OS X Mavericks

Upgrade and FileVault 2

Is upgrading a Macbook (Late 2008) a piece of cake even when it is fully encrypted with FileVault 2?

After I successfully upgraded my iMac to OS X 10.9 at work, it’s now time to attend to my Macbook Aluminium (Late 2008). In contrast to the iMac this portable computer’s harddrive is fully encypted with Apple's FileVault 2 since I had Lion installed on it. Will this upgrade be seamless?

For this upgrade you should:

  • find out if your Mac is capable of running OS X 10.9.
    Please double-check on Apple’s website.
  • check if your applications are compatible with OS X’s latest version.
    RoaringApps helped me a lot.
  • your user has administrator rights.
  • know your Apple ID.
  • have an external drive or network share to create a backup of your Mac's harddrive before upgrading.

Quickly, workers, be at hand!

Backup first! I personally prefer Carbon Copy Cloner for this task but Time Machine will work just as well. Download the upgrade from within Apple's App Store application and get ready. In case you do not have latest broadband technology available you will have to expect a few hours for downloading the installer which has a payload of more than five gigabyes.


Tip: In case you plan to upgrade more Macs I recommend to copy the installer application onto either a network share or an external drive. Otherwise you will end up downloading the installer for each individual Mac again and again.

That's one small step for man…

The OS X Mavericks’ installer asks for you to agree to its terms and conditions, wants you to select and confirm your system’s volume and also asks for your admin password before it finally starts the upgrade process… with an almost immediate restart of your Mac. All in all the following upgrade process is less than spectacular and finishes within approximately half an hour.

Venus Rising From the Sea

Now we reach the critical stage: launching the all new operating system for the very first time. A while ago, when I upgraded my Macbook from Lion to Mountain Lion, I had the rare opportunity to experience a kernel panic in white followed by an automatic restart. Luckily without any lasting effects to my computer. This time around, the operating system behaves impeccably: FileVault’s login appears swiftly and my desktop comes up shortly after. Excellent!

One last thing...

Of course, the upgrade removed Java. Fortunately Mavericks instantly downloads and installs Java SE 6-Runtime when prompted by relevant applications. Because I perform the upgrade a couple of days after I downloaded the installer application an OS X update awaits me which – what a surprise – comes with a newer version of Java.


Upgrading to OS X Mavericks is straight forward and advisable, especially if you – like me – are looking forward to the new features OS X 10.9 offers. With one of the oldest Macs still supported and a tricky albeit not extravagant configuration the whole process is nonetheless astonishingly robust. The new multi display functionality and Finder’s tabs – something I have been eagerly awaiting since the very first version of OS X – are incredibly useful. For portable computers the improved power saving mechanisms with Timer Coalescing and App Nap or ram compression seem particularly well suited. However it is too soon to assess their benefits in the long run. So far my Macbook operates perfectly, feels more responsive and is much more fun to use, especially thanks to Finder tabs.