Best way to backup and totally reinstall everything?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by josephibb, Feb 5, 2009.

  1. josephibb macrumors newbie

    Feb 5, 2009

    I'm running an iMac (one of the all-white, 1.83 GHz C2D machines, with 512MB RAM) and i've noticed in recent months it's become outrageously slow, i have no idea why but it's just horrendous.

    I'd really like to start afresh with a clean install of Leopard, but only if it will make a difference. Currently i'm finding that even with 2 apps open (eg Mail and Safari) there is serious lag now and again, and sometimes things lock up completely. Is this just a bloated OSX install or signs the computer is dying?

    Anyway, i have a 180GB backup drive currently used for Time Machine, but if i reinstall then restore from that drive, won't it just restore all the bloat?

    I'm just really stuck, no idea how to fix this mess, or even if it's fixable.

    I'm going to get a MacBook Pro in June, but i cannot wait until then to have a functional computer. :(
  2. Sky Blue Guest

    Sky Blue

    Jan 8, 2005
  3. josephibb thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 5, 2009
    But the computer's speed was fine all the time I've had this computer, until quite recently when it's become absolutely horrendous...? I don't see why I should buy more RAM when I'm buying a MBP in 4 months.
  4. acxz macrumors regular

    Nov 30, 2007
    What I did was pop in the Leopard install DVD, choose Archive and Install and select the option to preserve all my home folders. That way it installed a new System folder (which was the problem as I stupidly used iLeopard to modify some system files) and everything was running up to speed again, without losing any documents, music, videos, applications or settings.
  5. Amdahl macrumors 65816

    Jul 28, 2004
    How much disk space do you have free? Have you run the machine for a period of time almost full?

    Yes, doing a full Time Machine restore from the OSX 10.5 DVD would be a great idea. Make sure it erases/formats your disk. After restore, you'll have a completely up to date, defragmented install.

    MAKE SURE your Time Machine has backed up everything you need, especially Virtual Machines if any. Check that Time Machine doesn't have any folders excluded that you want.

    If the problem still persists after Time Machine restore, you can try an archive & install, and still will have benefited from the defrag.
  6. chainprayer macrumors 6502a

    Feb 10, 2008
    try restoring just apps and docs, not all settings from your TM backup
  7. michaelsviews macrumors 65816

    Sep 25, 2007
    New England
    Now when you do this and everything is back up and running fine, can you go in and delete the Archive? Reason why I ask is to free up space on the HD, not that it would take up much but still, why keep old files or unneeded files on the HD if not needed
  8. hailst0rm macrumors member

    Oct 19, 2008
    You can be quite selective about what you choose to restore from a Time Machine backup. For example I chose not to restore the 'All other files' from my user account as well as applications and the local library folder.
  9. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    First thing is to start "Activity Monitor". It lets you watch what your computer is doing and what applications are doing things. You might have installed an application that wastes computer resources and slows everything down. It also shows you how much free memory have; not having enough memory often causes slow downs.

    Another reason - happened to me - was a hard drive that was close to breaking down. It started with complete unresponsiveness at random times. Got worse over time, then the hard drive crashed. So keep your Time Machine backup up-to-date.

    Just noticed: 512 MB RAM!!! Go to and check out what 1GB or 2GB will cost you. It is dirt cheap, and if you have only 512 MB, then this is very very likely to slow things down. Even for four months of use it is worth it.
  10. Amdahl macrumors 65816

    Jul 28, 2004
    Yes, it will be in a folder called Previous System, with a # if necessary.
  11. michaelsviews macrumors 65816

    Sep 25, 2007
    New England

    Is it better to just wipe everything and start all over or do it like whats mentioned above ?
  12. acxz macrumors regular

    Nov 30, 2007
    You'll get the same end result, but with a clean install you have to back up everything beforehand, format the drive, install, go through the setup assistant, and then manually restore your home folder. It just isn't worth the extra effort, really.
  13. Heb1228 macrumors 68020


    Feb 3, 2004
    Virginia Beach, VA
    This is the way I used to solve problems when I was working on PCs. Its rarely necessary on Mac OS X. I haven't ever done a reinstall on my machine. I've had it now for over 5 years, have done standard upgrades to OS X (not archive and install) from 10.2 to 10.3 to 10.4 to 10.5.

    The while "my computer is running slow so I'll wipe the drive and get it running right again" thinking should have been left behind when you left Windows behind.

    I can almost guarantee your problem is your memory. 512 hasn't been enough since 10.3. At 10.4, 1GB was almost necessary and with 10.5 I wouldn't run it with any less than 2GB, unless you want to restart your computer everyday.

    But, like the advice above, start with Activity monitor and see if anything is using the processor during your slowdowns.
  14. pprior macrumors 65816

    Aug 1, 2007

    RAM is dirt cheap. Putting in more may speed up your computer so much you might decide not to upgrade for awhile longer.

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