Safe updating on old Mac

This is a general issue, as I am starting my Linux journey with an old Macbook Pro (2009) I came across one problem which is how to safely apply updates. I have had problems with both Budgie and before it Zorin OS.

In each case I installed the OS and used it for about a week without using it for critical work. Then saw an update was available and just applied the update.

While, undoubtedly the problems were of a different sort, each of these updates resulted in a non-bootable machine.

With Budgie I liked it sufficiently to try again, so I did a fresh installation. After that I more carefully and incrementally applied updates, starting with non-essential ones then rebooting to check things were still working, then finally applying the updates to Budgie OS itself last of all.

I’ve partitioned the hard drive as a 200Gb partition for the OS and a separate data partition of 300Gb. My approach is now going to be to move my home directory over to the 300Gb partition so that if necessary I can just blow away the 200Gb one and install a fresh OS if a problem occurs during a future update.

Am I being too cautious here, or is this generally how people set things up? Are there any pitfalls in moving the home directory over to the other partition that I might want to know about before doing this?