upgrade Macs

I am new to the Mac World.  We have Macs with 10.6 version OS.  We need to go up to 10.8 to have some software work.  Is this a simple update?  Or do we need to purchase an OS?  Whenever I try to update the computer, it freezes up.
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It is free.

You have to update to 10.6.8 first. Pull down the Apple menu to Wbout This Mac to see if you are already at 10.6.8. If not pull down the Apple Menu to Software Update and update to 10.6.8

You can probably no longer update to 10.8 as it is likely not available

You will likely have to update to 10.11 el Capitan following the instructions here:  http://www.apple.com/ca/osx/how-to-upgrade/
Kyle SantosQuality AssuranceCommented:
If you have an external hard drive available I recommend using Spotlight and searching for Time Machine to make a backup of your current system prior to upgrading.  This way if something goes wrong you can go back to your 10.6 version OS.

Otherwise, strung has provided adequate information on what will happen.

Also, come check out our group discussion about the upgrade El Capitan itself!
http://www.experts-exchange.com/groups/Apple.html (JOIN)

Let me know if you need anything else.

Rather than make a Time Machine backup, I would make a bootable clone of the drive using Carbon Copy Cloner (http://www.bombich.com). That way if you want to go back, you can boot to the external (by holding down the option key to bring up the bootlicker) and  simply clone the external back to the internal.

Before cloning, you will likely have to reformat the external drive as Apple Extended Format (Journalled) with on partition using a GUID partition map. This can be done using Disk Utility found in /Applications/Utilities.
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Kyle SantosQuality AssuranceCommented:
Or that ^

al4629740Author Commented:
So the upgrade is free?
al4629740Author Commented:
I was hoping I could update the Mac remotely but I guess this is something I have to be at the location for...
al4629740Author Commented:
I have 10.6.8

So can I go directly to 10.11?
Yes. Follow the instructions on the Apple KB  Link in my earlier post
al4629740Author Commented:
Got it.  Will I be able to keep all my programs and files without any issues?
Yes, except for programs that are incompatible with El Capitan. If you are running 10.6.8, my guess is that a lot of your apps are out of date and may need updating.
al4629740Author Commented:
I just tried upgrading one computer which gave me the message that I am unable to upgrade to 10.11.

Is there a way to upgrade to 10.8 or 10.9 or 10.10
Did you check to see if you computers meet the specifications for OS 10.11?

If the problem is that your computers are too old for El Capitan, you can get older version of the OS here:

Did the error message tell you why it would not upgrade?
al4629740Author Commented:
It said click to learn more but when I did nothing came up
al4629740Author Commented:
It stinks that they make you purchase older version of the OS
Did you check to see if your Macs support El Capitan:


For details about your Mac model, click the Apple icon at the top left of your screen, choose About This Mac, then choose More Info. These Mac models are compatible with OS X El Capitan:

MacBook (Early 2015)
MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum, or Early 2009 or newer)
MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer)
MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer)
Mac mini (Early 2009 or newer)
iMac (Mid 2007 or newer)
Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer)
Xserve (Early 2009)

If your computer is in the list above, there may be another reason El Capitan won't install, like for instance, not enough free space on your hard disk (you need at least 8.8 gigs free).

Also run Software Update on the Mac in case it needs a firmware update.

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You could also try running the upgrade again, but this time check the system logs  by opening Console.app (found in /Applications/Utilities) and see if it give you a more detailed error message when you get the message saying it can't upgrade.
If you've backed up your data, you should just use wipe the disk first and start fresh.  That's usually easier when you install a new OS.  Once installed, you can use Migration assistant to migrate your Applications and User data files.
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