Updating software without backing up.

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by saint berkut, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. saint berkut macrumors newbie

    Dec 16, 2011
    Hi MacRumors, I just wanted to know if it's okay to update my software without backing my files up. Is there any risk of messing up while updating or a risk of losing files? I haven't exactly done this before and I don't have an external HDD yet. Should I just wait til I can backup my files before updating?

  2. benwiggy macrumors 68020

    Jun 15, 2012
    You can normally perform every update to apps and the OS without any loss of files. You can even install a new version of the OS in place, while keeping your apps, data and settings. However, it's never ok to have no backup.

    YES! :p If you are installing a new OS version (i.e. big number, not point update), then it's possible you might accidentally do a clean install and wipe your data. There is also the general risk inherent in data storage -- hard drives (and SSDs) can fail at any time. They can corrupt data. Things can go wrong. Your computer could catch fire or get stolen.

    No, don't wait. Get an external drive and start backing up NOW.

    Files with no backup are TEMPORARY. People still regularly post on this site "Oh, I accidentally deleted a file, how do I get it back?"; "Oh, my files are corrupted and won't open."
    Apple introduced Time Machine in 2007. I have very little sympathy for people who say they lost files and did not have a backup.
  3. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    Never, ever, ever run ANY software update without making a backup!


    There is always the risk of something going wrong and making a mess.

    You should do regular backups anyway unless you have no data, files, music, or photos on your computer that you want to save.

    If you store nothing on your computer you can always restore or reinstall the OS and your apps.

    Always backup! ALWAYS
  4. Macman45 macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    Just read the tales of woe from folks who haven't had a backup in place and have lost everything....updates are fine to do without a backup, but don't use this as an excuse not to....Buy a cheap external HDD and use Time Machine, running without any backup just begs for problems down the line. I rely on my files, so have a double backup solution...my 3TB Time Capsule backs up my iMac and my MBA. Mission critical and all important files are further protected by my Pegasus R4 which runs in two RAID arrays, one for real time work, the other for archival purposes. A cheap USB HDD won't cost you much, and its just common sense.
  5. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    OP>> I would backup first for sure. It seems like every time there is an OS update we see posts here about users whose machines died.

    I have a theory on this... I don't think there is anything wrong with the OS updates, but I think the act of installing an OS update moves a lot of files around and writes many many new files, and if you have a HDD that is near death anyway, this pushes it over the edge. Same thing I think happens with OS upgrades like Mountain Lion installs. JMO. :)
  6. saint berkut thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 16, 2011
    Sounds like I dodged a bullet by your responses. Thank you! :D

    Will start looking into external HDD's. Is there a significant difference between USB 2.0 and 3.0 in speed? Even though I think the USB ports in a mid-'10 Macbook support only 2.0, would a 3.0 (knowing they're backwards compatible) make a difference in speed?

    Once again thank you guys. :)
  7. benwiggy macrumors 68020

    Jun 15, 2012
    USB 3 is significantly faster than USB 2. It also has better power support. Some USB2 drives need 2 USB sockets to be self-powered without their own supply.
    You won't get any difference in speed if your computer only has USB 2 sockets, but of course if you upgrade your hardware in the future, you will be able to reap the advantage.

    However, speed is not really an issue for a backup drive, as it just churns away in the background.
  8. saint berkut thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 16, 2011
    Thanks! That answered my question adequately. Upvotes for you guys thank you!
  9. SomeZeros macrumors newbie

    Feb 19, 2013
    Hi , as i know if you want to upgrade your OS X you can do it without missing any documents or music etc... from your computer because it just upgrade the system but for more safe doing backup .
  10. saint berkut thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 16, 2011
    I'm done updating, but thank you anyway! :D I ended up going for the update without backing up, but I did nothing major yet. (10.6.6 to 10.6.8)

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