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Old Feb 4, 2008, 06:20 PM   #1
clayj
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Complete Steps to Perform a Clean OS X Reinstall on Your MacBook Air

NOTE: The most up-to-date steps are available in the following Guide entry: http://guides.macrumors.com/Complete...ur_MacBook_Air. Please feel free to post your questions and comments in this thread.

This guide is provided in order to make it easier for you to free up valuable hard drive/SSD space on your MacBook Air by reinstalling OS X with only the components that you really need. It is recommended that you perform these steps before you install a bunch of applications and data files, because these steps will reset your MBA's hard drive/SSD completely.

STEPS TO PERFORM A CLEAN INSTALL:
  1. Insert your OS X DVD #1 into your SuperDrive (if you have one) or external, shared DVD drive (you must have set this up previously, following Apple's instructions and using the OS X DVD #1 in your remote machine to install Remote Disc).

  2. Shut down your MacBook Air. Then, turn it back on and hold down either the C key (SuperDrive) or the Option key (Remote Disc) to boot from the OS X DVD. The Apple logo will come up and the "processing" whirly thing will go for a while (a few minutes, in my case).

  3. The screen will eventually turn blue, and then you will see the nebula wallpaper and be prompted to select a language. Click "Use English for the main language", or select your appropriate language. Then, click the "-->" button. The Mac OS X Leopard Installer window will appear.

  4. On the Utilities menu, click Disk Utility. The Installer window will disappear and the Disk Utility window will appear.

  5. Once disk information has been gathered, select your hard drive. This will be the item ABOVE "Macintosh HD". In the case of a 64 GB SSD, the item should be called "55.9 GB MCCOE64GEMPP" or something similar.

  6. Click Partition. Under Volume Scheme, select "1 Partition". In the Name box, type "Macintosh HD" or whatever you want your hard drive to be named. Then, click Apply. Click Partition to confirm repartitioning of the hard drive/SSD. It will take a few seconds for the drive to be partitioned. Once it's done, click Quit Disk Utility on the Disk Utility menu. The Disk Utility window will disappear and the Installer window will reappear.

    NOTE: If you fail to perform steps 4-6, you will not have a clean install, and it is possible that you will not be able to prevent applications from being installed.

  7. In the Installer window, click Continue. Click Agree to agree to the software license agreement (you can read it first if you really, really want to).

  8. In the "Select a Destination" window, select your hard drive ("Macintosh HD" or whatever you called it). Click Continue.

  9. In the Install Summary window, click Customize (lower-left corner of the dialog box).

  10. In the list of Package Names, you can turn OFF (uncheck) any or all of the following items, depending on whether you think you will ever need them:

    PRINTER DRIVERS (3.4 GB): You can opt to not install ANY printer drivers by clearing the Printer Drivers checkbox. You can also install just specific printer drivers by turning ON only the checkboxes for those printer drivers you think you might need (Hewlett-Packard, for example). In my test, I turned the Printer Drivers checkbox OFF and chose not to install ANY printer drivers; later on, I plan to manually install the printer drivers for my specific HP printer using the CD that came with the printer, and I don't need any other drivers.

    ADDITIONAL FONTS (141 MB): I don't ever need Chinese, Korean, Arabic, Hebrew, Thai, Cyrillic (Russian), Devanagari, Gujarati, Punjabi, Tibetan, Armenian, Cherokee, or Inuktitut font support for my own use, but I occasionally do hit web sites that use one or more of these languages, and it's only 141 MB... so I left this checkbox turned ON. If you want to save 141 MB because you're sure you won't need this, you can turn the Additional Fonts checkbox OFF.

    LANGUAGE TRANSLATIONS (1.8 GB): I definitely don't need any of these, so I turned OFF the Language Translations checkbox and chose not to install any of them. Individual languages may be installed by turning ON their checkboxes... each language is roughly 100 MB in size.

    X11 (117 MB): This option allows you to run Linux and UNIX apps in OS X. I don't think I'll ever do this, but I left the option checked since it's only 117 MB. (EDIT: Thanks to mzd for explaining what this option does.)

    BUNDLED APPLICATIONS (3 GB): This contains many separate items which you may or may not want to install:

    • CPU HELP FILES (262 MB): This is the user's manual for the MBA and for Leopard, so this is probably a good thing to install.
    • IWEB (290 MB): I don't use iWeb for web design. Ergo, I cleared the checkbox for iWeb and chose not to install it.
    • GARAGEBAND (1 GB): I don't really use GarageBand except to make ringtones for my iPhone... and I'll be doing that on my Mac Pro. So, I cleared the checkbox for GarageBand. Note that the "GarageBand Additional Instruments and Loops" option (1.3 GB) is turned OFF by default.
    • IDVD (559 MB): No built-in optical drive = no making DVDs on my MacBook Air, so I cleared the checkbox for iDVD. As with GarageBand, the "iDVD Extra Content" option (342 MB) is turned OFF by default.
    • IPHOTO (553 MB): This was a tough one for me. I don't plan on managing my photos on my MacBook Air, but I can see where I might want to at some point. So I left this checkbox turned ON.
    • IMOVIE (136 MB): As with iDVD, I can't see using iMovie on a machine with no optical drive built-in (although I suppose you could just author movies and then burn them when you get home). At any rate, I don't ever use iMovie, so I cleared its checkbox.

    By my reckoning, turning OFF the items listed in blue above should have saved me 7200 MB or so (7 GB?) in disk space (actual numbers below).

  11. Once you've made the changes you want, click Done. Then, click Install. Click Continue Installation once you verify you have both OS X DVDs.

    You can click Skip if you want to skip the DVD consistency check. This will save you a lot of time in the installation process. I clicked Skip and was told that installation would take roughly 40 minutes to 1 hour.

  12. When the Installer is done with OS X DVD #1, the MacBook Air will automatically restart and eject OS X DVD #1. When this occurs, go ahead and insert OS X DVD #2; YOU MAY NOT BE EXPLICITLY TOLD TO INSERT THE DVD. Insert the DVD and installation will continue automatically for about 10 to 20 more minutes. When installation is complete, you will be prompted to click Continue.
OS X DVD #2 will be ejected and your MacBook Air will automatically reboot and you will go through the normal first-time experience (selecting language, entering Apple ID, creating user account, etc.).

Following these steps, I went from:

FACTORY CONFIG
Used = 18,563,555,328 bytes
Free = 38.29 GB

to

CLEAN INSTALL
Used = 10,813,370,368 bytes
Free = 45.51 GB

for a total savings of 7.22 GB! That's almost a 19% increase in free disk space, and it only took about an hour and a half to do. Turning off other options which I chose to install might have saved me about 1 GB more.

Note that once you have installed the above, you will still need to install OS updates (OS X 10.5.2, etc.) and application updates using Software Update.

Hope these steps help... please post your comments here and I will update these steps as necessary.

MORE THINGS YOU CAN REMOVE MANUALLY:
Deleting the Alex voice (thanks to actuality for that tip) would free up almost another 700 MB, but this can be done at any later time. And using the steps that Salty Pirate documented below would free up another 2 GB, but I don't want my system crashing if I let the battery completely drain, so I am passing on that for now.

ADDING COMPONENTS BACK IN LATER ON:
If later on you want to install something you chose not to install using the above steps, you can insert the OS X DVD #1 into your DVD drive (SuperDrive or shared Remote Disc) and then double-click Optional Installs > Install Bundled Software Only > Continue > Continue > Customize. This will let you (re)install the CPU Help Files, iWeb, GarageBand, iDVD, iPhoto, and iMovie.

MORE WAYS TO SAVE SPACE:
Click here for some handy information about how to store your files on a different machine and still be able to access them from your MBA.
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Last edited by clayj; Mar 15, 2008 at 01:00 AM. Reason: added link to Guide entry
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Old Feb 4, 2008, 06:38 PM   #2
treacle
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It's worth doing this now when the MBA is new. Those few extra GB will mean alot more later and you will be glad you did this.
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Old Feb 4, 2008, 08:18 PM   #3
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wow... this should be a sticky, and made into a printable version... nice
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Old Feb 4, 2008, 08:41 PM   #4
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Is it my imagination or is this the sloooooooooooowest process in the world?
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Old Feb 4, 2008, 08:43 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ubercool View Post
Is it my imagination or is this the sloooooooooooowest process in the world?
Huh? These are the steps to reinstall the OS. Nothing surprising on how long it takes.
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Old Feb 4, 2008, 08:45 PM   #6
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anyone got any info on whether it's safe to delete the things the OP was unsure of? Like those help files? Etc?
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Old Feb 4, 2008, 08:48 PM   #7
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Location: CANADA? eh?
yes stickie...people will ask this 100x times
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Old Feb 4, 2008, 09:17 PM   #8
maroulis
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i'm about to scream.. migration assistant took forever over 802.11N and I decided to stop... Now doesn't boot up, I get a blue screen w/nothing on.. Trying to install remotely from my Macbook using the Macbook Air install CD 1 and running "Remote Install OS X", I select the CD it boots and then again the frickin blue screen w/nothing else !!!!

Any suggestions?

PS my apple store didn't have USB Drive
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Old Feb 4, 2008, 09:27 PM   #9
steve31
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HEY a BIG thanxs to you "clayj" I have not got my 1.8 ssd yet but I will be using this as a guide when I get it. You saved me a lot of guess work.
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Old Feb 4, 2008, 09:35 PM   #10
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Used this guide on my Air and it worked perfectly. Thanks clayj! This should be stickied, I agree.
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Old Feb 4, 2008, 09:53 PM   #11
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wow awesome! i will def use this when i get my air hehe

thanks!
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Old Feb 4, 2008, 10:39 PM   #12
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Wow... sweet post. I just ordered my new MBA 1.8/SSD tonight (about an hour ago!) and will be using this guide within minutes of opening the box!

I am a PC/Windows guy most of the time and reinstalling OS X for tightness is not my forte' so thank you so much!
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Old Feb 4, 2008, 11:50 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clayj View Post
[*]When the Installer is done with OS X DVD #1, the MacBook Air will automatically restart and eject OS X DVD #1. When this occurs, go ahead and insert OS X DVD #2; you will not be explicitly told to insert the DVD. Insert the DVD and installation will continue automatically for about 10 to 20 more minutes. When installation is complete, you will be prompted to click Continue.

Okay, it restarted and I didn't let it eject the first DVD. I went ahead and ejected it myself (too used to other OSes).

It went straight to the Welcome menu.

Do I have a failed install?
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Old Feb 4, 2008, 11:51 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by loghyr View Post
Okay, it restarted and I didn't let it eject the first DVD. I went ahead and ejected it myself (too used to other OSes).

It went straight to the Welcome menu.

Do I have a failed install?
BTW I did not have it install iPhoto, but otherwise made the same selections.

I've got 9.2G used, which seems off.

You had 10.8 - .6 (for iPhoto) = 10.2G

I seem to be missing a G of stuff.

Quote:
Originally Posted by maroulis View Post
PS my apple store didn't have USB Drive
You don't need an Apple USB drive, I used a Sony 810U external drive. (Note that while it is nowhere near as portable as what Apple probably offers, the price was right - already paid for a couple of years ago. )

It did freeze the first time through saying to clean the media.

Last edited by devilot; Feb 6, 2008 at 04:50 PM. Reason: Merged 3 posts; please use "Edit" and/ or "Multi Quote"
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Old Feb 5, 2008, 12:11 AM   #15
maroulis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maroulis View Post
i'm about to scream.. migration assistant took forever over 802.11N and I decided to stop... Now doesn't boot up, I get a blue screen w/nothing on.. Trying to install remotely from my Macbook using the Macbook Air install CD 1 and running "Remote Install OS X", I select the CD it boots and then again the frickin blue screen w/nothing else !!!!

Any suggestions?

PS my apple store didn't have USB Drive
this is insane... I still can't get it to work I must have tried over 30 times now from my macbook (latest revision) sharing the install DVD starting up holding down option key, selecting WLAN, etc then the disk which it can see...

only ONCE did it actually go through the proper set-up and then hang again..Am I the only one?
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Old Feb 5, 2008, 12:21 AM   #16
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Here is another space saving tip....about 2GB.

The Macbook's come from the factory in hibernate mode 3. It writes the contents to the disk. That facilitates battery removal and replacement on MBP machines. Well we are never going to swap batteries, so hibernate mode 0, write to memory, makes more sense. You can also rm the disk space taken up by the hibernate image.

Follow these simple commands:

This command will tell you what mode you are in:



pmset -g | grep hibernatemode



Then change to mode 0. A 3 will take you back to where you were.



sudo pmset -a hibernatemode 0



This command removes the sleep image and reclaims very valuable SSD space.



sudo rm /var/vm/sleepimage




reboot and you are done.
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Old Feb 5, 2008, 12:32 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clayj View Post
[LIST=11]
[*]Insert your OS X DVD #1 into your SuperDrive (if you have one) or external, shared DVD drive (you must have set this up previously).
With the exception of a few peculiars regarding the hardware specific drives (mainly the bold part in step 1 which didn't get into much detail), etc. Isn't this just a "clean install" of Leopard process? Something a lot of us have already done or should at least know how to install OSX. For that matter it's not even THAT Leopard specific.

Good job writing the stuff down though. Pretty much just the same way you would do a fresh install almost any OSX on any Mac.

If anything this should be (unless it already has something similar) stickied in just a Mac software location. It's not really MBA specific.
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Old Feb 5, 2008, 06:14 AM   #18
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I'm sure this takes awhile.

How long is expected? I plan on doing this, but with my insane schedule, I need to plan the time.

Excellent info though! I appreciate it!
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Old Feb 5, 2008, 06:29 AM   #19
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Cheer's for posting that Clayj... There will I imagine be a lot of posters requesting that info in the forthcoming days / weeks.

(I always do a fresh install on any mac hardware I get - execpt my macpro as I really didn't worry about 6-7gb on a main 500gb HDD - but for laptops it's a must do for me.)
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Old Feb 5, 2008, 07:04 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Salty Pirate View Post
Here is another space saving tip....about 2GB.

The Macbook's come from the factory in hibernate mode 3. It writes the contents to the disk. That facilitates battery removal and replacement on MBP machines. Well we are never going to swap batteries, so hibernate mode 0, write to memory, makes more sense. You can also rm the disk space taken up by the hibernate image.

Follow these simple commands:

This command will tell you what mode you are in:



pmset -g | grep hibernatemode



Then change to mode 0. A 3 will take you back to where you were.



sudo pmset -a hibernatemode 0



This command removes the sleep image and reclaims very valuable SSD space.



sudo rm /var/vm/sleepimage




reboot and you are done.
Salty, good stuff. Can you also post the "reverse" steps for if someone wants to go from mode 0 back to mode 3? If you can, I will try both sets of steps and see about adding them to the master steps above as an option.

One question: If you switch to mode 0 and your battery totally dies, am I correct in assuming your computer will not hibernate, but simply crap out as if you had yanked the battery out while it was still running? If so, is that a big problem as far as the operating system or file integrity are concerned?

Thanks.
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Old Feb 5, 2008, 07:43 AM   #21
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Executing this command will take you back to mode 3 and disk write sleep image:

sudo pmset -a hibernatemode 3


Yes, the one downside, if your battery completely dies, it would be like a system crash. Perhaps battery conditioning should be done before this change is made.

Just remember, in mode 3, your sleepimage on the disk will be close to the size of system RAM, in our case 2 GB.
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Old Feb 5, 2008, 07:56 AM   #22
noservice2001
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am i a n00b? is this english? i'm lost

Quote:
Originally Posted by Salty Pirate View Post
Here is another space saving tip....about 2GB.

The Macbook's come from the factory in hibernate mode 3. It writes the contents to the disk. That facilitates battery removal and replacement on MBP machines. Well we are never going to swap batteries, so hibernate mode 0, write to memory, makes more sense. You can also rm the disk space taken up by the hibernate image.

Follow these simple commands:

This command will tell you what mode you are in:

pmset -g | grep hibernatemode

Then change to mode 0. A 3 will take you back to where you were.

sudo pmset -a hibernatemode 0

This command removes the sleep image and reclaims very valuable SSD space.

sudo rm /var/vm/sleepimage


reboot and you are done.
can you explain how to get to this menu? er. how to get to "command"?

and why won't the mods want to make this a sticky? this is top notch info... its even grammar fixed and everything
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Old Feb 5, 2008, 07:57 AM   #23
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can you explain how to get to this menu? er. how to get to "command"?
Use Terminal in the Utilities folder in Applications.
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Old Feb 5, 2008, 09:00 AM   #24
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRumorUser View Post
Use Terminal in the Utilities folder in Applications.
oh, its like dos... coolness!
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Old Feb 5, 2008, 09:28 AM   #25
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hey everyone. sorry i'm a mac newbie, but i'm wondering if there is another way to just delete some of the bundled applciations without doing a fresh reinstall?
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