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mrplow

 
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Member Since: Oct 01, 2007
Location: UK
Posts: 6,728
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Mac Specs: 27" iMac i7 (2011) 10.9, iPhone5s, iPad Air, AppleTV2

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Quote:
1. How (and where) do I back up my existing Mac as it is right now before I attempt anything? How much space do I need on an external drive to back it up and how do I do it (like what are the steps to a successful backing up)?
You need an external disk. I'd suggest one of at least the same capacity as your Mac disk. Preferably bigger.
You can then use Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper to make a backup

Quote:
2. Do I need to move this new OS onto something external and bootup from there instead of having it already here on the computer I am trying to upgrade? I get confused by the stuff I'm reading. Some say this some say that... which is simpler and less likely for me to screw up?
When you say Snow Leopard on your desktop surely you mean on a disc? Snow Leopard only came on a physical disc not as a download. So installing is as easy as putting the DVD in and booting holding Option

Quote:
3. Once I'm ready to push the button and start, is it going to give me instructions as I go? I'm pretty good at faking my way through stuff or letting a video tutor show me how to replace my hard drive, but I honestly don't know what I'm doing and if I mess this up and either ruin this downloaded software I bought or permanently screw up my computer then I am really lost.
I can post step-by-steps once you have a physical disc

External hard disk acquisition addict - but admitting the problem is the first step to a robust backup

Please use the reputation system if you think you've been helped - top right of this post
QUOTE Thanks