Clean install of Lion without losing apps/data?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Lion (10.7)' started by Statelymwhite, Jun 25, 2012.

  1. Statelymwhite macrumors regular

    Apr 1, 2011
    Hi all,

    I seem to see conflicting information in my searches. Some say that reinstalling Lion will delete all personal files and apps (photos, music, etc), while others say it's possible to reinstall Lion while keeping personal files with the recovery utility (re-boot, hold command-R, select reinstall OS X).

    So which is it? Can I really re-install Lion with the Apple recovery utility and not lose personal data?

  2. iVoid macrumors 65816

    Jan 9, 2007
    If you just reinstall Lion on top of your existing Lion install, it will preserve the current apps and user data. Although if you are reinstalling because you are having problems, the problem may remain.

    If you want to do a 'clean' reinstall, you have to backup all user data and applications and files you'd like to preserver (using Time machine or by coping to another disk). Then you can delete the Macintosh HD partition using the recovery partition Disk Utility, create a new partition, and reinstall Lion from scratch.
  3. Statelymwhite thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 1, 2011
    Yeah, I'm having some minor annoying issues.

    Why do you believe the problem may remain?

    I don't want to buy a backup disc primarily for this, at least at this time, anyway.

  4. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    The problem might remain because you are simply copying back everything that was already there, and some of that may be what is causing the problem.

    Doing a "clean" reinstall of Lion is often a lame attempt at fixing a software problem. Sometimes it "fixes" the problem, often because the reformatting of the disk eliminated a wonky piece of software that was causing problems. Much better to just find the problem and fix it.

    And just reinstalling Lion might work for you if you're lucky. Perhaps there is a corrupted system file or something there that you can eliminate that way. But perhaps it is a deeper problem, and your reinstallation will fail. And all your stuff will be gone forever.

    Without a backup I'd live with the annoyances. You may already be on thin ice.

  5. Statelymwhite thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 1, 2011
    It turns out I have a 500GB Flex drive, which I set-up as a Time Machine disk. I thought I needed a 1TB to match my HDD size, but I'm only using a few hundred GB.

    Anyway, after the back-up, I re-installed the OS over the existing, and it appears to have helped a bit. My boot-up time went from 53 seconds (power button to log-in screen) to 32 seconds.

    If, however, things get wonky again, I'll erase the HDD, re-install cleanly via Internet Recovery, and restore data/apps via Time Machine.
  6. Statelymwhite thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 1, 2011
    For those eagerly awaiting an update, things got wonky again, so I erased the hard drive, re-installed Lion, and transferred apps and files from Time Machine. It was actually a very painless and even pleasant procedure.

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