Don't confuse RAM "memory" which is temporary memory on chips with hard drive file storage. Even with Tiger you have a lot more files than 1 GB. If you have very, very modest use you might be able to use a flash drive. If you're a regular user you could have tens if not hundreds, if not possibly even thousands of GB.
Don't think of this in terms of temporary backup. You want a long-term backup solution. Your computer drive could fail at any time, it's just a bit more risky something unpleasant will happen when you are upgrading (not drive failure but bad file rearranging).
Look into getting an external hard drive. I cannot recommend a particular model but there are good and bad ones for Macs. It's a slightly complex topic. If you want to play it safe, go with a vendor such as OWC or www.macsales.com Personally I would make sure the drive they put inside the enclosure is a Western Digital model and go with at least a blue or even a black. Yes it is more costly but if you get a good one then likely the external drive may last through several computer generations for you.
My only addition to Limnos' excellant advice I would add is to implement a backup system all the time not just during uogrades. While it is true that during major projects like upgrades there is a greater chance for data lose, the possibility of data lose is always there.
Rule of IT. Lose of data is a certainty. The only question is when.
So get an external drive and implement a backup plan to protect your data.
I read the Word page. It doesn't address my question.
This Mac (MacBook Pro with OS X 10.4.11) has Word for Mac for 2003
which I installed from discs purchased when I was using a desktop G3.
Since I will be installing OS Leopard, at the insistence of Firefox and Google,
I have to deal with Word. The only difficulties I ever have with using my
computer is what Word will and won't do and when.
So I'm groping the net to learn what to do.
It appears I can download a more current Word, free. Is that true?
Or will I run into a payment page halfway through ?
The community Word page has a few complaints about some version of Word
on Lion. So the questions are:
Is the internet still as Word dependent as I think it is, or are Google docs or
some Mac programs (that come with the system) as Portable between platforms ?
What is recent Community experience with Word for Mac ?
To repeat: Is it free ? Does it work ? Is there anything that works as well or better ?
I bought My Passport 2 TB from Costco because I can return it easily
if I can't make it work. Package says it has to be reformatted for Mac OS.
How do I do that ?
Will it format itself when it meets the laptop as, I believe, a CD does ?
The laptop presently has a lot of debris i'll never use.
The new OS will have its own useless stuff.
And advice about that ?
Check that page to see if you think it would have helped.
I am getting customized help at Tiger to Leopard
from noondaywitch in the UK.
I'd link you to our dialogue if I knew how.
I'm sure you could find it if you wished.
I bought a WD 2T Passport and it is present use.
As I reported to ndw I think I should erase my Mac HD now
to install Snow Leopard.
I'll wait a few minutes to learn whether anyone says not to.