As we reported earlier, on Wednesday evening Apple quietly released the Mac OS X Version 10.6.5 Update. The 10.6.5 Update is recommended for all users running Mac OS X Snow Leopard and includes general operating system fixes that Apple says will enhance the stability, compatibility, and security of your Mac.
It's been a long wait since the Version10.6.4 update was sprung in mid-June, especially for those of us who have found the first four revisions of Snow Leopard buggy.
Apple recommends that before updating your system you should do a global backup your system using Time Machine. Other backup utilities such as Carbon Copy Cloner (my personal fave, recently updated to version 3.3.5) can also be used.
You can either update the easy way using OS X Software Update, or my personal preference is to download and run a standalone installer, ideally using the Combo installer version even if you're only going up one fractional version increment.
Using OS X's Software Update feature is quick and easy, but I also try to squeeze in running a slate of system maintenance routines with an application like OnyX (more on this below). IMHO doing some prudent system maintenance and running a Combo standalone update installer are the best policy for avoiding problems with system updates, and while you can't prove a negative, I've had excellent luck over the years
with MAc OS X updates using the cautious method.
Software Update method (if you must)
Choose Software Update from the Apple menu to automatically check for the latest Apple software using the Internet, including this update. If your computer is not up-to-date, other software updates available for your computer may appear which you should install first. Note that an update's size may vary from computer to computer when installed using Software Update. Also, some updates must be installed prior to others, so you should run Software Update more than once to make sure you have all available updates.
The preferred-by-me standalone update installer option is especially useful when you need to update multiple computers but only want to download the update once, and I also find it convenient to keep a current update installer on hand in case one needs to do a complete system reinstall. The several standalone installer variants are available from Apple Support Downloads (see link below).
One of the reasons I like going with a freestanding update installer is that one can do some prudent preparation before running the update, such as the aforementioned file backup, repairing permissions, running the cron maintenance scripts, cleaning system caches (a system maintenance utility like OnyX, MainMenu, (both freeware) or a host of others available, is the most convenient way to do this). Belt and braces perhaps, but I'm of the view that doing these things can help avoid problems.
As noted above, before running the Combo updater I usually run a set of basic system maintenance routines with the Automation panel of OnyX. I also shut down all other programs before running the installer, which will ask for a reboot anyway. MacFixIt has long advised booting into Safe Boot mode (hold down the Shift key during a reboot) before running the installer, which I confess I usually don't bother with, as starting up in Safe Boot mode takes a long time because it runs a media scan during the bootup process. If you go that route, be prepared to wait about five minutes or so before the login screen appears (which it will in Safe Boot even if you have automatic login configured).
Several standalone update installer versions are available. If you're not familiar with the distinctions among updater versions, the basic Update ("Delta") lets you update from Mac OS X 10.6.4 to 10.6.5 only, while the Combo update lets you update from Mac OS X 10.6, 10.6.1, 10.6.2, 10.6.3, or 10.64 to 10.6.5. I prefer to use the combo version, even if I'm only moving up one version number.
Historically, many users have reported that they encounter fewer problems using the Mac OS X Combo updaters, than with the incremental Deltas or using Software Update. The downside of the standalone updaters is that they're huge, even bigger than the Software Update downloads that run at about 500MB to 700MB, depending on the configuration of the system being updated. The incremental Delta updater file is 607.21 MB, and the Combo version pretty nigh to a gigabyte (977.21 MB).
Mac OS X v10.6.5 Update
The 10.6.4 Update is recommended for all users running Mac OS X Snow Leopard. It includes Safari 5 and general operating system fixes - 607.21 MB
Mac OS X v10.6.5 Update (Combo)
The 10.6.5 Update is recommended for all users running Mac OS X Snow Leopard. It includes Safari 5 and general operating system fixes - 977.21 MB
Mac OS X Server v10.6.5 Update
The 10.6.5 Server update is recommended for all servers currently running Snow Leopard Server. This update includes general operating system fixes - 858.02 MB
You can download the standalone installers here.