Help me rebuild my system from scratch

Discussion in 'macOS' started by funkahdafi, Nov 4, 2010.

  1. funkahdafi macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2009
    Location:
    Planet Earth, Old World
    #1
    Hi,

    I want to completely re-install Mac OS X on my Mac Pro for several reasons:

    The system is old. I started it with 10.4.1 and upgraded it to 10.5, then to 10.6. On the way there, the system has been moved from an old Mac Pro to a new one.

    The system has seen a lot of playing around with, tons of installs (incl. drivers) and by now is simply a grown mess with a lot of problems that I can't seem to fix nor want to fix.

    So - I want a fresh start. And I need some help planing this.

    Back in the days of 10.5 you had the option to "archive and install", which would simply move the old system to a folder and install a baby fresh Mac OS X on the system. You could then go ahead and move things like applications, the user library and what not from the archived location back to the new install, one by one, piece by piece, in a very controlled fashion.

    With 10.6 that option is no longer available.

    So the question is: How do I erase and install Mac OS X 10.6 while retaining my old stuff? I know how to do the fresh install, the point is more like how do I keep and import old stuff...

    How good is the migration assistant? I figure you can use it to import old stuff from a time machine backup.

    In the end, I want a fresh install and be able to import things like preferences/library for certain applications (that I don't want to rebuild from scratch, like a huge Plex Media Center install) - without reimporting things that are causing problems on the current install.

    Any ideas, help.... much appreciated!

    Thanks!
     
  2. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5

    wrldwzrd89

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2003
    Location:
    Solon, OH
    #2
    In 10.6, if you reinstall the system normally, it automatically does an enhanced Archive and Install. The enhancement is that your update level (10.6.whatever) is automatically preserved, too. This obviously saves a lot of time when doing this kind of job.

    If you elect to Erase and Install, and have a backup (either a bootable clone and/or a Time Machine backup), you can use those to perform selective restores of what you need. Time Machine makes this process a little easier. I do NOT recommend Migration Assistant for your type of job.
     
  3. funkahdafi thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2009
    Location:
    Planet Earth, Old World
    #3
    I keep hearing this and I am not so sure about it. What it will do is install over your current installation. Wouldn't this keep all your settings, preferences, and thus all the stuff that currently causes my problems? This can't really be compared to a clean, fresh install.

    Why wouldn't you recommend Migration Assistant?

    Would my old time machine backup be recognized by a fresh install so that I could do selective restores from it?

    Thanks
     
  4. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5

    wrldwzrd89

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2003
    Location:
    Solon, OH
    #4
    You are spot-on there.

    Migration Assistant isn't selective enough for what you're trying to do.

    Yes and no... it'll be partially recognized. What that means is you can restore stuff from it, but if you try to back up to it, it'll insist on doing a full backup because it (mistakenly) thinks that everything has changed. There is a way to fix this, see instructions here.
     
  5. funkahdafi thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2009
    Location:
    Planet Earth, Old World
    #5
    Ok, but I figure to make OS X recognize it as a time machine source, I'll have to tell it to use that volume for time machine, and it would then try to start backing up to it, thus overwriting it's content....?

    Or would I just go to Disk Utility, chose restore from time machine from there, point it to my time machine volume and then be able to select the stuff I want restored?

    Hmmmmm.....
     
  6. hoopster macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2010
    #6
    I did this with my MacBook a couple months ago what I did which worked like a dream was, I backed up my system with super duper to an external HD then booted from a 10.6 dvd and erased my hard drive and then reinstalled 10.6. At that point you could boot from the external HD and drag and drop what you want to the internal or just boot from the internal and drag and drop what you want back from the extrenal. Now that won't keep your system prefs but will keep what apps and files you still want. Don't know if this will work for you or not but it's an option.
     
  7. funkahdafi thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2009
    Location:
    Planet Earth, Old World
    #7
    That sounds like a perfect plan and I think I am going for it. Thank! :)

    However, before I create yet another backup, I still want to figure out first whether and how I can use the time machine backups for that.

    Any thoughts, anyone?
     
  8. macrem macrumors 65816

    macrem

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2008
    #8
    I've done this with Time Machine backups. After a clean install of the OS & installing 3rd party apps by grabbing the latest versions online, for my files I just grabbed them from the latest TM backup being careful not to grab cache files or settings. So I grabbed music from the backup at the level of folders with artist names and dropped them into my newly created iTunes Library, for instance. I grabbed Documents from my backup and dropped them into the Documents folder. Same with Photos, etc. I did not grab anything from backup for the Library folder. Except for my custom .bashrc, I did not copy over dot files.

    I exported my browser bookmarks and email settings and imported those afterwords, but otherwise had to re-enter passwords, etc. manually as needed while visiting websites that require login.

    It's taking longer to describe it than doing it ;-) But the result is a really clean OS. Perhaps it's not really necessary, though. Old settings, for example, take very little space and there is no performance hit if you leave them so it's being a bit A.R. to do it this way...
     

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