Owned a Mac for years: MAC OS X 10.4.11 / 2.16 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo / Safari 4.1.3. No software updates available. What's best way to upgrade?

If it isn't already apparent, I'm also not very "computer literate". I've been told I need to bring the Mac into a store, but that's really not feasible. I know there have been several software tiers since my "ancient" form of Safari (Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard and now Lion). Had Firefox at one time, but can't seem to get it again (without updating the computer, which I have been unable to do as of yet).

Oh, don't know if it's important -- but "memory-wise" -- the computer has 1 GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM (not that I know what any of that means).


I honestly don't have a clue what to do -- and the fact that I'm considering both an iBook and an iPhone purchase in the near future only confuses me that much more. Any help would be appreciated so I can get the most out of my computer.

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    I have same system, and upgraded directly to Snow Leopard using the $29 Snow Leopard DVD. If you want to do yourself (or get a friend who is more comfortable with computers), here's how:

    1) First, keep (or clone to an external bootable drive) your old bootable partition with the old OS on it. (Download a program like Carbon Copy Cloner to make your clone.) After cloning, make sure you can start up from the cloned partition (you may need to Start Up from the old OS in step 4 below).

    2) Start doing a clean install of Snow Leopard to a fresh partition. In order to do a clean install with the $29 DVD, you will have two options when you start up from the DVD... "Utilities" or "Continue". Select "Utilities" and when the Mac restarts, select "Disk Utilities" from the "Utilities" menu. Do a format of your "fresh" partition and then QUIT "Disk Utilities".

    3) Now Snow Leopard will begin installing. During the install, it will search your Mac for all other partitions with an older OS and then ask you if you want to import your OS Settings, Applications and Files from one of those other partitions. Do this for a very smooth upgrade transition to the new OS. (If you decide to not import, then you will end up with a clean install of Snow Leopard instead.)

    4) All my Apps from OS 10.4.11 continue to work in Snow Leopard, but some of my printer drivers and scanner utility did not. Until I found those upgrades, I was still able to start up from the OS 10.4.11 partition to use my printers and scanner. To change the Start Up partition, either use the Start Up Disk in System Preferences... or press and hold "option" while your Mac starts up.

    5) Snow Leopard will run with just 1 GB of memory. Although, with today's prices for memory and for better performance you may want to increase it.

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