Clean Install (Guidance)

Discussion in 'macOS' started by PS65, Aug 16, 2011.

  1. PS65 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2008
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #1
    I have my original Late 2008 Macbook Pro and it hasn't been formatted since.

    Having recently upgraded to Lion, I personally feel it is a little slower, possibly due to heavy disk fragmentation, thus I have decided to carry out a clean install of Lion.

    However...! I have tried searching for some guidance on the exact procedure, but it gets a little complicated on the following questions:

    1. If, say, I realised I forgot a precious document and assuming I have backed up using Time Machine before my format, could I pull off a specific item/folder through Time Machine post my format?


    2. Are there any files (other than the typical Music, Photos, Documents) that are hidden which I should really consider?

    3. Does anybody know of any good guides/tips I should read before doing this? I have tried searching, but clearly I am not very good at finding content?!

    Thanks for your help!!! :)
     
  2. Mac Skeleton macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2011
    Location:
    CA
    #2
    Hey PS65,

    A fresh install is not always the solution, but often times it is a great way to get rid of any corruption or other issues without a doubt.

    Now you mention disk fragmentation. You can use a software application such as iDefrag http://www.coriolis-systems.com/iDefrag.php
    to defrag your hard drive or at least to better understand and see if it is indeed actually heavily fragmented.

    Secondly, if you do proceed to do a clean install and there are files that you realize post fresh install you needed, you can surely grab them off of your time machine back up. Time machine is great for the overall convenience and user friendliness, but it does NOT capture EVERY single detail. You may often time have to reenter serial numbers of programs etc.

    In addition, keep in mind, a fresh install will delete all of your user preference files. Your "plist" files. So any preferences you have created in the system or in your applications library will be lost. For the most part, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes preference files can become corrupt and this is a great way to clean out the trash.

    Another GREAT way to back up your hard drive, is to use a clone software such as Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper. I prefer SuperDuper http://www.shirt-pocket.com/SuperDuper/SuperDuperDescription.html and this program allows you to actually make an exact bootable clone copy of your current hard drive. And this way, if you are worried about hidden files or other things you may not have considered, you can always access a clone of your current hard drive.

    As long as you have a clean solid back up, Time Machine or SuperDuper, you shouldn't have any worry in doing the fresh install!
     
  3. Quad5Ny, Aug 16, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2011

    Quad5Ny macrumors 6502a

    Quad5Ny

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2009
    Location:
    New York, USA
    #3
    You have a few options, here are 2;


    A.) Replace your old hard drive, use it as a permanent backup and Clean install Lion:

    1.) Pick up a new 2.5" Internal HDD or even SSD
    2.) Download Lion or buy Physical Media
    3.) Backup everything with Time Machine
    4.) Burn Your Own OS X Lion Install DVD or USB Drive (Skip this Step if you purchased Physical Media)
    5.) Swap out your Old HD for the New One (Remember to put your old one in a safe place)
    6.) Clean Install Lion (See Quote at Bottom of Post)

    ____________________________________________________________


    B.) Backup your current install and Clean Install Lion:
    You can skip step One and Five, but I recommend you don't.

    1.) Find or Buy a Backup drive == or > in size than your Current HD (Make sure its empty)
    2.) Download Lion or buy Physical Media
    3.) Backup everything with Time Machine
    4.) Burn Your Own OS X Lion Install DVD or USB Drive (Skip this Step if you purchased Physical Media)
    5.) Clone/Make a bootable copy of your current drive onto the Backup Drive using CCC / SuperDuper
    6.) Clean Install Lion (See Quote at Bottom of Post)



     
  4. PS65 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2008
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #4
    Thanks guys, both really useful!

    Just a quick question, you mention this isn't always the solution? I am seeing my machine become incredibly slow and the spinning beach ball.

    It came with the original Leopard, upgraded to SL, and now Lion. I was thinking this could be the reason for the poor performance?

    Also, just a general tidy up of three years of software install/uninstall abuse?!?
     
  5. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #5
    Those Lion install steps from Quad5Ny's quote from Apple support aren't quite right. That gets you back to Leopard or Snow Leopard and you will still have to reinstall Lion afterwards. Lion is not available on optical media.

    Slow down. Stop in fact. First and foremost, use CCC or SuperDuper to make a clone of your internal drive. This is essential as Time Machine backups sometimes do not work when the time comes to restore. I know this from experience!

    Second of all, if you decide you want to be able to restore some files from that old TM backup, mount the backup volume so that "time machine backups" shows on your desktop. It is best to NOT do this while TM is spinning. I suggest you switch TM off as having a finder window open on a TM volume causes it to take f o r e v e r to do anything. Open disk utility and check the sparsebundle file that contains your backup. If it takes forever or offers to do deep traversal, your file is junk and you may not ever see any of that data again. This is why it is essential to use TM only as a backup of convenience, not your only backup. I recommend CCC over SuperDuper because CCC is donation ware. You aren't asked to pay until it has already worked. CCC makes bootable backups.

    The shortest way to a "fresh install" like situation is simply cloning as cloning copies the OS and user files but not log files and backups of previous OS. Cloning also solves fragmentation.
    Step 1: Get a fresh usb hdd (could be a new SATA drive and a usb to SATA cable).
    Step 2: Clone from your internal drive to the new drive
    Step 3: Swap them.

    If you decide you really need a fresh install of Lion, here are the steps
    Step 1: Get a fresh usb hdd
    Step 2: Make a fresh new TM backup to the new usb drive (may take all day)
    Step 3: Shut down and restart holding Option
    Step 4: Select the Lion recovery partition to boot from
    Step 5: Pick install and when it comes to the point you can migrate data, browse to the TM backup you made in step 2

    An alternative method is to use a bootable Lion USB key either purchased from Apple or one you made yourself from install osx lion.app before it installed and deleted itself.

    Before you go after your Mac with a big hammer, consider that the poor performance could be (lack of) memory related or app related. All our minis only came with 1 gig of RAM and were frequently beachballing under SL. Even before upgrading to 2 gig of RAM so we could install Lion, when we stopped using Firefox, we stopped seeing the beachball.
     
  6. Quad5Ny macrumors 6502a

    Quad5Ny

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2009
    Location:
    New York, USA
    #6
    I know, that's why I included the Lifehacker link on how to Burn/Restore the Lion DMG.

    I also told him to either clone his drive or replace it and keep the old one as a backup (in addition to his time machine backups).
     
  7. PS65 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2008
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #7
    Thanks chaps!

    Sorry for another simple questions! Thus, if I use CCC to copy my entire drive, is there a need to backup anything else? I am using 100gb at the moment, so I will be backing up all my information (including system files?) and therefore if I came to a situation where I, say, forgot my Safari favourites I could looking into the CCC copy and restore my .plist?
     
  8. Quad5Ny macrumors 6502a

    Quad5Ny

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2009
    Location:
    New York, USA
    #8
    Yes.

    If you make a complete/full clone, then it will backup everything and will also be bootable.
     
  9. PS65 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2008
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #9
    Guys, thanks for your help. Did a clean install last night and the machine is running perfectly.

    CCC is an awesome program, albeit I was up until 3am due to me starting it very late!
     

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