Archive/Install or Erase/Install?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Simple Living, Jan 1, 2012.

  1. Simple Living macrumors member

    Nov 26, 2007
    Forgive my lack of knowledge in this. Hopefully I'll use the correct terminology. I'm not completely useless in this area but it's not one I excel in.

    I would like to perform a complete reinstall on my iMac (OS X) so it's like a fresh, out of the box, computer. Fresh start. Secure Erase.

    All of my necessary documents have been saved. I would, however, like to save all of my computer settings, bookmarks and iTunes library, if possible.

    I saw the two options to reinstall my computer. I read that Erase and Install doesn't perform a Secure Erase. I definitely want everything erased securely and permanently. I know an Erase and Install wouldn't save my settings, etc., so it seems that an Archive and Install is what I need to do?

    I understand that it will save my settings, bookmarks and even my iTunes library but will this kind of reinstall be clean with everything else erased securely and permanently? Also, once I'm sure I have all the files I need from the archived file, can I just drag and drop it into the garbage can and securely erase it? (Meaning all that information will be permanently deleted and the space on my system regained?)

    I don't mind having to redo all the software updates, etc., I just want a clean, fresh start and, if possible, to save my iTunes and settings.

    Also, I remember being at the Apple Store and seeing a tech hitting a couple of buttons that brought up a white (DOS style) screen with all of the computers activity and history. How do I do that?
  2. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    Why do you need to do this? An archive and install probably would be the easiest if you are not experiencing any issues currently and just want a new root system. Secure erase is not necessary unless you are reselling or giving your Mac to someone else as you will eventually rewrite information over the blocks that used to hold your data.
    The tech was probably booting into single user mode. Boot holding cmmd-s but if ou don't know unix you probably should not muck about. You can also see all processes with Activity in Utilities or open a shell and type:
    top -a
  3. Simple Living thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 26, 2007
    Thanks Derbothaus. So, running an Archive/Install will leave me with a Previous Settings file that I can securely delete once I'm sure I have everything I need from it? And I delete it just by dragging it to the trash can and emptying securely?

    From what I understand, the difference between the Archive/Install and Erase/Install is that the Archive/Install imports my current settings, bookmarks and iTunes library (in theory) as well as creates the Previous Settings file. Once that file is deleted, it's just like an Erase/Install except that the previous settings, bookmarks and iTunes have been imported.

    Is that right?
  4. boraxatude macrumors member

    Mar 17, 2011
    I do an erase/install every couple of years. It really does give you back a snappier machine and allows you to get rid of all the junk files that accumulate. The best setup is to have a 2nd drive dedicated as your OS/Applications drive (like as SSD) which allows for a quick and painless erase/install without touching your own user folder that contains all your documents/files.
  5. AppleNewton macrumors 68000


    Apr 3, 2007
    1 Finite Place
    They were probably running in single user mode or verbose mode that just gives them the they info behind the spinning logo at start to show how the system is responding.

    Not much you have to worry about, but to get the best performance you can drag and drop your iTunes library folder to an external drive and do either the archive and install or ease and install then just drop the iTunes library back onto your macs main hard drive and you can pick up where you left off.
    You may even benefit from getting a larger external drive and just keeping the libraries off the main internal Mac drive to possibly keep the main drive optimal in performance.
  6. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    What system are you using? Those install methods kind of went obsolete.

    If you have something slowing down your system you need to find the problem and deal with it. Reinstalling the system might get you there, if you're lucky, but it's like replacing an engine because the spark plug was bad.

  7. boraxatude macrumors member

    Mar 17, 2011
    I should have clarified specifically why I always do a clean install every couple of years or whenever a new OS is released: As a final cut pro user for many years, the first thing anyone will ask you if you come across issues with the program, after a new OS has been installed, is: "Did you do a clean install?" In the vast majority of cases (unless there is some kind of hardware failure, memory corruption etc) this will solve the problem (at least in my experience)... Whether or not it is necessary with Lion... I really don't know. I just continue to do it out of habit.
  8. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    Then backup your user files to extra HDD. Boot to OS X disk or disc and re-format your hard drive. Install OS X fresh on new partition. Create account with same name as previous system (helps minimize permissions issues) Move over your user files. Patch everything, repair permissions and you are done.
  9. Puevlo macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2011

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