So I just installed the latest version of OS X on my MacBook, best known as Lion. I didn’t rush it this time, so I waited for 10.7.2 to be released, as I wanted to do a clean install. I always like to start afresh with a new release of an OS, being it Mac OS X or Windows.
My white MacBook is from late 2007 (MacBook 3,1), so its four years as of writing. The CPU is a Core 2 Duo at 2.2GHz, and the machine has integrated graphics (Intel GMA X3100). I’ve upgraded it with a new hybrid harddrive (Seagate Momentus XT = 4GB SSD + 500GB HDD) together with 4GB RAM (DDR2 667MHz).
Since Lion is sold through the Mac App Store for only 30USD, it’s easy to get yourself a copy. As an upgrade, it’s as simple as running setup and reboot. As long as you are using the latest version of Snow Leopard that is. (Be sure to make a copy of the installer app, it gets deleted automatically post-install.) What’s great about Lion being distributed through the Mac App Store, is that it’s always the latest version. After each 10.7.x update to Lion, the version you download will already have this update included. So no longer do you have to sit through a lengthy update process after OS X has been installed. Tip: If you ever want to re-download Lion from the Mac App Store, try holding down the Option/Alt key when pressing the Installed button.
If you want to do a clean install like me, things get a little more complicated. You can buy the more expensive OS X Lion USB Thumb Drive for 69USD, or you can make your own. You can do this manually, but I used a little tool called Lion Disk Maker. Just connect an USB thumb drive of at least 4GB (I used a 8GB drive) and run the program. It takes a little while, but you end up with a bootable USB thumb drive. Be sure that you have everything you want to keep backed up, and restart your Mac.
Upon hearing the startup chime, hold down the Option/Alt key, and you should see a disc with a Lion icon. Choose this to start Lion setup. Choose Disk Utility in the list and choose your harddrive (or SSD) in the list to the left when the program has opened. Go to the Partition tab and choose the number of partitions you want (I chose the 1 partition scheme). Call the Lion partition whatever you want and leave everything at default settings. (Format = Mac OS Extended (journaled), Options = GUID Partition Table).
Once again, be sure that you’ve got everything off the drive that you cherish before pressing the Apply button, because the drive is going to be wiped.
After Disc Utility has done it’s thing (it shouldn’t take long), close the program and you should be back at the Lion setup screen. Choose Reinstall Mac OS X to start the installation. Select the partition to install to and answer a couple of questions. I forgot to time the installation, but I think it took about 30 minutes.
After logging in for the first time, you get the option to set up iCloud. This is Apple’s new synchronization and backup service, which comes with 5GB of free storage space. You can off course buy more storage if you need/want it. You can keep your bookmarks, calendars, contacts, documents, photos (and more) in sync across devices (between Lion and iOS 5, and even Windows). You can also go to icloud.com to access some of these data online.
When I used Safari to log in to my Gmail-account, I got the option to automatically set up Mail, Adress Book and iCal to sync with my Google-account. For the fun of it, I answered yes and it took only seconds for these programs to launch with my data already populated. I live my life online, so naturally I don’t use programs for these services. I use Google Chrome to make app-like instances of Google’s Gmail, Calendar, Reader and Documents. If you do this through the Chrome Web Store, you also get beautiful icons. With Googles new and clean look, using websites as apps is a great experience. Then you dont’t have to learn and use different interfaces through different devices.
This doesn’t seem to work in OS X, so I use app-tabs instead.
It takes some time to get used to a new operating system, but already I feel like Lion is a great step forward from Snow Leopard, which I loved. I’m looking forward to be aquatinted with Lion in the coming weeks.
My next project will be to put Lion on my recently selfbuilt gaming rig, and make a so-called Hackintosh! Stay tuned!