Upgrading to Apple OS X 10.11 (El Capitan)

We have been testing Apple’s latest operating system for Mac’s, and have recommendations for upgrading. Please read through all the caveats and instructions if you are planning to upgrade.

Which Version of OS X are You Running?
To find out what version of the system you’re running, select “About this Mac” from the Apple menu.

We Recommend You Upgrade if You Have Yosemite and Wireless Problems
After several weeks of testing we have found no significant problems with El Capitan, and a big improvement in its wireless performance compared to the previous system 10.10 (Yosemite). Yosemite contains bugs that make it impossible for us to provide wireless access for it everywhere on campus; upgrading to El Capitan appears to fix those problems.

We will stop making special accommodations to support Yosemite wireless connections as of December 1, 2015. This means that any access points we have adjusted to support Yosemite will be returned to their former state.

You May Upgrade if You are Running 10.7 or Higher and…
…you meet the system requirements defined by Apple at https://support.apple.com/kb/SP728?locale=en_US . However, we strongly discourage anyone who has less than 4 GB of memory from upgrading–this differs from Apple’s recommendation but our experience has shown us that it is frustratingly slow to use on a 2GB computer. You can find out how much memory you have by checking Apple Menu/About this Mac.

OS X 10.6 Users Should Probably not Upgrade
If you are running OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) or earlier you should probably not upgrade even if you meet the minimum requirements; the likelihood is that your computer is old enough and slow enough that it would be a painful experience.


  • Fully backup your system (Time Machine is a great option) before upgrading your computer. If you need help with this, set up an appointment by contacting the IT Help Desk.
  • The installation takes time–an hour or more on wireless is not unusual–and cannot be interrupted without potentially damaging your file system. Please plan accordingly.
  • If you have a Bootcamp partition on your computer, we recommend that you contact us to do the upgrade to avoid potential problems.
  • El Capitan will be much slower to start up for most 10.7/10.8/10.9 users. Starting with Yosemite the startup time got really slow, unless you have a high-end Mac with an SSD. If this sort of thing annoys you, please take it into account.

You may need to upgrade software to run with the new system.

  • Adobe CC 2015 will work without any changes, but CS 6 and CS 5 may require installing Java SE 8.
  • Microsoft Office should work without changes.
  • Parallels requires version 10 or later.
  • EndNote may require an update to version X7.

How to Upgrade
The upgrade can be accessed by opening the App Store (from the Apple menu or your Applications folder). Before upgrading you must be logged into the App Store with an Apple ID–the same ID you use for iTunes or purchasing apps; if you don’t have an Apple ID you can create a new one. If your computer is set up with the helpdesk@hampshire.edu¬†Apple ID, log out from that and log in with your own. Full installation information and instructions are athttp://www.apple.com/osx/how-to-upgrade/ .

Let Us Know if You Have Questions or Problems
If you run into problems you can contact the IT Help Desk at helpdesk@hampshire.edu or 413-559-5418.