I'm not sure what OS you are talking about so I can't give any specific recommendations but, in general, you need to do your homework first and check out any errata. Errata are where the vendor tells you the problems that they found and usually what to do about it. That may cause you to wait for an update or to order an update (service pack) to be applied immediately after you upgrade.
From a backup standpoint, for the OS you should take a full image backup and be sure you have the necessary standalone restore software ready before you do the upgrade. Many people make two copies in case one is bad. Good luck.
Evaluator Group, Inc.
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This was first published in February 2002