Reasons for and against doing a clean install on a new computer

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by debrey, May 26, 2006.

  1. debrey macrumors member

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    Chicago
    #1
    So I'm evidently getting a replacement MBP and I'll need to put my data back on it. I'm thinking about doing a clean install of OSX, as I've seen some here recommend. Sorry for the basic questions -- I'm new to Macs and not all that computer savy.

    In general I'd like to know: what are the advantages or disadvantages of doing this?

    I know you can save space. But what, exactly, are you taking off? I've heard that you are taking off drivers. Does that mean external devices wouldn't be plug and play?

    How exactly do you go about doing a clean install? How long does it take?

    Thanks in advance for any help,

    David
     
  2. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #2
    I am in the "against" camp. You have nothing to gain, and only your time to lose. If a smaller install of OSX is valuable to you, then use the freeware tools available to remove localizations and the like. Personally, I would not bother with this either, unless I was running short of drive space. I will let the "for" camp speak their minds, but I have to say that I've yet to hear an objective argument in favor of clean installs, especially on a brand new Mac.
     
  3. Wano macrumors 6502

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    Oct 23, 2002
    #3
    I was about to do a clean install. Then when I was unchecking drivers and other things it only saved me 1.12GB of space. So, I just decided to quit the installation rather than wait 45min for a clean install. It's up to you. If saving a little bit of hard drive space is valuable to you, then do it. Otherwise just enjoy your machine.
     
  4. insomniac321123 macrumors 6502

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    Milwaukee, WI
    #4
    When I got my mbp, I didnt bother doing a complete reinstall. I used a program called monolingual to remove all of the extra languages. It saved me about 3 gigs without doing a clean install. Here's a link:



    monolingual
     
  5. disconap macrumors 68000

    disconap

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    Portland, OR
    #5
    Why not do an archive install if you just want a smaller install? You can set it so that all your apps and user folder are put back where they were, just the core system is replaced...
     
  6. aquajet macrumors 68020

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    #6
    By doing a clean installation, you can select certain optional packages to install. These include language translations (and assorted fonts specific to certain languages), text-to-speech voices, printer drivers, and X11 support (used for certain UNIX applications).

    It's possible to save a gigabyte or more by uninstalling unused packages. It's kind of silly to erase your hard drive and and do a customized installation when all you really need to do is erase what's not needed. As others have mentioned, there are a number of third party freeware applications that can do this for you.

    I removed all language translation files (besides english and spanish) and managed to save about a gigabyte on my smallish 60 gb drive. Since I carry my laptop with me everywhere I go, I elected to keep all available printer drivers just in case the need to print something ever arises while I'm away from home. With all available printer drivers installed, I shouldn't ever have to worry about whether or not the necessary drivers are available on my system.

    Doing a complete reinstall of system software, applications and other files could take an hour or longer, depending upon how many things you have that will need to be reinstalled. It's really not necessary unless you've got some serious issues with your computer that aren't repairable (which is really quite rare), or if you replace the hard drive. Even in this instance, there are freeware utilities that will allow you to clone your existing hard drive onto another without having to manually reinstall everything.
     
  7. topgunn macrumors 65816

    topgunn

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    #7
    Archive install would take up MORE room on your system. You aren't losing anything PLUS you are adding a new system folder.

    I ALWAYS do a clean install on a new Mac. Maybe its habit from buying Dells and Gateways where they install all kinds of crap on my machine. I want to know exactly what is installed on my machine. I don't want German and Cantonese language translations nor do I want Canon or Lexmark printer drivers. I don't need Nanosuar or Marble Blast. I don't need Garage Band or the 3 GB's worth of stock loops that comes with it.

    A clean install takes hardly any of my time. Like Ron Popeil said, "Set it and forget it." I just have to change the DVD once and I am done. I save some disk space and gain a bit of piece of mind that my computer has my apps on it. So what if my long lost cousin drops by and wants to use Omni Outliner in his native Swedish? Tough luck, Sven.
     
  8. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #8
    I can't resist the Ron Popiel reference. He also said, "it slices, it dices!"

    Yes, I think your clean install habit must derive from Windows. On the Mac, if you don't want an application, you just drag it to the trash. Not sure where the "peace of mind" with clean installs comes from. Maybe you need to meditate. :)
     
  9. topgunn macrumors 65816

    topgunn

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    #9
    Obviously that's what I do while the computer is doing a clean install.
     
  10. aquajet macrumors 68020

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    #10
    There's only one situation in which I would specifically recommend an erase and reinstall. If you ever sell or give away your computer, you should erase the hard drive (with the "zero out data" option selected), and reinstall whatever software you plan to include (with original disks, of course) with the sale. This will ensure that nobody can gain access to any personal files.
     
  11. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #11
    I see, it's an existential experience for you. That's about the best reasoning for clean installs that I've heard yet!
     
  12. aquajet macrumors 68020

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    #12
    Sometimes people truly feel better about themselves by doing a clean install. That's reason enough, really, when you think about it...
     
  13. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #13
    Not to poke fun, but it does begin to sound suspiciously like a self-esteem issue.

    Seriously, I do think this is a carry-over habit from the Windows world, where the OS can auto-hose, and the only practical solution is to start from scratch. Maybe I care about this issue more than I should, but I really believe that people ought to make the most of fact that they've chosen to use a Mac, and make a conscious effort to put all of that Windows grief behind them.
     
  14. Gurutech macrumors 6502

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    Jan 22, 2006
    #14
    I don't know if this "freeware tools" cleans all the language packs, printer drivers, and other bundled software that i don't need perfectly.

    If computer is new, and has nothing to backup, why not just clean install (albeit custom install)?
    It's easier, and I don't have to search all those freewares.
     
  15. iGary Guest

    iGary

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    Randy's House
    #15
    After all of the issues I have had ove rthe last year, I thought about doing it with a new machine, but then decided against it. I think the OS is fine and happy not having user fiddling about iin files that may be necessary in that 1/100,000 instance that causes a failure.

    No thanks.
     
  16. SilentPanda Moderator emeritus

    SilentPanda

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    #16
    I like to do clean installs on new machines... it lets me verify that the media with the new machine works. This way if I have to do a clean install later I can feel more assured any issues that come up are hardware issues and not faulty installation disks.

    But... it really doesn't matter.
     
  17. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #17
    No search required... Monolingual is easy to find. Personally, I have no reason to start with the smallest possible install of OSX. If space becomes short, I can always throw out applications that I've never used, instead of trying to anticipate my future needs on the install, or run Monolingual. It's safer.
     
  18. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

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    #18
    Liking to do clean installs does not mean that they are needed or that they serve any useful purpose. To the contrary, the most likely vector for file corruption is software installation. Your computer was manufactured and its OS installed among tens of thousands of identical units in a highly controlled and automated environment. A reinstallation will likely be done in a home or office environment under manual control. The chances of a reinstallation glitch are small, but they are orders of magnitude greater than those expected for a factory installation.

    This need to "verify that the media with the new machine works" is baffling. The opening movie when you startup your new computer for the first time is unimpeachable evidence that your media are working. Rather than wasting time reinstalling perfectly good software, your time would be better spent transferring your data from your old computer to your new one and installing your third-party apps the new machine.
     
  19. Mernak macrumors 6502

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    Kirkland, WA
    #19
    Just got a new macbook and did a clean reinstall earlier today. I save ~5GB of disk space by not installing printer drivers and other languages along with the iWork demo. I believe that it was worth it to add 5GB to my 80GB hd, but it can be a hassle and I can see it from both ways.
     
  20. topgunn macrumors 65816

    topgunn

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    #20
    How does the opening movie working when you first start your new computer in any way imply that the reinstallation media, still unpacked in its original packaging, works?
     
  21. bankshot macrumors 65816

    bankshot

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    Jan 23, 2003
    Location:
    Southern California
    #21
    This is really kind of a myth. Yes, it's true for quite a few simple apps, but for many "powerhouse" apps it is not true at all. This includes most Adobe stuff, iLife, Final Cut (Express and Studio), etc, etc. All of these apps install a very large amount of data in /Library/Application Support, and some in other places too (frameworks, kernel extensions, etc). Dragging GarageBand to the trash will make it so you can't run the app anymore, but those gigabytes of loops are still on your drive.

    Anyway, I wholeheartedly agree with topgunn on this issue. My first order of business after unpacking a machine is: run a few quick tests to make sure everything seems to be working, then wipe clean and reinstall.

    I get to uncheck all the languages I don't need without futzing with some freeware that may or may not work. I get to add extra stuff I do want (X11). I get to decide whether to install all the printer drivers (this time I did, since you never know when you might be out and about and need to print to a specific printer that happens to be available). And I get to uncheck stuff like the iWork and MS Office trials. Sometimes I don't trust their uninstallers to clean up everything they leave behind. :rolleyes:

    I view this as a power user type of thing. The default config is great for the vast majority of users, including some other power users. But I have a few specific preferences that disagree with what Apple preinstalled, so I'm gonna take a small amount of time and get it just right for me.
     

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