Time for a clean install of OS X?

Discussion in 'OS X Mountain Lion (10.8)' started by Jazzman25, Dec 31, 2012.

  1. Jazzman25 macrumors member

    Jan 15, 2007
    Before I post, I apologize in advance if this has been answered before, could not find a good answer with the search.
    I've been running essentially the same OS X system for about 5 years. I changed my Mac twice in that period, and each time simply migrated my image from time machine. Same happening with the OS X upgrades (currently at 10.8.2 on my iMac).

    The system however, is starting to show the sign of times. Takes a relative long time to boot and in general not as snappy as it used to be (and I have now 12GB of RAM installed). I've already used Onyx several times to do some cleanups, but my feeling is that it's time to do something more thorough. However, I really hate to lose all my settings and reinstall all my apps from scratch.

    What would be a recommended way of doing this? Would love a good advice (and a link to a guide if possible :)
  2. justperry macrumors G3


    Aug 10, 2007
    In the core of a black hole.
    It's probably 10.8.2 which makes your iMac slower, what year is it?

    I always updated over the old OS, from 10.0 until 10.5.8, only got faster since early OS X were slow.
    Mine is a Powerbook and although it is a bit sluggish it is OK, problem here is I can not use more RAM, one RAM slot has died so 1 GB max.

    You could try Diskwarrior, it cleans up the directory, that might help a bit but I think it's 10.8.2.
  3. Jazzman25 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 15, 2007
    I have a 2011 iMac (i5 2.7). Is it possible it's 10.8.2?
  4. DJLC macrumors 6502a


    Jul 17, 2005
    Mooresville, NC
    I haven't encountered issues with 10.8.2, but that could just be me.

    I'd totally recommend doing a clean install. If you can, it might also not hurt to clean up your user account before you restore from Time Machine — remove old plists, etc.
  5. SR45 macrumors 65832


    Aug 17, 2011
  6. benwiggy macrumors 68020

    Jun 15, 2012
    10.8.2 on a 2011 iMac should not be "showing signs of the times". In the normal run of things, you should not need to reinstall OS X for maintenance purposes.

    First thing to do is create a brand new user account, and see if any of the "slowness" is exhibited there. If it is not, then you know the cause is something in your original User account, and so there's point in reinstalling the OS.

    Check the Console logs (back in your old account) and see if there are any excessive error messages. You might want to boot up in Safe Mode, which may also give a clue as to the source of the problem, such as installed software system add-ons. Also Repair the Disk (Disk, not Permissions) when booted up from the Recovery PArtition.

    Finally, remember that if you empty the caches with Onyx, then your computer will be slower while it repopulates the caches!
  7. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    OK. OS X is not time-limited. It is not like fresh fish or a bunch of bananas. It does not "go bad."

    Clean Install is not intended as a routine maintenance procedure. It is a radical procedure that is intended to solve intractable problems that cannot be solved any other way.

    If you feel that you must do something, then run File System Check from the command line in Single User Mode:
    1. Restart.
    2. Press [cmd]+[s] during reboot.
    3. At the command prompt, type fsck -fy.
    4. This will take several minutes. Give you computer time to return to the command prompt.
    5. If any problems were reported, then repeat Step 3.
    6. Else, type exit.
    When you return to the OS X UI, use your computer as normal.
  8. Jazzman25 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 15, 2007
    I did the file system check and all looks OK. replaying to previous posts here (thanks to everybody for the advice!), I do have the impression that my user account is the issue. Anyway to fix that without going to a clean install?
  9. justperry macrumors G3


    Aug 10, 2007
    In the core of a black hole.
    So, if you start in a new User Account it is much better?

    If so your normal User Account has issues, this can be solved but is a little bit of a chore to find out what the problem is.

    Now, I will explain what to do but you need to have Root User enabled.

    How to Enable root User:
    Open Directory Utility in /Applications/Utility, then click padlock and enter password, next step click on Edit in Menu bar then Enable Root User, if it is not enabled yet you will have to make a new password, after you done this enable Fast User Switching in User and Groups Preference Pane.

    Next step go the the User menu extra in the Menu Bar, click on it and click Login Window....
    It will show you the login Window, click on Other and enter root as User and your password which you made before.


    Now, solving the problem:

    In root user navigate in Finder to your normal User Account, Change the name of the Library folder to Library1 (Any name will do but remember what you changed, then click on the User Menu extra in menu again on the right and switch to your normal User account.
    (You don't need to log out of root, you can do that if the problem is solved)
    Now, is it much better?
    If yes the problem is in the Library folder, you need to switch back to root now, delete the newly created Library and change the Library1 name back to Library.
    Then inside the library change Preferences to Preferences1, switch to your normal User Account and see if the problem is gone, if it is the problem is in the preferences Folder.
    Now, before I go farther, if the problem was not solved by renaming the preferences folder you have to do this same process on other folders, the most likely next one is Application Support.

    But, lets say the problem is in the preferences folder, next thing to do is to switch back to root, delete all files in the newly created Preferences Folder, then move half of the files in Preferences1 into the Preferences folder, log into your normal account again.

    1. problem gone, mark them with a green label, then move half of the files left in the preferences1 Folder again into the Preferences Folder, log into normal account, gone or not?

    2.Problem not gone, it's in the files you just moved to the Preferences folder, mark them all red, then move half(50%) back to Preferences1 in root user and log into normal user again, problem there or not.

    Now, I can explain more but I would like you to see the point I make here, you need to half the files each and every time until you find the one which is the culprit.

    BUT, what I would do if I was you I would first move to preference.plist files to begin with, these are com.apple.finder.plist and com.apple.dock.plist.
    These are the most likely problem files.

    If you would reinstall and then restore from a backup you will reimport the problems.
  10. torana355 macrumors 68030

    Dec 8, 2009
    Sydney, Australia
    1. Backup all your data to an external. Export all mail settings and bookmarks and make sure you have copies of all your serial numbers for apps ect.

    2. Boot into recovery mode and erase drive

    3. Install ML

    4. Drag your apps from the external to the new install of ML in the apps folder, you may have to use the original dmg files for apps like the Adobe suite ect as they have to be installed.

    5. Drag over all your media files.

    6. Import all your email accounts, bookmarks and settings you need.

    7. Enjoy your fresh install.

    Note: If you keep your serials, bookmarks and account settings in a folder called backup you can use it each time you do a reinstall. I keep all my original Apps DMG files, my serial numbers and my bookmark and mailbox exports all in the one place and it makes things incredibly easy.
  11. greenmeanie macrumors 65816


    Jan 22, 2005

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