upgrading OSX - incremental of clean install?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by btownguy, Jul 27, 2009.


How do YOU upgrade OSX?

  1. Incremental Upgrade

    11 vote(s)
  2. Clean Reformat / Reinstall

    5 vote(s)
  1. btownguy macrumors 6502a

    Jun 18, 2009
    I'm coming from a Windows background, so the ONLY reasonable choice is a clean reformat/reinstall. I'll be getting my Snow Leopard disc as soon as it's available, and this will be my first OSX upgrade ever. So, in the Mac world, what is the general consensus on upgrading? Just upgrade incrementally, or do a clean reformat/reinstall?
  2. ag55 macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2009
    100% clean install, only i voted so far :D
    I always had a clean install as it improves overall performance for PC and Windows, and i will do the same for OS X.
  3. KevinC macrumors member

    Apr 21, 2008
    Chandler, AZ
    Can someone else weigh in on this? I was under the impression that a clean install isn't important, due to the lack of the dreaded Windows Registry in OS X. That's really the root of all evil (or a helluva lot of it) and a major cause for the gradual slowdown and degradation of Windows performance, hence the need for periodic clean installs and definitely for a clean install when upgrading. But OS X? No such beast, so I ASSumed we were in the clear. Or not?
  4. Shake 'n' Bake macrumors 68020

    Shake 'n' Bake

    Mar 2, 2009
    I'll probably do just an upgrade rather than a fresh install, unless I get my disk on a weekend or I'm bored.
  5. celticpride678

    Feb 15, 2009
    Boston, MA
    The way upgrades work for Mac OS X is the it removes every single system file and application file, but no application and then reinstalls what it needs to, corrects what it needs to and then puts everything the way it was before the upgrade.

    However, it is always better to do a clean install. If yo have backups (Time Machine etc.), go ahead and do the clean install, as it will be faster than just an upgrade.

    I will be doing a upgrade because I really have no time to go through Mac OS X and set everything up again.

    And in some cases, the only option the Installer gives you, is a Upgrade.

    Just something to keep in mind.
  6. toxictrix macrumors 6502a

    Jan 8, 2009
    Time machine backup and clean install for me. Just makes me feel better inside lol.
  7. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    You are in a new land. You should learn new ways. I should preface everything that follows by saying that I am a Mac user of more than 20 hears. Clean install is a radical procedure intended to cure vexing problems. Windows users do it routinely on Windows computers because it is easier and consumes less time than fixing vexing problems.

    On the Mac, the time considerations are reversed. A regular (or incremental) upgrade will "just work" and allow you to get back to work immediately with all of your user settings and third-party applications intact. A clean install means that you still have a lot of work to do to return your computer to a productive state after you have replaced your OS. If you have a lot of apps installed, then this can require hours. They are hours wasted. In the case that something goes wrong during an incremental upgrade, you still have the option of doing a clean install and end up no worse than the user who made the radical choice his first choice.
  8. Matek macrumors 6502a

    Jun 6, 2007
    I always find it funny how some people assume the registry is pure evil and it's only function is to slow the system down. Come on, it's just a way of storing a bunch of properties. It can cause problems sometimes, but it's not the devil. All systems get slower with time. We install, uninstall and reinstall apps, stuff inevitably gets left behind, drives become fragmented, there's a billion of reasons for general slowness. Some OSes might manage stuff in better ways and be more resistive, some maintenance tools speed things up, but in the long run, a reinstall will give you the biggest improvement.

    I upgraded my Tiger install to Leopard and when it seemed slightly choppy, I did a clean install couple of days later - the difference was huge. All that despite the fact I use Onyx and do my maintenance periodically. Also, when I purchased a new hard drive and reinstalled OS X, I noticed more smoothness. I'm not saying it's as bad as Windows (with inexperienced users, they get dirty very very fast), I'm just saying it's not magical and bulletproof, it just takes more time and the effect isn't as big.

    Paradoxically funny, how you mention hours wasted as the major reason in favour of upgrades, but then when an upgrade goes wrong, it's suddenly not any worse then a clean install, although you wasted a lot more time with it (depending on where it gets problematic).
  9. spillproof macrumors 68020


    Jun 4, 2009
    Normally I just back up everything and upgrade. However, for Snow Leopard I will be doing a clean install. Later this week I'm planning to do a clean install of Win7 in bootcamp too.
  10. MacAndy74 macrumors 65816

    Mar 19, 2009
    <- also an ex-windower :D

    However, I always clean install major versions of operating systems.

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