Since Apple confirmed that it will release its latest version of the Mac OS X Mountain Lion tomorrow, I thought it would be a great idea to cover basic operating system upgrade tips. Mountain Lion will be available through the App Store just as Lion was last summer. Its going to sell for $19.99 starting tomorrow. You will need Mac OS X 10.6.8 installed at the minimum and meet the hardware requirements to be able to upgrade. Here are more details on those requirements.

If your planning on upgrading your Mac’s operating system tomorrow consider a few options that could make life much easier for your if the upgrade fails or there is some type of unforeseen error. This guide below covers most scenarios and this is just a quick overview of what you should consider before rushing to the App Store and upgrading.

Check to see if your important “must have” applications are ready for Mountain Lion and that your Mac’s hardware is compatible before attempting any operating system upgrade. An additional step would be to write down any serial numbers to applications that you may have purchased, or any titles that you don’t a physical copy of.

If you have an external or secondary drive run a Time Machine Backup today. If you have never run Time Machine before and are running 10.6.8 or higher it’s built in to the operating system and located in System Preferences.

Another option is to use Prosoft’s Data Backup 3 demo and run a clone backup to a GUID formatted volume. Here is a “ How to Guide” on how to get it set up. Verify your backup, by either booting from your clone and doing an “option boot” to confirm your clone can boot your Mac. With Time Machine you will have to do a complete system restore to check if it’s bootable. But, any backup attempt is better than not doing a backup at all.

At this point you should be in pretty good shape to start your Mountain Lion upgrade. If you can, connect your Mac to a wired internet connection. It is not a requirement but not a bad idea. A wired connection could eliminate a 2nd attempt at downloading because of wireless connection issues. Now you’re ready to login into the App Store with your Apple ID and purchase Mountain Lion and start downloading.

This install guide is not an official Apple Mountain Lion installation document. I have attempted to guide the average user in taking certain precautions to be able to easily recover back to their starting point before the upgrade. Generally these Mac OS X upgrades go as planned. However being prepared properly makes it a snap to get your Mac back up and running should something go wrong. Your iPhoto , iTunes and documents are valuable assets and you should never skip backups to save time for a operating system upgrade. After your upgrade is finished consider using Drive Genius 3 or Data Backup 3 to keep your Mac optimized and backed up regularly. Feel free to contact us about any Prosoft products and how they can help keep your Mac in tip-top shape.