upgrade Mac OS X, tweaks and updates the current OS X installation (including such Apple applications as Mail, Address Book, iCal, etc that are included with OS X). Because AppleWorks and iWork ’09 aren’t included with OS X, they’ll remain untouched. I never use this option (I’ll explain why in a second).

The second option, Archive and Install, is the one you’re after. Beneath that option you’ll see the Preserve Users and Network Settings option. Make sure you enable that option. When you choose this installation option you’ll get a brand new copy of OS X’s system files (the old version will be placed in a folder called Previous System). I find having a brand new copy of those system files makes for a more stable and quirk-free Mac than if I chose the Upgrade option.

As long as you’ve enabled the Preserve Users and Network Settings option, AppleWorks and iWork ’09 should open just as they always have.

The last option, Erase and Install, wipes out the data on your startup drive (including your applications) and installs everything fresh. Choose this option and you’ll lose your copies of AppleWorks and iWork ’09 along with every other bit of information on your Mac. You’d choose this option only if you want a completely clean start and have backed up your data to within an inch of its little digital life.

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