OS X installation - upgrade vs fresh

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Cimmerian, Aug 22, 2009.

  1. Cimmerian macrumors newbie


    Aug 23, 2008
    Hey Guys,

    I have a question regarding new OS X installation such as Snow Leopard. Hopefully I am posting this in the right forum section because it may be a switcher type of question. What is the best way to install an OS upgrade like Snow Leopard, fresh or upgrade?

    This will be my first OS upgrade since switching back to Mac. In the PC world, I personally found it was best to reformat and install a fresh copy of windows to avoid problems. I will assume both types of installation will be fine but I would like to know what your recommendation is.

    Thanks for advice and help.
  2. designgeek macrumors 65816


    Jan 30, 2009
    I'm not exactly sure what to do, I'm trying to make the decision myself but I'll probably upgrade.
  3. gr8tfly macrumors 603


    Oct 29, 2006
    ~119W 34N
    I've had no problems doing the upgrade route. If you do end up with an issue, you can always to an archive and install later.

    My plan is to: make sure I have a current Time Machine backup; a bootable image backup; then verify the target volume (permissions and disk). Once that's all done, I'll do the upgrade. If there's an issue, I'm covered. ;)
  4. RonCarr macrumors regular


    Sep 12, 2007
    Wirelessly posted (iPhone: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 3_0_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/528.18 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile/7A400 Safari/528.16)

    I like to do fresh installs myself. I try to do one once a year to gain back some space I may have lost while installing and uninstalling things. Doing the upgrade would be just fine though if you didn't want to go thru the trouble of backing up your files and reinstalling all of your software.

    As for boesky's comment, just ignore that. It was completly uncalled for.
  5. Cimmerian thread starter macrumors newbie


    Aug 23, 2008
    I will take your advice and try installation via upgrade.
  6. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    Some people try to make this hard; it is not. Accept the default. The default is Upgrade. Apple is not going to trick you into messing up your machine. Archive & Install and Erase & Install are intended to extraordinary circumstances. An OS upgrade is not an extraordinary circumstance. Choose simple Upgrade, the default.
  7. LoganT macrumors 68020

    Jan 9, 2007
    I did a fresh install because my computer was running kind of slow. If you have any problems with your computer you should probably do a fresh install.
  8. Kat King123 macrumors regular

    Kat King123

    Jan 3, 2009
    just so you guys know, an upgrade replaces ALL system/application files the only reason why most people do a clean install is because there hard drive might be fragmented or corrupt because of partitioning to many times etc and people like to do clean installs because they think it is a better option or will make there computer faster when in reality it most likely wont
  9. mathcolo macrumors 6502a

    Sep 14, 2008
    For this time around, I think I'll be doing a clean install. Simply from using my computer tons, there's a lot of junk on it that I really don't need. By doing a clean install, it forces me to put only the important stuff back.

    Also, the possibility of error during the installation is significantly reduced by doing it that way.
  10. fletch33 macrumors regular


    Dec 11, 2008
    Under a Rug
    i always choose a fresh install. whether or not upgrade replaces everything or not there are many things i have installed that i no longer use and it helps me to clean up my system.

    i dont think you can even argue that a fresh install will prevent any possible problems over upgrading. not saying upgrading works most of the time but i have read may threads where it didnt or problems arise after an upgrade.

    when i used windows i did a fresh install at minimum every 6 months and had it down to a science and usually was completely back up and running like nothing changed in under 3 hours.

    however with OS X i have only fresh installed when upgrading OS to a new version like Panther to Tiger to Leopard etc and again have this down to about 3 hours at most.

    my system if your interested:

    1. i keep my files very organized so when it comes time for a fresh install i throw my Docs, Movies, Music, Pics, Mail, Mail downloads and prefs folders on an external drive. this is the longest part and i usually just do it before i go to bed. nice to have anyway and i rewrite these on the dedicated external i use the next time i do it. i just have an old 250GB external that i dont use for anything else. i do have Time Machine setup on my Apple Extreme but i prefer this method anyway.

    2. back up my 1Password to external

    3. transfer my iWeb file to external

    4. take a snapshot of my apps folder so that i can quickly reference all the apps i had and not miss any. i also keep all my apps installation files on the external on the extreme so it is easy to put them back

    5. install fresh OS X

    6. copy everything i need back and use my Mobile Me account to sync back all my bookmarks, contacts, mail accounts, keychains, etc... i am a HUGE fan of Mobile Me

    thats it. it may sound like a lot but it doesnt take that long and i like know that i have a fresh install and reduce any chance of having an issue and having to do it all over again
  11. dmbfan41 macrumors regular

    Nov 3, 2008
    regardless of OS whenever I update/install a new one I always go fresh...

    for OSX i install the OS, setup the internet connection, install every update, install ilife and office, get all the updates, install and setup all my other apps and dashboard, then move over all my files and do the file associations
  12. sputacus macrumors regular

    Feb 12, 2009
    Duncanville TX
    Being new to Mac, I've been reading about this issue a lot. From what I've read, I have reached the same conclusion as you. While one is certainly free to do an Archive/Install or Erase/Install as much as his heart desires, such measures are rarely indicated - they are called for as a last resort on a system that is having problems in the first place.

    With everything I've installed on my system thus far, it has remained solid in performance and stability. I have not seen any compelling evidence that an Archive/Install will be better than an simple upgrade at keeping it that way.
  13. macjunk(ie) macrumors 6502a

    Aug 12, 2009
    hey guys..got a question here..If i choose to do a fresh install, will I be able to recover my applications from a time machine backup (which was taken in Leopard) ? Not likely I guess..
    So if i do a fresh install, and I install all the apps again, that means that I have to download all the updates to my apps again!!
    So I guess I will choose the upgrade option....
  14. RonCarr macrumors regular


    Sep 12, 2007
    Actually most of your applications will work just as they did before. You may run into one or two that you have to reinstall. I did a restore from a backup and everything worked just fine, including Photoshop.
  15. Saladinos macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2008
    Upgrade should work fine. This isn't Windows, you know.
  16. Dale Cooper macrumors regular

    Dale Cooper

    Sep 20, 2005
    Upgrading: what about printer drivers, languages etc?

    I usually do a clean install when I get a new mac, to avoid having all the extras that I don't use. But when I got my new mac this summer, I postponed the whole thing until I got SL.

    Can I just do an upgrade to 10.6, deselecting all the optional installs I don't need, and at the same time get rid of the old optional stuff (printer drivers, languages etc) from 10.5?
  17. fletch33 macrumors regular


    Dec 11, 2008
    Under a Rug
    well as i mentioned above "most" of the time an upgrade works as it should and a fresh install prevents any upgrade issues.

    i guess that wasnt enough info so lets post a few of the many, many, many, many posts about upgrade issues since it looks like we need a refresher course.

    i want to repeat again that i am not against upgrading and also believe it is the way of the Apple however we still run into

    here- this one apples admits update caused the problem.

    anyway you can find them all day long on the web and as you can see by the links above these are not noobs having problems however there are a lot more of those posts.

    upgrade or fresh or archive and install its up to you. i just wanted to again mention that you can't go wrong with a fresh and your chances are good with an upgrade.


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