Switcher Q: Installing programs; Do I need to format every 6 months like windows?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by prayforsnow, Nov 4, 2005.

  1. prayforsnow macrumors newbie

    Nov 4, 2005
    Hi all,

    Admin: feel free to move this post if its on the wrong forum

    I have had my powerbook for about a month and after only having owned windows pc's before hand I can now really see what all the fuss is about.

    Anyway onto my question. Hope someone can give me advice.

    On my windows machine I was always aware of what programs I installed as I am sure you know windows tends to grind to a halt as you install more stuff. About every 6/12 months I used to do a format to get a fresh install of xp. Anyway so on my new mac im installing loads of cool programs and hacks like frontrow and I just wondered whether maintenance is necessary on the mac like the pc? Will os x slow down and need a fresh install or does the difference in coding and that it is based on unix mean this is not a problem and as long as I repair permissions every now and again things should run nice and smooooth

    Thanks for your help
  2. eva01 macrumors 601


    Feb 22, 2005
    Gah! Plymouth
    i haven't formatted a HD in years for a Mac, only when i really break something or just because i want to.

    no need to really
  3. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    Only once that I can remember since about 1988 on any of my machines I've owned over the years.

    Woof, Woof – Dawg [​IMG]
  4. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    I've only been using OS X for about 4 months now, but I'm *extremely* impressed with how most applications install/uninstall. (I'm talking about the packages where you just drag 'em to your Applications folder to install, or drag 'em from the Applications folder to the Trash Can to uninstall). I'm not so much a huge fan of the Mac applications I run into that use a regular Windows-like installer (because I don't know every thing that it's doing behind the scenes), but I'm still a newbie and assume that there is a purpose for these types of installs.

    There's no central "registry" that's loaded into memory that gets bloated from keys that don't get uninstalled when you remove a program, and when you drag an application to the Trash Can to uninstall it, it seems to remove pretty much everything. (i.e. no random DLL's and crap laying around like Windows)

    prayforsnow, wait until you get your NEXT mac system. If you hook your new box up to your old box via a firewire cable, the new box can copy over all of your data *and* applications. No way in heck Windows XP would ever be able to pull that off. New Windows box = you can use a wizard to copy your Documents and Settings folder over, but you're going to have to reinstall your applications manually.

    OK, nuf rambling from me. Like I said, I'm still a newbie, so maybe there are reasons OS X will need to get reinstalled, but after 4 months with mine, my system is running just as fast as when I took it out of the box. :)
  5. crees! macrumors 68000


    Jun 14, 2003
    Hi there. There's no need to reformat. The only time I do is when Apple releases a major upgrade to the OS (ie, 10.3 -> 10.4). I do that just to get rid of "junk" and have a fresh install of everything. The best thing is if you have a spare harddrive you can clone your system over to the external. Then when your system is clean for the new OS all you do is use Migration Assistant to copy your documents over. It can also copy your system preferences and programs if you want.

    But, that's just me. There's no need to even do all that.. just a simple Upgrade/Install will work.

    So, no need for any of what you mention unless your hacks seriously mess up your system.

    Plus when you install new software your harddrive is automatically optimized. When I install software I close all programs.

    One thing you might want to invest in is more RAM. I don't know your current set up but my PB has 1.5GB RAM. If you can afford it, get more. It definitely helps!
  6. yenko macrumors 6502a

    Aug 29, 2005
    I haven't formatted/reinstalled since I've been using OS X. You should, however, run fsck and repair permissions every now and then. Although I must admit that's more of a routine rather than a necessity. :p
  7. FoxyKaye macrumors 68000


    Jan 23, 2004
    Livermore, Terre d'Ange, Bas Lag, Gallifrey
    Another thing you won't have to do is defragment your hard drive.

    But no, I concur with what others have said. The only times I've ever reformatted my HDD were:

    * Big, huge, screw-ups. Something that really messed up permissions, or some fluke that irreparably destroyed some part of the drives' file structure (has happened twice in four years).

    * Because I want to, or I'm changing uses for the system. I did this on my old B/W when it went from my everyday machine to a Web server. I reformatted and installed a minimal version of Tiger without all the extra files I'd use in everyday use.

    I actually didn't bother re-formatting when I upgraded from Panther to Tiger - just kept going with the new OS until I repurposed my old machine. For a while I had a really long log file in Software Update, which was kind of neat.
  8. Danksi macrumors 68000


    Oct 3, 2005
    Nelson, BC. Canada
  9. efoto macrumors 68030

    Nov 16, 2004
    Cloud 9 (-6)
    I never formatted when moving from Panther to Tiger either. There were numerous threads here at MR giving pros/cons for a format and for AI but I chose AI because it was that much easier in the longrun. Worked wonders and I have never looked back. Mac is just that easy, so nice :)
  10. wordmunger macrumors 603


    Sep 3, 2003
    North Carolina
    Installing a lot of hacks like you say you do will probably get you into trouble when you upgrade the entire OS. At that point, you'll want to do a clean install. Otherwise, it's generally not necessary unless you really get into the hacks.
  11. Crikey macrumors 6502

    Jan 14, 2004
    Spencer's Butte, Oregon
    Heh. When I bought my G4 tower, it had 10.0 installed but came with the CD for 10.1; I installed 10.1 right over the top of 10.0 and it worked great. Then 10.2 came out, and I installed it right over the top of 10.1. Then 10.3 came out, and I installed it right over the top of 10.2. This machine is rock solid; it has crashed maybe once since I got it, in 2001 or 2002.

    We're talking just upgrade, not even archive and install. Very, very slick.


    P.S.: I've never ever repaired permissions, either.
  12. efoto macrumors 68030

    Nov 16, 2004
    Cloud 9 (-6)
    The over-the-top installs don't surprise me, but NEVER repairing permissions! Do you only use your computer to surf the web or fold? :p I repair permissions probably once a week, just to keep all the apps happy and such. Whenever an app crashes I usually repair permissions and see that app in the list, post-repair it works again so all is well. I love repair permissions, so much nicer than XP's....umm, yeah :rolleyes:
  13. link92 macrumors 6502

    Aug 15, 2004
    The only time I've reinstalled OS X was when I foo'd up Darwin, just remember: be careful in the command line. Luckily for me it wasn't any major damage, as I knew pretty much what I was doing, just a couple of non-essential libs deleted :( (although I use them everyday, but most people will never use them.
  14. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    Let's see. A cool OS X feature that XP doesn't have... That means it'll be in Vista. ;)
  15. johnnyjibbs macrumors 68030


    Sep 18, 2003
    London, UK
    I run a little program called MacJanitor to run the cron tasks (maintenance). Every once in a while I repair permissions using Disc Utility in the Utilities folder. Other than that I do nothing. My PowerBook came with Jaguar and I've since "upgrade installed" Panther and Tiger. It's now running faster than ever and I've never done a fresh install. 'Nough said.
  16. DaftUnion macrumors 6502a


    Feb 22, 2005
    Shouldn't have to. I started with a fresh copy just because I wanted to...and to see what the setup looked like for os x. But no you shouldn't have to. If your installing a lot of stuff though, go into your applications folder in finder--go down to ultilites, and run the disc program...can't think of the specific name--but go into that click on your hard drive and "repair disc permissions." Good thing to do when your installing new programs.
  17. Bern macrumors 68000


    Nov 10, 2004
    The only time I ever do a reinstall is if I'm upgrading the OS (like 10.3 to 10.4) or if I'm upgrading a major application (like Adobe CS to CS2). Other than that I run Repair Permission after every major update (10.4.2 to 10.4.3) and because my Powerbook isn't always on I run the daily/weekly/monthly tasks via Terminal.
  18. mduser63 macrumors 68040


    Nov 9, 2004
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Like everyone else has said, reformats/reinstalls are generally not necessary on a Mac. Unlike Windows, where every application installs a bunch of DLLs in system folders and installs registry keys, etc, most Mac apps are self contained and act just like any file. No DLLs scattered about, no registry, just one .app file (technically a folder) that can be moved around no problem. That means the system doesn't get all clogged up and bogged down when you install lots of applications. I've got many many more apps on my Macs than I've ever had on my Windows machines and they work great.

    (The only files that are usually outside of the .app folder for an application are .plist files that store preferences. You can search for and remove those when uninstalling an app if you want, but leaving them does no harm.)
  19. redAPPLE macrumors 68030


    May 7, 2002
    2 Much Infinite Loops
    so, does it mean, just UPDATING the OS would be ok?

    e.g. one old g4 has x.3.9 (and this g4 is not the cleanest computer. programs installed, which i don't use no more etc.). i want to upgrade it to x.4. would the performance not suffer?
  20. amac4me macrumors 65816


    Apr 26, 2005
    Congrats on making the Switch. Isn't life more enjoyable??? :D
  21. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    Just a quick side-note on how much I hate clicking Start | Programs on my Windows XP work laptop and seeing two huge-ass menus flying up.

    I so prefer the way that OS X shows the installed applications, or being able to use Spotlight to track one down if I don't want to open my Applications folder. :)
  22. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    Yes, updating is fine. The Mac I'm typing on right this second using started life running OS 9.x. All of the OS upgrades, from 10.0 onwards, have been straight updates; no wiped hard drives, no clean installs. Not even any archive and installs. In fact when I upgraded my hard drive, I cloned the old drive one to the new one and just kept on going. I guess that's not possible with Windows... :cool:
  23. mduser63 macrumors 68040


    Nov 9, 2004
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Yeah, I definitely prefer OS X's implementation too. I use Quicksilver and that makes it even better. This is an area where OS X is more flexible than Windows (as usual). If you really like the start menu, you can always put your Applications folder in the Dock and get the same effect.
  24. savar macrumors 68000


    Jun 6, 2003
    District of Columbia
    I've not reformatted in the 4+ years I've owned a G4. You already know about repair permissions, that fixes most of my problems. Also, whenever you install a major release of the OS, make sure to do an "install and archive" or whatever its called. Basically, its gives you a brand new System folder and zips up your old one in case you need to downgrade later on.

    I've not added much in the way of "hacks" however...but I do have plenty of random stuff and extra hardware.
  25. prayforsnow thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 4, 2005

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