I thought I knew too, but I've learned better. Not even Daring Fireball's update process mentions removing the network cable, but I now know that's essential:
Gordon's Tech: OS X major version updates - my approachAn old version of MobileMe, launched on startup, can destroy your cloud data. Not to mention Spanning Sync, Missing Sync, etc, etc.
.... Pull the network cable (see below). You can plug it in when you need to get software updates. Nowadays there are all sorts of things a partly updated machine can destroy if it can get a the net....
Pull the ethernet cable, disable the wireless -- heck, pull your home net connection!
I'll keep updating my post on OS X upgrades as I learn and see more. I'm right to approach this process the way I'd approach a rabid wolf ...
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