Do you reinstall you Mac OS periodically?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by haring, May 9, 2011.

  1. haring, May 9, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2011

    haring macrumors member

    Jan 6, 2011
    I have been using my new macbook pro for a while and I have noticed that it has slowed down. It is not as fast as it used to be...
    Do you think reinstalling the Mac OS would help to speed up the computer again?

    How can I speed up my OS again? Should I uninstall softwares I no longer need?
  2. eternlgladiator macrumors 68000


    Jun 20, 2010
    Twin Cities
    Can you post a little more information? Computer specs? OSX version?
  3. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    This is a terrible idea. I know, I know. A lot of former [and current] Windows users believe in reinstalling their OS as routine maintenance procedure. However, it is a waste of time and often does more harm than good.

    Routine maintenance of MacOS X is largely a waste of time. Run File System Check from the command line in Single User Mode if you get the itch and feel that you must do something. However, if you do nothing, then your computer will give you years of trouble-free service.

    Reinstalling the OS is a radical procedure that should be done only in extraordinary circumstances. It is a last ditch measure for when you have a problem that you can't solve by other means. "My system has slowed down" doesn't even rank.
  4. mjsmke macrumors 6502a

    Mar 2, 2010
    The only thing thats slowed down is your HDD. Delete anything you dont need. Also if you keep alot of data on your HDD its worth thinking about external stroage.

    I use Onyx every month or so to clear caches and check everythings running ok. Its free to download.
  5. mrichmon macrumors 6502a

    Jun 17, 2003
    It can often be the case that users start doing more things concurrently when they get more comfortable with the system. This is things like leaving Safari open, leaving email open, all the little menubar applications and other open windows on the system.

    All these different applications occupy RAM when they are running. If your system is low on RAM then this can manifest as slow performance. Fortunately, RAM is an easy upgrade for most systems.

    Similarly, if you have installed extra plugins to Photoshop these all take additional time for Photoshop to load and initialize. If you have installed some plugins and found that you don't use all of them it can help to selectively remove the plugins that are not useful to your work.

    As another poster pointed out, hard drives can cause slow downs in the system if the hard drive is close to being full. The operating system needs some "spare" space on the hard drive to use for runtime data. Typically, it good to stop writing data to the hard drive when there is ~2 GB or less free on the hard drive as a safety margin. Personally, when I get to less than 10GB free on a boot hard drive I take time to remove unwanted data or upgrade my hard drive to a larger capacity.
  6. haring, May 10, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2011

    haring thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 6, 2011
    Thanks a lot!

    I will download onyx! I will give it a try!

    Thanks a lot!
  7. whooleytoo macrumors 604


    Aug 2, 2002
    Cork, Ireland.
    I've an (almost) 8 year-old PowerMac G5 that I still use every day, and I've wiped and installed it once in those 8 years - and that wasn't absolutely necessary, just trying to solve a sporadic networking problem.

    I wouldn't be surprised if there is some benefit in re-installing - newly setup Macs always feel faster - but it's probably not huge. Even just restarting your Mac every few days, if you don't already, would probably yield a little boost.
  8. jegbook macrumors regular

    Dec 2, 2007
    I like to a do a reinstall of the OS and then use the latest Combo update about once a year. No good reason for it, don't know that I notice any speed difference, just feels like good housekeeping after there have been 5, 6, or 7 dotted updates to the OS.

    I did this back in Feb, but half of the impetus was related to repartitioning my HD to give more to Windows. So, I made sure my Time Machine backup was up to date, used Winclone to backup my Windows partition, then booted off my MBP DVD. Repartitioned my HD and reinstalled Snow Leopard from scratch. Then ran the 10.6.6 combo update, then used Time Machine to restore my user data and applications, then used Winclone to restore my Windows computer to the Windows partition.
    All has worked great since. No noticeable difference in speed one way or the other. I tend not to have any problems anyway, though, and have never had a kernel panic with this Mac in little less than a year.
    (Okay, not entirely true, it did kernel panic when I tried to use the Snow Leopard retail DVD to boot from when I did the rebuild, but that makes sense, 'cus the original SL DVD wouldn't have supported a 2010 MBP).

  9. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

    Feb 13, 2009
    United Kingdom
    The only Macs I have that I reinstall the OS on are my Beige Macs running OS 9 or earlier. No Mac OS X Mac I own gets its OS reinstalled unless im moving to a completely new version (10.5->10.6 was a reinstall, but I never do it between OS versions).
  10. Winni macrumors 68040


    Oct 15, 2008
    Something tells me that you do not work as a system administrator in a Windows environment.
  11. Yaboze macrumors 6502a


    May 31, 2007
    The Garden State
    I typically don't. The only time I do is if I get a new HDD.
  12. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    @OP - Have you installed a bunch of little programs that make the Desktop and Finder do things that a stock installation doesn't do? In my experience, quite often it's these "improvements" that bung things up. Often they "work around" limitations in the OS by doing things in a non-standard way. I've heard them called 'Haxies' 'cause they 'hack' around the OS. Apple doesn't (can't) account for these "non-standard" apps in their OS so over time (and with OS updates) things can start to get bunged up. In this case reinstalling the OS can help, not because the OS needs it, but because it clears these little helper apps out.

    Check your applications folder, and see how many you can remember installing. If there are whack of unfamiliar applications in there, I would suggest they are the problem.
  13. smithrh macrumors 68020


    Feb 28, 2009
    Let's be clear here: there is absolutely no need to reinstall periodically on a Mac.

    Now, this notion started on the Windows side where things could get borked over time - namely, the registry.

    There's no such issue on the Mac whatsoever.

    Reinstalling is a waste of time.
  14. nefan65 macrumors 65816


    Apr 15, 2009
    I agree, no benefit to reinstall. The only time you'd do that, is if you got a new HDD.

    If you think an app caused it, and can isolate it, do Repair Permissions. Or reset PRAM/SMC. Beyond that, if it's really slow, then It's either an APP, or a potential hardware issue.
  15. roadbloc macrumors G3


    Aug 24, 2009
  16. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
  17. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    You misunderstood. The question at hand is not about Windows maintenance. It is about MacOS X maintenance. The best strategy for routine maintenance on MacOS X is to leave it alone. I did not say nor did I imply that this is true of Windows.
  18. Jolly Jimmy macrumors 65816

    Jolly Jimmy

    Dec 13, 2007
    I have done so in the past but mostly it was a waste of time.
  19. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    I've never reinstalled Mac OS X in 3 years that I've had it on this MBP. What would be the point?
  20. HappyDude20 macrumors 68030


    Jul 13, 2008
    Los Angeles, Ca
    I've only done it thrice

    1. The day Leopard came out
    2. The day Snow Leopard out
    3. One day when I thought it would be good maintenance..

    That third time wasn't needed. Disk utility and resetting permissions is usually good enough.

    The only time I plan on reinstalling would be for Lion, should I decide to get it the day it comes out...which I'm thinking I may wait a week or two as they discover all the little inconsistencies within the new software.

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