Reinstalling OS X -- potential risk?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Collider, Jan 11, 2010.

  1. Collider macrumors regular

    Oct 8, 2009
    Hey all, apologies if this is a stupid question.

    I'm looking to reinstall OS X over the next couple of days (mostly, though not entirely, for reasons of fragmentation; I'm going to be deleting a very large number of enormous files, and the Apple website says a good way to defragment after doing that is to reinstall the operating system). Backup isn't an issue, and the time / hassle doesn't bother me in the least... but I'm slightly worried, having done this once before (not long after I got it, so about four months ago) that I risk doing it "too much".

    Notwithstanding whether it's strictly necessary or not, and taking backup and restore issues out of the equation, is there any physical damage to the laptop or the harddrive that can arise from doing an erase/install of the OS twice in six months, or is it just a case of being a lot of work for minimal or no benefit? If it's the latter, that's just fine, but if there's actually a risk of harming my computer by doing this, then that's a different kettle of fish.

    I don't intend to do this regularly or anything of the sort; ideally the file purge I intend to do is going to be a one-time thing, and I won't be doing this again any time in the foreseeable future, so it's not like I'm looking to do this consistently every few months... but, nonetheless, I think it's a good thing to know if doing so is at risk of hurting the harddrive (especially since I am a Windows convert, and relatively computer inept at the best of times, and would like to at least have a basic understanding of how best to take care of my MBP). Hope that makes sense.

    Again, apologies if this is a stupid question. Just trying to figure out what's best for my baby, so to speak.
  2. spinnerlys Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen
    Can you please provide a link for this, as this sounds a little bit extreme.

    Any write process will put stress and wear to the HDD, be it normal activities like opening and saving/editing files or a complete installation of the OS.

    The installation is just more continuous, than most normal activities.

    I don't really see a need for you to reinstall your OS, but that is up to you anyways.

    David Bowie: This is not Windoooows.
  3. mstrze macrumors 68000

    Nov 6, 2009
    I concur that with Apple and OS X...fragmentation isn't as much of an issue as it is with Windows. A reinstall might be overkill.

    Delelte the files and see what happens. My guess: you won't notice any performance issues.
  4. Collider thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 8, 2009
    Sure thing --

    Thanks for the rest of your advice, also. Much appreciate the insight.
  5. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    First off, the article is two years old. Second, most of the article is devoted to explaining why you don't need to defragment—and you don't. What you are clinging to is Apple giving you some options if you want to perform this unnecessary act—and it is unnecessary.

    As was stated by spinnerlys, this is not Windows. Defragging Windows can give dramatic improvements in performance. Defragging your Mac using third-party software will usually result in no measurable difference in performance. MacOS X defragments files automatically. It is not necessary for you to do it.

    If you have that much time to waste, then you would be better served cleaning my apartment.
  6. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    MisterMe, that's mostly true, except for certain larger files. Such as video editing. However video editing files should be on a fast scratch disk anyway.

    Of course, test the backup first before erasing the source.

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