Technology KnowledgeBase

Updating to the Newest Available Operating System

Frequently asked questions:

Why do I need to update my computer?
Many of our most frequently used apps and services will soon require the update to the latest operating system to continue to work.  Updating the OS is a healthy way to keep your computer functioning properly and keeps apps and system functions working efficiently.

With this update, one major additional function that users will appreciate is the ability to airdrop documents and files from a staff computer to an iPad.

What do I need to do before I update?

1.  You will need to make sure you have a current backup. Please refer to KB Article KB#687 for instructions on Free File Sync (FFS) Backup System.
2.  Check your computer through Self Service to see if you have enough disk space to run the update.  

NOTE: The average NSD userspace is under 75GB on a district issued MacBook Air. You can check the amount of disk space available by opening Self Service (in the Applications folder) and running the 1st Aid: Accessible Disk Space policy. Instructions for using Self Service are in KB article #555.

3.  You may need to clean up old files, music, pictures and movies. Please refer to KB Article #699 for instructions on cleaning up disc space.

When is the best time to run the update and how long will it take?

It is strongly recommended that the update be run at the end of your work day because it may take one to two hours to complete. If you start the update at the end of your day and follow the prompts from Self Service, your computer should be ready for you when you walk in the following morning.

Can I run the update at home?

No. As with all Self Service items, they may only be run while you are on the NSDPrivate network.

How do I install the update?

1. Plug your computer in to AC power.

2. Close ALL apps and browsers.

3. Confirm you are on the NSDPrivate network. (Menu bar  > WiFi Icon > NSDPrivate checked)

4.  Remove all peripherals from computer. (Dongle, external drives, or USB drives)

5. Open Self Service. (Applications folder > Self Service).

6. Select "El Capitan Update" in Self Service and follow the prompts. (Application Folder > Self Service > Category > Featured > El Capitan Update)

7. With the power cord plugged in and the lid open, walk away.

8. The following morning your computer will be waiting for you with a new, blue NSD Login Screen*.

*In the rare event that your computer screen is still showing the current dark grey login screen or a blurred image of the mountain, El Capitan, please contact Tech Support at x6688.

How do I know the update has started? Can I track its progress?


Once you have selected the "Update" button in
Self Service a filler bar at the top of the Self Service window      
display the first portion of the installation progress.

About half way through the update,
a blurred image of a login screen showing the
mountain, El Capitan,  will appear for the duration 
of the update.


When your computer is 
displaying the new, dark blue, login window, the update has
completed successfully 
and your computer is ready to use.


Please note:

The update is not complete if your screen is blurry.                      

Do not log on this screen.

If you are greeted with the blurry screen the morning after 
updating call Technology (x6688) immediately.



Computers successfully completing the El Capitan update           
will display this new NSD Login screen.

You will know it is done if you have two lines of verbiage 
above the Sleep, Restart, or Shutdown icons and the NSD logo.

 How do I know when the update is complete?

When your computer returns the login screen, with a new NSD Login window, it is ready to use. In the rare event that your computer screen is still showing a blurred image of the mountain, El Capitan, please contact Tech Support at x6688.

What happens if my computer goes to sleep during the update?

Your computer's operating system (OS) will not allow your computer to go to sleep while it is running an update.

What happens if I accidentally close the lid during the update?

If you close the lid during the update the operating system will stall, then continue where it left off when you reopen the lid.

What happens if there are issues with my power cable, power adapter, or battery during the update?

The upgrade may fail to complete and your computer will be inoperable. In the rare event that this might occur, please contact the Technology Help Desk (x6688). You may need to bring it to the Technology department to complete the update.

What happens if I get prompted that my computer does not have enough disk space (memory) to run the update?

You will be prompted to consult KB article KB#699: “Freeing up Disk Space” in the menu list on the left side of the Self Service window. You may also ask your school's TRT, STS or the district Technology Help Desk (x6688) for assistance if needed.

Do I need to have my computer plugged into Ethernet to run the update?

No. The update will install wirelessly right from your workspace. In some instances, where the WiFi signal is weak, plugging your computer into a LIVE ethernet jack may be necessary. Alternatively, you can move your machine to a colleague's workspace where the wifi signal is stronger. You will need a Thunderbolt adapter in order to make an ethernet connection on the MacBook Air (available from your building’s Librarian or STS). Please avoid running the update in places like your school's Library where after school events may be held and security may be an  issue.

What will be different after the update?

There will be one obvious change: Once your computer has completed the update it will return to the login window and a new NSD Login screen will be present. Overall, the changes are "under the hood" and are meant to improve  performance. The El Capitan update will not force you to learn new applications.

What happens if I don't perform the update?

Staff choosing to ignore the update will find eventually that certain applications will discontinue working. This will be problematic for lesson presentation, evaluation procedures, and communication with colleagues, students and parents.

If I choose not to perform the update, will I be forced to?

Yes. You must perform this update by October 14, 2016.








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