Upgrading an operating system is always a traumatic experience for a computer—and, too often, for its owner. If you can rein in your excitement long enough to perform just a few extra steps, you’ll be glad you did.
Check your hard drive. Open Disk Utility (Disk Utility), click your main hard drive’s name and then click Verify Disk. If the program reports that you have problems, you’ll have to start up from a different disk (like your recovery disk—Physical Recovery Disks), run Disk Utility again, and use the Repair Disk button this time.
Turn off FileVault, if you’re using it. (You’d remember turning on this Home folder–encryption feature in Snow Leopard or Lion.)
Don’t complicate matters by asking the installer to translate between the old FileVault encryption system and the new, Mountain Lion/Mavericks version. Turn off FileVault (and any other company’s disk-encryption programs) before you upgrade.
Make sure your software will run. Most modern programs run very smoothly on Mavericks. But some older ones won’t run—in particular, programs like AppleWorks and Microsoft Office 2004 that relied on the old Rosetta translation technology. Find out for sure by visiting http://roaringapps.com/apps:table and looking up the programs you own.
You can also look up your own programs using the System Profiler program in your Applications→Utilities folder. In the left-side column, click Applications. Click the Kind column heading to sort your programs. The programs listed ...