Is there a need to wipe and reinstall the OS every year or two?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by mpovolo, Jan 9, 2012.

  1. mpovolo macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2010
    #1
    With windows I did it annually as the system became slow and painful. Lately I have noticed that my Jan 2010 iMAC with Lion has been freezing more often. I normally just put it to sleep and lately it just gets really slow and I need to reboot it, which then fixes everything. I was thinking of wiping it and reinstalling the OS from the factory disks.

    Thoughts?

    thanks
     
  2. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #2
    I never have. I've done a verify and repair permissions before and I've used Onyx to do some cleaning that seems to do a better job than anything I could do sans software. However, the one thing I left behind with Windows and never thought to do again was the annual format and re-install of the OS.

    Others may say different, mine is just my own experience and preference.
     
  3. EthanMiller macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2011
    #3
    Go into System Settings, select Users and Groups. Under the Login Items tab, there may be a long list. Removing the things you don't need will grant you a speed boost upon reboot (because they'll stop automatically launching).
     
  4. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #4
    I agree. I've never done a reinstall, repaired permissions or many of the other maintenance tasks that so many think is necessary. That's one of the reasons I made the switch to Mac from Windows: I got tired of "tinkering" to keep it running well. My almost 4 year old MBP still runs as fast and reliably as it did out of the box.

    Performance Tips For Mac OS X
     
  5. SkippyScud macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2011
    Location:
    USA
    #5
    I've never found a need to wipe the mac OS. It's just inherent in Windows to slow down over time for some reason. Although I find it less with Windows 7.

    Mostly now I just redo my Windows side because I need more space allocated to it (games) and bootcamp does not support expanding the partition after its made.
     
  6. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    Location:
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    #6
    I've owned 6 Mac systems since 2005, and only once have I needed to re-install the OS and that was due to a bad software update on my first iBook. Since then I've upgraded the software but done no reinstalls.
     
  7. mpovolo thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2010
    #7
    thanks everyone

    Do any of you use software to clean things up. I for example had loaded plex and i still see something running in the top bar even though I threw the app in the trash.
     
  8. questioner76 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    #8
    I have this exact same problem with my imac. Plex still shows on the top bar even though I put it in the trash.

     
  9. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #9
    The most effective method for complete app removal is manual deletion:
     
  10. old-wiz macrumors G3

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    Mar 26, 2008
    Location:
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    #10
    On *NIX systems, software that attempts to "clean things up" is trying to automate something better done by hand.
     
  11. Hackfix21 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    #11
    defragging

    Macs do slow down about every 6 months or so as well in my experience - not an exclusive PC problem.

    The thing I've found to make the biggest difference, both in terms of startup speed and general operating speed is defragging.

    I know there's some controversy about this, with many saying "but Macs defrag themselves automatically", and maybe to some extent they do, but after buying and running iDefrag I've seen it for myself. iDefrag shows you the level of fragmentation on your HD (showing nice scary red bits where there's supposed to be fragmentation), and you may say that iDefrag would be biased to try to show you that there's lots of fragmentation even if there isn't (after all it would be trying to justify it's existence), but I really did notice the difference. Startup was somewhat faster (I'd guess probably because the various OS updates over time must also make a bit of a mess of where on the HD your operation system is actually installed), but mostly things like starting up iPhoto was noticeably faster.

    In addition I regularly run Snow Leopard Cache Cleaner for general maintenance (like repairing permissions).
     
  12. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #12
    Not unless there's something wrong, or you have done things to make it slower. If it's running slow, this may help: Performance Tips For Mac OS X
    You don't need to defrag on Mac OS X, except possibly when partitioning a drive.

    About disk optimization with Mac OS X
    You really don't need "cleaner" or "maintenance" apps to keep your Mac running well, and some of these apps can do more harm than good. Most only remove files/folders or unused languages or architectures, which does nothing more than free up some drive space. It will not make your Mac run faster or more efficiently, since having stuff stored on a drive does not impact performance, unless you're running out of drive space.

    Mac OS X does a good job of taking care of itself, without the need for 3rd party software.
    Some people repair, or recommend repairing permissions for situations where it isn't appropriate. Repairing permissions only addresses very specific issues. It is not a "cure all" or a general performance enhancer, and doesn't need to be done on a regular basis. It also doesn't address permissions problems with your files or 3rd party apps.
    There are times when repairing permissions is appropriate. To do so, here are the instructions:
    If repairing permissions results in error messages, some of these messages can be ignored and should be no cause for concern.
     
  13. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

    Staff Member

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    #13
    My experiences have been that with Windows (XP and earlier mostly), yes you need to wipe it on occasion to clean it up or fix one thing or another.

    My OS X experience of the last 6 years hasn't had me have to wipe it even one time for any reason. Every upgrade I've had, Tiger --> Leopard --> Snow Leopard --> Lion, has gone smooth and I've never had to redo any of them.
     
  14. Hackfix21 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    #14
    @ GGJstudios: ok, you seem to know what you're talking about, and I'm not going to pretend to be a techie on these things myself. But on the defragging: I know that many people say Mac does that itself, but I KNOW it made a difference. I saw it. It does.
     
  15. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #15
    It's not just that people say that Mac OS X does it, Apple clearly states the reasons why defragging isn't likely to produce any benefit. Just read the link I posted.

    There is a difference between measured performance improvement and perceived performance improvement. I have no doubt that it may have felt faster, but unless you have some statistics, benchmarks, etc. to quantify the difference, your conclusions are very subjective.
     
  16. forty2j macrumors 68030

    forty2j

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    Location:
    NJ
    #16
    Here you go:
    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1375?viewlocale=en_US

    iDefrag showed you that you used to have fragmentation and you don't anymore. But the I/O system works in such a way that fragmentation is almost always irrelevant.
     
  17. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #17
    I had some problems with the Snow Leopard -> Lion upgrade with some old files gumming up the works until I deleted them, so a fresh Lion install instead of an upgrade is probably a good idea. However I've never needed to do a wipe and reinstall in OS X (I started with Jaguar) and have only done it once with Windows since Win2K. I expect people that install and uninstall lots of applications all the time might get problems, but that isn't the way I use my computers.
     

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