MCAD builds a new standard set of software for each semester. We call this bundle of packaged software a software image or sometimes just the image. We strongly encourage everyone, staff, faculty, and student alike, to visit us at the Help Desk each semester to update their computers to this new image. Here are a few things to note about getting an update from us:
- Part of the process of updating your computer will clear all files off of your computer to ensure a clean installation.
- Because of this first point, before you bring us your laptop to have this done, please ensure that you have a full backup of your personal files!
- The process of updating your computer takes roughly 1 hour.
- If you bring the external drive where you made your backup to us when you come to pick up your computer, we can show you how to restore your personal files afterward.
Why would I want to update my computer?
Updating your computer to the standard MCAD image has many benefits. First and foremost, you will be on the same build of the software as everyone else. Because of this, you won’t run in to problems with version mismatches when moving files between the lab machines and your own laptop. For Faculty, being on the latest image will ensure that your screens look the same as the software in the computer labs when you go to present in your classes.
Additionally, updating to the new MCAD image provides you with performance and feature updates. The current image, for instance, includes both Microsoft Office 2016 and Creative Cloud 2017, but significant updates to previous iterations of this software.
Apple has released a new Operating System! Can I install it?
At this time MCAD Computer Support advises that you act cautiously when considering an upgrade to the next version of macOS. We do not generally advise people to jump on board with Apple’s new Operating Systems immediately. We have noticed with previous OS updates from Apple that problems and incompatibilities often arise with brand new operating systems. We urge you to consider whether or not you actually need to upgrade before you make the jump.
The only method we endorse for upgrading your computer’s OS is through the MCAD imaging process we describe above.
That all being said, this is your laptop and you are free to update it as you see fit. Before you do any updates to the OS, we highly recommend making a complete backup of your data before moving to a new OS.
Updating Applications through Apple Updates
The Software Update tool is the best way to receive new and critical updates to macOS during the semester as well keeping the numerous Apple applications installed on your MacBook, such as iMovie and GarageBand. The Software Update tool is, by default, scheduled to run automatically once a month. You can run it manually at any time by doing the following:
- Make sure your MacBook has an established network connection (wireless or Ethernet).
- Select the Apple Icon > App Store.
- Click on the Updates icon.
- App Store will check with Apple's server to see if any new updates are available.
- If new updates are available, they will show up in list on the next screen.
- You may click whichever updates you would like to install.
- Click the Install button to begin downloads.
We strongly encourage you to allow the updates service to download any updates labeled as System updates using this method. Many security patches and bug fixes to the operating system are installed by checking for and installing updates. Never fear! System updates are not the same thing as OS updates.