how often do you format your comp?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by mackaveli, Jul 3, 2005.

  1. mackaveli macrumors regular

    May 1, 2005
    I'm just wondering how often you guys format your comp, cause im backing up my brothers powerbook today so im transferring all the files to my comp then back to his when i format it.

    I was just wondering is that bad for my powermac 2.3? i dont want to format it as i currently dont have any internal/external storage to store my files. the pb is only 60gb while i have the 250 so i cant really use the pb to backup files.

    I got my powermac on may 12-15th around there.

    I really dont want to format and have to backup everything, i know i should have a backup of my files just in case something goes wrong but im confident in my powermac that it wont die or screw for a couple of months. I do however plan on buying an external hd before school starts since i got a part time job im going to save for that and ram.

    Also, should i reset the pram or whatever its called on the powerbook? Also, my brother has a 1gig of ram on the powerbook but it use to show up as 1.25gb of ram now it shows up at 768ram. Is the ram bad ram cause i used the memtest program on mac to test it when it was at 1.25gb and it passed the test and i ran it more then once to be sure. But then for some reason it just changed to 768. If i open it up and reinsert it a couple of times it goes to 1.25 then it lasts a couple of days then it reverts back. Bad memory?

    should have been a different topic but i rahter just post in one topic. Thanks for your time.
  2. mklos macrumors 68000


    Dec 4, 2002
    My house!
    I guess you've confused me a little???/

    I think you're formatting a PowerBook and putting the files from the PowerBook on your PowerMac as back up?

    Is that bad for your PowerMac? Not at all. I'd just make a folder on the desktop of the PowerMac called PowerBook Backup and place everything that you want to back up from the PowerBook in that folder. Then when you're done reinstalling OS X on the PowerBook, drag the entire PowerBook Backup Folder on to the desktop of the PowerBook and place the folders inside that folder in the appropriate places. As far as application backup goes, well most OS X apps you can get away with dragging the folder that the app is in over to another disk and it will still work, though most Apple apps you may be better off reinstalling them.

    I usually reformat my computers twice a year. I ALWAYS reformat my Macs prior to a major OS upgrade (ex. OS X.3 to OS X.4). Its never bad for a computer to be reformatted and then reloaded. Its good to do every once in a while because it gets all of the junk you thought you had out, actually out of your HD. Just make absolutely sure that you have EVERYTHING backed up. Once you format the HD, everything you had in there is basically gone and you'll never get it back without a ******** of work.

    No, there's no reason to reset the PRAM on either computer unless there's an actual problem. When you reformat a computer, there's no need to reset the PRAM as that has nothing to do with the HD itself.
  3. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    I never reformat because it's never necessary in normal circumstances for anything short of a hard drive failure (in which case the drive is toast anyway and the drive you're formating will be the new one).

    I strongly advise against reformatting your hard drives on a prophylactic basis. It provides no tangible benefit and carries substantial risks.
  4. betsbillabong macrumors regular

    Nov 13, 2004
    Super Duper is a great solution

    I have SuperDuper installed on my computer, which backs up my computer by cloning it (to another drive). It's really amazing (and no, I have nothing to do with the company). The way it works is that you clone your current computer (or partition thereof) to a drive (or partition) of the same size. By default when it's done it will automatically reboot from the backup drive, so you can make sure it works. If anything happens to your computer, you can then just clone back from the backup drive (if that makes sense). In fact, a couple of times a year I back up then clone from the backup drive to my computer because it reformats everything and I really notice a speed increase. The GUI is incredibly well-designed, too, in my opinion.

    It actually does some other more complicated stuff, but I just use it for backing up. When my iBook drive bit the dust last year it was amazing to just be able to clone back to the new one in less than an hour without having to re-install system software, applications, etc. I'll never have to do that again, thank god.

    You can find it here:

  5. JeDiBoYTJ macrumors 6502a


    Jun 22, 2004
    Ft. Lauderdale, FL
    kinda confused at what mackiveli is saying, but i think mklos answered what he could well.

    but on the original topic of 'how often do you format'... the answer is never. in my 10-11months of owning a powerbook, i havnt reformatted once. I do, however, believe that I am overdue for one, just due to the fact that ive really used my computer... added and removed programs, shareware, freeware, etc... that might have some residuals taking up space. Although since im almost always using my computer for something, ive never had the time to do it. But at the same time, it doesnt seem necessary... my computer is running fine.... the only reason i would do it would be to free up a couple GB of data...
  6. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Jun 25, 2002
    Gone but not forgotten.
    I've only formatted a drive when I get it as a replacement for another drive or there has been some catastrophe/test that I've been doing. Neither happens often.
  7. beige matchbox macrumors 6502a

    beige matchbox

    Mar 16, 2005
    Oxfordshire, UK
    In the last 10 years of running macs i've had to format 3 or 4 times because i had no other choice,

    more recently i've formatted for each major mac OSX revision, mainly because it's always been a problem free way of doing the upgrade, and it's always nice to have a look at the revised first boot setup :)
  8. iMeowbot macrumors G3


    Aug 30, 2003
    Rarely, only in conjunction with repartitioning. Cloning a disk, then booting from the clone and checking everything out, and finally restoring, is an expedient way to get backed up and defragmented, but it's not something I'd want to do regularly.
  9. Mac_Freak macrumors 6502a

    Apr 22, 2005
    I too usually reformat my hard-drive when upgrading to newer OS. Howerver, when something starts to go wrong with OS, formating HD and reinstalling everything is on top of my list. And the plus of that is that freshly installed OS feels snapier.
  10. ham_man macrumors 68020


    Jan 21, 2005
    I format usually after the X.1 update of any OS. I don't really care if it doesn't help. I just think that it is better to reformat every once and a while. Call me paranoid if you want...
  11. mackaveli thread starter macrumors regular

    May 1, 2005
    thanks for the replies abotu formatting.

    i know it was confusing cause i was just going to talk about formatting but then i just wanted to talk about the ram in my brothers powerbook to see whats up.

    so does anyone have any ideas why it would show up as 1 gig of ram for awhile then change to 512mb? then i would have to reinstall the ram to make it appear as 1gig of ram but then it changes again after awhile?

    is it ultimately a bad stick of ram or could it be something wrong with the powerbook itself?
  12. jwtillema macrumors newbie

    Jul 22, 2002
    Pre-Mac OS X: at least twice per year.

    Since Mac OS X: Never

    God bless Mac OS X.
  13. Steven1621 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 10, 2003
    i find myself with a similar question. i've had my PB for over a year now and it is running fine. i've upgraded to tiger and have installed lots of applications. it doesn't seem that i need to reformat, but i'm sure i could free up some space and maybe make things feel snappier. is it worth my time and effort? i'm really not sure.
  14. mackaveli thread starter macrumors regular

    May 1, 2005
    ^^, i think you should format it if you could cause my brothers powerbook, i did the install on top if it without formating or archiving and it was pretty slow when i was using it but then the desktop was cluttered and looked messy. but after the nice fresh install, it seems to start up 10x faster and run faster to me.

    Well im running a powermac 2.3 so im spoiled i think and i believe everything should be super fast.
  15. eXan macrumors 601


    Jan 10, 2005
  16. xsedrinam macrumors 601


    Oct 21, 2004
    The one and only time I reformatted was with my Pismo when I upgraded to Panther. After 9.x-9.22, then 10.x-10.1.6, then 10.2.x-10.2.8, I figured it would be best to zero out the HD and do a clean install of 10.3. It has worked fine all the way to 10.3.6 without a hitch. I do regular maintenance including Repair Permissions and MacJanitor at least once a week on both the Pismo and the AlPB 15".
  17. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    Okay, you're paranoid. ;)

    Actually, I'm probably even more paranoid than you. I can't stand the idea of potentially losing something important in one of these periodic enforced housecleaning exercises, so I never do them.

    I also can't resist pointing out that most of the performance enhancements being reported by the regular reformatters could probably achieved with far less effort, disruption and risk of catastrophe by simply running a good maintenance utility on a regular basis.
  18. OryHara macrumors regular

    Nov 22, 2004
    San Bruno, CA
    i know im due, but since ive got an 80gig and a 250gig im not sure when ill get around to doing all the backing up i'll have to do so i dont kick my self after
  19. aussie_geek macrumors 65816


    Apr 19, 2004
    Sydney Australia
    Over the 15 years I have owned Macs, I have never had the need to re-format a drive. :)

  20. law guy macrumors 6502a

    law guy

    Jan 17, 2003
    Western Massachusetts
    Only did this between OS upgrades on some windows machines. NEVER on a Mac, even back in pre-OS X. Since 10.3, the OS even "optomizes" the HD for you after installs.
  21. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    But go ahead and admit it, in some way or other, never reformatting your drives makes you feel bad. :p
  22. witness macrumors 6502

    Apr 7, 2005
    I think that the kind of people who regularly format their hard drives and usually the kind of people who need to and those who don't format are usually the kind of people who don't need to.

    I install and build all kinds of stuff regularly, so I like to clean up occasionally with a format and reinstall, but I can imagine that if I only authored some documents/images and browsed the net and wrote emails I would probably never need to do it.
  23. Switzermac macrumors regular

    Jun 28, 2005
    i havent formatted my computer yet ,shes nearly 6months should i?
  24. wdlove macrumors P6


    Oct 20, 2002
    My Power Mac is almost five years old. Don't remember the last time that I did a format. Definitely didn't in January of 2004 when I finally upgraded from Mac OS 9 to Panther. It was done at my local Apple Store. The Mac Genius just did archive and install. It has been purring like a cat.
  25. Maxiseller macrumors 6502a


    Jan 11, 2005
    Little grey, chilly island.
    When I used to run Windows i'd do a format at LEAST once every year - but more often every six months.

    XP seemed to get very bogged down when you installed a few heavy applications.

    Since OSX Ive done one complete format, and not at all since 10.3. I'm very proud - I used to love formatting and getting that "new" feeling all ovr again, but in all honesty my Macs haven't slowed down after over a year of use. Amazing stuff.

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