Clean install - have I forgotten or misunderstood anything?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by annk, Jun 2, 2007.

  1. annk Administrator

    annk

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    #1
    My PB G4 (3 years old) is getting sluggish. I'm going to do a clean install this coming week, and later in the summer I'll add a gig of RAM, so I have 2 gigs.

    Here's my list of what I need to remember BEFORE wiping it all and starting over. Have I forgotten anything important??

    Made a list of all apps I'll need to reinstall

    Export my Camino bookmarks and put the file in my docs folder

    Make a back-up of my home folder (which I'm assuming saves my prefs, my docs, my pictures, my music, the contents of my keychain and my mail)

    PLEASE - does anyone see that I've forgotten something important? My life is stored on this computer. I do regular backups of my home folder, but I've never done a clean install before - not even when upgrading to Tiger.

    Thank you in advance!
     
  2. iMeowbot macrumors G3

    iMeowbot

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    Aug 30, 2003
    #2
    Make sure you have your hands on every serial number you use. It can be really annoying to hunt them down after the fact.

    If would be a good idea to go through Keychain Access and see if any passwords are in there that you've since forgotten. Write 'em down, just in case.

    Consider an archive and install before jumping into the full install thing. It's potentially duplicated work if you later decide that you'd rather have done the full install, but it may also clear out the cobwebs without all the joys of installing everything from scratch.
     
  3. annk thread starter Administrator

    annk

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    #3
    These are all in folders in Mail and my docs folder, so as long as I do a backup of my home folder first, this won't be a problem, right?

    Does this mean that the contents of keychain WON'T be saved in a backup of the home folder, or are you just suggesting that I do this to be doubly safe?

    This is what I did when I updated to Tiger, but I've since been told that only a full reinstall will get rid of all the loose ends that are slowing my computer down. Have I misunderstood this?

    My thinking is that as long as I've got a successful backup of my home folder, which will include all my serial numbers, pics, docs, and music, and have made a note of the 3rd party apps I want to reinstall, I'll be fine. Am I right about this?

    Edit: I apologise for how anal I sound, repeating myself and all, but as I said, my life is on this computer - - I just wanna make sure I've understood everything correctly.
     
  4. iMeowbot macrumors G3

    iMeowbot

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    #4
    It shouldn't be a problem, but it can still be nice to have them all in one place. This is more of a defensive move, just in case anything goes odd with mail and you'd rather get other things done in the meantime.
    the way most people have their Macs set up, everything really should be okay, but you're moving an encrypted file to what will essentially be a brand new user account. It's just so much easier to retrieve the information now, when you're absolutely sure you can get into it.
    Well…maybe, maybe not. If whatever is slowing down your system was known, you could simply take it out and avoid reinstallation altogether. A reinstall of any sort is a stab in the dark. And, if the resources are being hogged by one of the pieces of software you are about to reinstall, there may or may not be any improvement. Archive and install will flush out custom system-level stuff but leave normal apps intact.
    in general, yeah. The redundancy comes in since you say your whole life is stored on there -- just thinking of ways to make getting at your life a little easier, in an attempt to outsmart Murphy :)
     
  5. annk thread starter Administrator

    annk

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    #5
    Hmmmm....thanks for such complete answers. Sounds like I might revamp my plans a bit. I'll do the backup, make an on-paper note of serial numbers and keychain info, then try an archive and install first. If I don't see any real change, I'll follow up with a clean install.

    I see your point about apps possibly hogging resources. If I do end up doing a clean install, I'll reinstall them one by one, to see what causes the problem.

    Thanks. :)
     
  6. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #6
    You can determine this without reinstalling. Use Activity Monitor -- that's what it's there for.
     
  7. annk thread starter Administrator

    annk

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    #7
    Except it seems to be much more of a general sluggishness than something that could be blamed on a specific app. After 3 years, I've got so much on this computer, and I probably wouldn't miss about 60% of it if it disappeared. Problem is, it would take forever to go through everything. My thinking is that by doing a backup, then a clean install, I'll have the luxury of being able to slowly add back what I discover I really miss.

    One thing I'm not able to find out - - where exactly does Keychain STORE passwords? In other words - if I end up doing a clean install, and want to locate the file with all the info to dump it into the new account, where in my backup do I find it??

    Edit: Just found this in one of mad jew's posts.
     
  8. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #8
    You probably wouldn't miss any of it? That's hardly an expression of confidence. If ever there was a solid argument against clean installs, you just made it.
     
  9. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    #9
    One suggestion:

    Since the PB's disk can't be that big, an external drive (not necessarily a notebook-sized one) with sufficient capacity can't be all that expensive, and could store a bootable clone of your current disk/system. Might be well worth the investment. Then there'd be complete confidence in getting back anything missed.
     
  10. annk thread starter Administrator

    annk

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    #10
    About 40% of the content are things I definitely would miss. Images, music, documents, passwords and certain apps, especially. The rest consists of things I've accumulated while trying things out - especially apps - things that were fun once, but that I never bothered to get rid of. This 40% is the part I call my life.

    I would rather say it's an argument for regular, intelligent backups (= backups done with a mind to how I would need to use the backup).

    This is what I ended up doing:

    1 Tried an archive and install; didn't solve the sluggishness at all.

    2 Checked my backups (one bootable, one just done by selecting the folders I wanted, and I followed Apple's instructions on backing up mail and keychain, the latter of which it turned out I didn't need, see next point).

    3 Did an erase and install. Did software update. Synched my keychain, calender and addressbook back (I'd forgotton I had those things syched to another computer via .mac, duh :rolleyes:).

    4 Set up my mail accounts again.

    5 Looked through my mail in the backup, then chose certain important folders to be restored via Backup.

    6 Looked through my list of need-to-reinstall-immediately apps, and reinstalled a very few of them.

    Now, I'm going to wait and see. When I discover I need something, I'll just fire up the external disc and get it. But the machine runs snappier, and it's a nice feeling not to have to navigate through so much. The big remaining job, which I guess I'll do on my vacation, is do a critical look at my images. I'll organise and save the ones I really want on two externals, then decide on a new workflow. Sometimes I use iPhoto, sometimes Aperture / Gimp, depends on if it's just snaps, or real images I want to work with. Clix explained a good workflow somewhere, I'll dig that up and take a look. I had several gigs of images, in no real order :eek: .

    This wasn't nearly as scary as I thought, but having both .mac and Backup made a huge difference.
     

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