Surviving an OS upgrade

Upgrading your operating system could be a harrowing experience. However, with some forward thinking, you can survive it quite unharmed.

Allocate around 1 man-day for the upgrade, the same as for migrating to another computer or such. You might think it will be less, but just in case – make sure you won’t need to be productive on the day of the upgrade. Pick Saturday if you can.

Backup everything. Ideally you’ll want to create an image of your system disk, but at least backup all of your work, your configuration files and applications that would be hard to obtain again. This provides you with a possibility to roll back if something goes wrong.

Write down all the things you know you need (development tools, accesses to other services etc) for your work – after the upgrade, try to get these things running first.

After the OS has been upgraded, download and install all the system patches and application updates. Some of your tools might need to be rebuilt, for example MacPorts on OS X.

  • Try your workflow, does your IDE start? (You might need or want a new version.) Does your toolchain compile your sources? Does your Git repo work? Can you run your test environment? Fix any problems found.
  • Try the network connection, are you getting good pings/transfer rates?
  • Try all your peripherals, does your printer/external sound card/… work?
  • Does your backup work?