Is that noise your knees trembling or your teeth chattering? Do you have an existential fear of installing Upgrades to your Programs and Operating System? Here are some suggestions to help you through the process.
This is what I did.
Before making a backup, do a bit of cleanup. Run your virus scanner, I use MalwareBytes, and empty the trash files. Remove the programs that you never use. You might want to rearrange some of your files and folders that have gotten out of hand. Windows users might want to Defrag the hard drive. Give yourself some time, so you do not rush and end up deleting some vital files by mistake.
For Backup, my program of choice is Carbon Copy Cloner (Mac only). It makes a complete, bootable copy of my HD and may take up to 45 minutes to complete. The backup lives on an external drive, so connection speed is important. External drives are relatively inexpensive, so look for the biggest and fastest you can afford. SSDs are more costly, but their reliability and speed are worth the premium.
Programs and apps are continually being updated. Major version updates usually have a cost and include new features, but mid version releases, so-called dot releases, are used to patch bugs, security issues and minor adjustments. In any case, check that your system can handle the new version before attempting to upgrade. Should you constantly install the bug fixer release -- by all means -- your security may depend on it.
Many software producers offer Try-before-you-buy versions. Just make sure that you have the time to actually kick the tires and see if the new and improved package is worth the price. Many providers are switching to a subscription basis, so you need to do the math and maybe shop around for alternatives. I am happy to share any experiences in this regard.
Most programs can be re-downloaded and installed, but you will need your Software Licence. Make a habit of filing it somewhere reliable. Keep track of the Activation number, version, date and price. I use 1Password to keep track of my logins, and licences.
Again, first step is to insure that your machine is new enough to handle the OS. For me, fortunately, my most recent laptop, 16 inch MacBook Pro (2019) is state of the art. Alas, my old 17 inch MBPro (2010) does not make the cut. I also had enough space on my disc to make a partition for the new OS. This allowed me to load Monterey and test my existing software for compatibility before making the plunge.
Monterey is about 12 GB. This takes time to download. Be prepared to take more time to actually install it over your existing OS. For me, the process went well and all my existing programs have agreed to play nice. In the coming weeks, we will no doubt see some minor patches to both the OS and programs that are catching up to the new regime.
MacBook Pro (16 inch 2019)
Processor 2.3 GHz 8-Core Intel Core i9
Memory 32 GB 2667 MHz DDR4
As always, if you have questions or want advice on any of the above, please feel free to contact me.