iMac 24" need to clean up and reinstall OS

Discussion in 'iMac' started by snowmaan, Sep 12, 2013.

  1. snowmaan macrumors regular

    Sep 29, 2008
    Sydney Australia
    So, My beautiful 24" iMac has been good to me, but is now slower than a windows 95 laptop.

    500gb HDD, 4GB, latest OS

    In short, I need to clean up the HDD and backup what I need, wipe the lot and do a clean OS install, so I get that lovely as new feeling of everything running buttery smooth when i bought it 4 years ago

    Any ideas of the best way to do this?

    Challenges to overcome:

    1. Can't seem to find files to delete - finder shows most things as being normal files, can't find what I can delete!! Are there any recommended file manager programs I can download to view where movie, image files etc reside?

    How the heck has 500gb been filled up? I just can't figure out where temp, video, music files etc are sitting. I checked the usual spaces, temp, downloads, etc

    2. My external HDD (where my iPhoto directory file is located, gives an error) can't copy files to it, or open the iphone file to view files - Can't open the HDD at the moment to recreate the issue, will do in the morning

    3. Whats the best way to "wipe it all" and put it back, and will this give me that new iMac feeling I used to enjoy so much?

  2. blueroom macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
    Install the latest OSX that's compatible with your Mac and restore from a Time Machine backup.
  3. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    More RAM might help.
    Open Activity Monitor after a typical day of usage and go to the System Memory* tab and look for Page Outs and Swap used and report back.

    If you want to do a CLEAN INSTALL, you do not need to delete files beforehand, as the ERASING/FORMATTING of the HDD will do that for you.

    To find out, where you storage capacity is being used, you can use the following free applications:
    Maybe try a combination of several, if you still can't find the "missing" capacity.

    Have you checked Finder > select external HDD >> GET INFO >>> Format and Sharing & Permissions yet?

    Depends on your Mac OS X version, therefore if you use the following search terms with the www search engine of your choice, you will get those guides on how to do a clean install: "mac os x clean install (snow leopard)/(lion)/(mountain lion)".

    Also consider putting an SSD into the iMac for that feeling you miss. iFixIt has many guides on how to do this on 2009 iMacs.
  4. snowmaan thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 29, 2008
    Sydney Australia
    Back looking at doing this in the next few days.

    If I restore from a time machine backup, won't I be bringing back all the junk files filling up the HDD now?

    Been trying to work out what files to delete + backup still and really finding this a difficult thing to do.

    Can you simply copy all files onto an external HDD then wipe the lot and drag and drop everything back I wonder? I am amazed this is so difficult to be honest.

    On my wife's Windows 8 laptop, I can find all files by easy folder location, copy to backup and restore. It's a nightmare doing it on the Mac due to the "simplified" file system

    Also I downloaded the new OS update from memory, so not even sure I have a disc to restore from to start fresh, but not 100% here

    I don't want to miss anything (family photos, docs etc) or else my head will be put on a appreciate any additional thoughts here.
  5. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    All your OS files (read: junk) will also be backed up with TM.

    I suggest you use something like SuperDuper, exclude all files and only include files that you need.

    4GB of RAM is obviously not enough. You should be going for at least 8-16GB of RAM.

    Go for an SSD and it'll be like a new system entirely.
  6. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603


    Apr 29, 2005
    San Francisco
    Upgrade the machine to an SSD. The install takes some patience but really isn't too tough. Also you can get 6Gb of RAM into that thing.

    My 24" is still plugging away.
  7. Tumbleweed666 macrumors 68000


    Mar 20, 2009
    Near London, UK.
    My 24 inch, now with a happy relative as his first Mac, got a real boost by a fresh install of Mavericks. Didn't need to restore any data to it though, really there is no short cut to that than working through your files and not restoring junk.
    For apps you may be better off noting any serial numbers needed, and then reinstalling from scratch odds are you might omit half of them.
  8. Phildo macrumors member


    Nov 14, 2011
    Perth, Western Australia

    Fit an SSD. Makes a heap of difference.

    Put the existing hard drive into an external casing and use that for backups.
  9. snowmaan thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 29, 2008
    Sydney Australia
    tumbleweed666, lucky you didn't need to keep all your data.

    My 500gb HDD is full, so I need to deal with that first. I searched manually, as best I could and I can't find 500gb of files to begin with!!

    I'll look into SuperDuper and see if I can get that to help sort out these files.

    Thanks guys for the help and ideas too, that's great!

    So, my 24" iMac is a bit older (probably 4-5 years or so), so I'm not sure if:

    1. It would take an SSD drive
    2. I think it's at it's maximum ram capacity (it said max 4GB when I bought it, unless you can go above that now?)
  10. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603


    Apr 29, 2005
    San Francisco
    First of all, get Disk Inventory X. It will help you figure out what is taking up all the space on your HDD.

    As for your other questions:
    1. Yes, it can. Many of us have done it already.
    2. The stated max is 4gb, but you can put in 6gb and it will be recognized.
  11. snowmaan thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 29, 2008
    Sydney Australia
    Thanks a lot gimme.

    I'll look into the drive and application.

    Which model did you get for the SSD drive, and was it easy to install yourself? I got blank looks at the Apple store today and mixed messages around which model will work in the 24" iMac I have

    Budget is running out for the drive but I may be able to swing it if I can find the right one at the right price...

    (Can't wait to have my beautiful, speedy iMac back)
  12. DLary macrumors member

    Oct 21, 2005
    I put a 120gb OWC Mercury Electra 3G with a NewerTech Adapata Drive in my wife's 24" iMac. Total cost was about $130. The speed increase was noticeable. I also maxed out the memory at 6gb. You could get a cheap external USB drive enclosure and use the old hard drive for more storage capacity.
  13. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603


    Apr 29, 2005
    San Francisco
    I put a Samsung 830, 128gb drive in mine. It was about $160, though that was about 2 years ago.

    I highly recommend going 256gb if you can. Even though I have external storage like crazy, my internal only has about 30gb available and thats as low as I'll let it get.

    What iMac do you have exactly? I have the Late-2007 model, and installing the SSD only requires a suction cup (I used my loofa) and a few torque screwdrivers and a little patience. Really helps to have a second set of hands to avoid having to unplug the monitor (just tilt it up and have someone hold it).
  14. snowmaan thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 29, 2008
    Sydney Australia
    Thanks gimme


    24" imac, 2.8ghz, intel core duo 2
    4 gb 800 mhz ddr2 sdram
    ATI radeon HD 2600 pro 256mb
    OS X 10.8.3

    Bought around mid 2008, and was top of the range at the time
  15. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 30, 2008
    USA (Virginia)
    Your specs match my beloved iMac, which is an:
    "Early 2008" 2.8 GHz Core2Duo (bought May, 2008)
    Model A1225
    EMC 2211

    I have 6 GB of 800 MHz PC2-6400 RAM (a 2 GB and a 4 GB stick) and it's great. Have also installed an SSD in the main HDD bay, and a new HDD into the optical bay (by removing the DVD drive), combined as a DIY Fusion drive. So, it can be done. Not sure I'd all it "easy," but if you are the patient, methodical type and you read the guide at, it's definitely doable.

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