Clean install w/out external drive?

Discussion in 'OS X Mavericks (10.9)' started by Smileyguy, Oct 30, 2013.

  1. Smileyguy macrumors 6502

    Nov 29, 2004
    I guess the title says it all. I am broke and can't afford an external disk right now. Can't find a friend with one I can borrow either (though my life is not as bad as that makes it sound, lol)

    A friend once told me there was a way to perform a sort of alternative to a clean install by creating a new user account, moving key files to that, then wiping the old account.

    I was also wondering if it might be possible to partition my hard drive, move key files to one partition, then wipe everything on the other.

    The key things I need to keep really are a 30GB iPhoto library and 20GB of music, then some documents. Applications etc can be downloaded again.

    I'm running a 2010 MBP with 250GB HD and 4GB RAM. I've never cleaned it up and thought installing Mavericks would be the ideal chance to do that.

    Thanks in advance,

  2. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Sure... you can do that. It is not without risk though, if the stress of the OS install is too much for your drive and it dies you will lose everything. That said, here is what you can do.

    Shrink your existing partition down following this guide. Then add a new partition following this guide. Make it big enough to hold your data.

    Then just drag the music, pictures, and documents folder contents over to a new folders on the new partition.

    Now go to the App Store and download and install Mavericks. Once it is done it will have created a new Mavericks recovery partition. Boot to that partition by doing holding the command-r (both keys at once) boot. That will take you to a recovery screen. From the screen start Disk Utility and erase Macintosh HD only. Quit Disk Util then click install OS and wait for the OS to DL and install.

    At the end of the install you can create a new account and login to it. Now just drag your data from the other partition back to music, pictures, and documents folders in your new account.

    When finished use Disk Util to remove the new partition and resize the main partition back to full size.

    This operation ends up with you downloading the 5GB Mavericks install twice, but it will get you what you want with no external drives used.
  3. smithrh macrumors 68020


    Feb 28, 2009
    When I was having kernel panics on my iMac, Apple was nice enough to remind me about Internet recovery.

    However, I don't know how it decides which OS to install on the disk. My guess (and this is just a guess) is that it installs whatever it currently sees on the disk - but I could be wrong.

    If done right, this would be only 1 download, and a guaranteed clean install. But booting over the Internet isn't especially quick. Does work though.

    Yes, it got rid of my kernel panics. :^)
  4. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    The way it works is if you do a command-r boot to recovery it will reinstall whatever you have currently installed. So if you are on Mountain Lion and do recovery it will reinstall Mountain Lion. But if you are on a newer (2011+) machine you can do Internet recovery with a command-option-r boot and it will bypass all that and give you the OS your machine came with.

    Good article here that explains it.

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