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macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 24, 2004
I have a late 2012 iMac that I need to upgrade. In the past I've had all work done by a technician so it's been a while since I've had to do this myself.

My question is can I upgrade to El Capitan and then upgrade all my apps (Creative Cloud with Creative Suite/Quark Xpress/Microsoft Office 2011 and various smaller apps)? Or do I have to upgrade the apps first and then install the OS?

Should I anticipate any headaches from upgrading from Mountain Lion?

Thank you.


macrumors 601
Feb 17, 2008
Fort Worth, Texas
Before you do an upgrade from Mountain Lion to El Capitan, you should check that all your apps will run OK. You can do a quick check at RoaringApps. I also strongly suggest making a clone backup of your system before doing the upgrade, this way in case anything goes wrong you can easily go back. I recommend Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper for that.

I can't speak for the Creative Suite or Quark but I know from experience that MS Office 2011 will run OK without any problems. The key to doing any OS upgrade is backup, backup, backup. ;)


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 24, 2004
Does it matter if you upgrade the OS first and then the apps? I've read that apps should be updated first.

I will check all my apps will run, for sure. And my Time Machine is playing up at the moment so as soon as I get that fixed I'll do a complete backup.

Thanks for your reply.


macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
One thing I would STRONGLY advise you to do BEFORE you attempt an upgrade of the OS:

Use either CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper to create a BOOTABLE CLONED BACKUP of your internal drive.

If things don't go as well as expected, this provides you with an EASY way to "get back to where you once belonged" -- back on your old OS, with all your apps working, etc.

Alternative course of action:
You could also try things this way:
- Install a copy of El Capitan onto an EXTERNAL drive.
- Migrate your current setup (i.e., apps and accounts on your internal drive) to the external drive (when prompted by the setup assistant).
- Boot and run El Capitan "in experimental mode" for a little while (while you continue to use your internal drive for your "real work").
- The idea is to check compatibility, etc. by using the "test drive" -- again, BEFORE you commit yourself to using it.

Be aware the El Capitan is probably not going to run "as fast" on an external drive (unless it's an SSD!). But the exercise is not one of speed, but rather compatibility.
Again, doing this will "give you the feel" of the OS, with the confidence that if you upgrade, it will work for you...


macrumors 65816
Oct 25, 2015
I would upgrade the OS first. The new apps might not install on the old OS. In any case, it is a good idea to have a fresh install of the apps on the new OS.
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