upgrades

How to prepare your PC for Windows 8

Windows 8 is due to be released to consumers on October 26. Priced at just $39.99, the upgrade is surprisingly affordable. If you're thinking about upgrading to Microsoft's latest operating system, now might be a great time to start your preparations. Having an upgrade plan can help mitigate many of the risks involved with a major OS upgrade. Here are some suggestions to help your upgrade go as smoothly as possible:

Check your system for compatibility The first thing you'll want to do is to check your PC to see if it can run Windows 8 … Read more

How to prepare your Mac for OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion

Apple's next release of OS X "Mountain Lion" is slated for release by the end of this month, with some recent developments suggesting it may be out by as early as next week. If you are thinking about upgrading your Mac to the new operating system, then you might consider reserving some time this weekend to ensuring your system is capable of and prepared for the upgrade.

While for the most part you should be able to download and install the upgrade without any problems, there are a few things you can do to help prevent running … Read more

Self-upgrading an Apple laptop: A real-world test

With the economy still struggling, a lot of consumers are looking to upgrade their computers rather than drop a couple grand on a new machine.

If you want to upgrade your existing setup, you need to swap out the guts. The major organs are the hard drive, motherboard, and RAM. Sure, there are other bits and bobs, but these are the primary elements. Of them, the motherboard is usually the most difficult to mess with.

But if we're looking at just the RAM and hard drive, the average consumer can effectively remove and install both with some basic tools, a deft touch, and a little patience.

So we attempted a two-phase plan. First, upgrade a 2009 13-inch MacBook Pro with three different hard-drive and RAM configurations. Then, test the resulting Frankenbooks against the same make and size of laptop, circa 2012. (More recent MacBooks, especially Airs and the new 15-inch Retina Pro, are virtually impossible to disassemble, so this process works better the older your MacBook is.) … Read more

Q&A: MacFixIt Answers

MacFixIt Answers is a feature in which we answer questions e-mailed in by our readers.

This week readers wrote in with questions regarding the necessity of TRIM on SSD devices when upgrading hard drives on Mac systems, reinstalling OS X 10.7 freshly on a hard drive instead of needing to upgrade or clone, and how to manage file-system corruption on a hard disk before upgrading to a new version of OS X. We welcome views from readers, so if you have any suggestions or alternative approaches to these problems, post them in the comments!

Question: The necessity of TRIM … Read more

iPad Mini coming this year, say reports

On this Thursday, take a whiff and smell those fresh Apple rumors:

New details on a smaller iPad are pouring in. The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg have sources saying Apple is gearing up to produce an iPad Mini that would arrive sometime this year. We've also heard the same earlier this week from an analyst at NPD DisplaySearch. This would compete with other 7-inch tablets, like the Amazon Kindle Fire (which will likely have a new model out this summer) and the Google Nexus 7 tablet.

But that's not the only hot Apple news today. Just check … Read more

Windows 8 Pro upgrade set for $39.99, Media Center too

Microsoft is trying to make the Windows 8 upgrade more tempting by cutting the upgrade price and throwing in Media Center, too.

Those with Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 will qualify for an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $39.99 in 131 markets, Microsoft said today.

And Media Center can be added "for free" through the "add features" option within Windows 8 Pro after the upgrade, according to Microsoft.

That might not seem like much but Microsoft said previously that Media Center must be "acquired" via "Add Features to Windows 8"Read more

Check your PC for Windows 8 readiness with upgrade assistant

Updated, October 25, 2012: Updated for the final version of Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant.

General availability of Windows 8 has finally arrived. If you're considering upgrading your current PC to Windows 8, you might want to check your PC for compatibility first. Here's how, using the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant:

To download the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant, go to the Windows 8 upgrade site, then click on the blue Download Upgrade Assistant button. The file is only about 5MB, so it shouldn't take long for the download to complete.

To run the upgrade assistant, double-click on Windows8-UpgradeAssistant.… Read more

Instagram updates to 2.5 with 'visual improvements'

Instagram gets faster and brighter today as it rolls out its new 2.5 features for iOS.

Among the new items are a spruced up profile tab, different ways to search, commenting improvements, and visual and speed enhancements. There is also a noticeable Facebook feature that lets users share likes, or little hearts, to Facebook if they want.

Of these new features, the app does seem quite a bit faster with photos loading more quickly. The most noticeable change is the "Explore" tab, which was exchanged for the "Popular" tab and also has a new icon.… Read more

Q&A: MacFixIt Answers

MacFixIt Answers is a feature in which we answer questions e-mailed in by our readers.

This week readers wrote in with questions about upgrading to OS X Lion or Mountain Lion when it is released, managing large attachments in e-mail messages, using NTFS disks with OS X, whether to wait for Mountain Lion to upgrade or purchase Lion right now, and managing 0KB files that appear in various places in OS X. We welcome views from readers, so if you have any suggestions or alternative approaches to these problems, post them in the comments!

Question: The need for OS upgrades … Read more