Time for an iMac spring-clean?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by hank-b, Jun 2, 2008.

  1. hank-b macrumors member


    Apr 29, 2008
    My G3 (iMac DV SE "Graphite" 500Mhz 10.3.11) has been upgraded every year or so since I bought it (I think I bought it with MacOS 9 on it). However, it's now running a bit slow and unpredictably (occasional 'hangs', etc.) so I'm thinking it might improve things to take everything off it (onto an external FW drive), reinstall the system (i.e. a clean install, not archiving the old system), copy back the user folders and system Library and copy back the apps I actually still want.

    My question is - is there anything I need to watch out for in doing this? Is there anything that will make the process easier?

    It might be time for a physical spring-clean as well (take the back off and vacuum out all the dust), but that's a job for another day.

  2. sfroom macrumors regular

    Apr 30, 2008
    If you want to give it a really thorough spring cleaning, you don't need to "re-install" your system library, assuming you don't use professional applications which rely on library files. Of course, back it up in case you need it for some reason down the road.

    After a year or two of use, I find the system and user libraries excessively bloated.

    Approximately annually I do the following to ensure my system runs its fastest:

    1. I store all email on the server. I create mail.app user library backups, but I don't use them! When I do a erase & install of the operating system, I let mail redownload all my email from the server.
    2. I consolidate my iTunes library to a backup folder, which I use after the erase & install. This, I believe, leaves behind duplicate album art, etc.
    3. I export a backup of my safari bookmarks.
    4. I create an archive of my address book.
    5. I create a folder to which I move a copy of the third party applications I don't want to reinstall (make sure you have the license information, because you'll have to re-enter it!).
    6. I empty my downloads folder, and archive the downloads I want to keep.
    7. I backup my documents folder, movies folder (which is usually empty, save for aliases to the location of my video files on an external drive), and iPhoto library.

    Then, to get a fresh start (and a smooth running computer!) I do the following,

    1. Customize the installation of Leopard (deselect all unneccesary languages and printer drivers, Microsoft test drives, iWork trials, etc.)
    2. Erase and Install
    3. Let the system boot up, and finish indexing.
    4. Run software update.
    5. Run software update again.
    6. Run monolingual to get rid of excessive language bloat in system files - you can also allow it to remove uneccessary system architectures (make sure to UNcheck this if you don't want monolingual to do it...its selected by default!).
    7. Install Perian and Flip4Mac
    8. Restore iTunes and iPhoto Library
    9. Restore address book archive
    10. Restore documents and movies folders
    11. Restore third party applications
    12. Run Xslimmer to remove software bloat (trims universal binaries to intel or PPC architectures only)
    13. I fire up mail and let it download my email.
    14. I open safari and import my bookmarks.
    15. I run the maintenance scripts (terminal -> sudo periodic daily weekly monthly -> password) and repair disk permissions (I know! Voodoo!).
    16. Restart, and enjoy your new, significantly faster mac!

    DISCLAIMER - This process takes several hours. Not all steps can be universally recommended. Always make a full backup additionally. Some of the steps above are most likely fairly contentious. If I've missed something, or if you have a recommendation, I'd love to hear it.
  3. hank-b thread starter macrumors member


    Apr 29, 2008
    Thanks for that - looks like a pretty comprehensive list. I'm not sure I'll do all that but it's certainly given me some useful pointers.

    - HB
  4. xxjuicymintxx macrumors regular

    May 2, 2008
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Just popped in to say thanks.

    I've been looking for efficient ways to keep my Mac running fresh, and your list has some good key points that I've made note of. Look forward to a cleaner iMac. :)

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