Virtues of clean install vs. upgrade

Discussion in 'OS X Mavericks (10.9)' started by swingerofbirch, Oct 23, 2013.

  1. swingerofbirch macrumors 68040

    Oct 24, 2003
    The Amalgamated States of Central North America
    I've always done clean installs. I've just assumed it would make things run the way they're intended and that an upgrade must somehow mix the old and new (that may not be true at all—just a "feeling").

    But I just got my computer back from a repair a month ago and set everything up again after a clean install, and it honestly takes a few days to get things set up the way I like them. My computer doesn't even start to feel like "home" again for a few weeks. There are so many things to do (settings to change, programs to download, install keys to find, not to mention I have to call Microsoft tech support each time for them to issue me a new key for Office because after all my reinstalls it looks like I've tried to install it on too many computers). I've had quite a repair history, and after each repair I've done this.

    I'm considering just doing an upgrade of Mavericks. MobileMe used to sync system preferences, which made clean installs less of a chore. I guess the other reason I'm considering it is that nothing is not working right now. In the past I've done clean installs after something had gone wrong.

    I guess I'm curious to know what other people are doing.
  2. fiatlux macrumors regular

    Dec 5, 2007
    I just upgraded my MacPro from Lion to Mavericks. I was surprised how quick and smooth the upgrade was.

    Prior to that I had transferred my boot and data disks from my previous MacPro 1,1. The Lion system had been upgraded on that machine from Snow Leopard.

    And the initial boot system on my old MacPro was a clone from my MacBook which itself got upgraded from Leopard.

    So, technically, I haven't performed a clean install since end 2007!

    And guess what? It works wonders! I try to keep my system clean and keep to kids from installing junk on it, and the only trace of upgrades are some archived files in a "Previous System" folder on the boot drive with unsupported stuff.

    I have considered doing a clean install but each time I think about the time potentially needed to reconfigure everything (settings, accounts, software and possibly RAID stripes), I decide I have better things to do ;)
  3. scottish macrumors 6502a

    Aug 10, 2011
    I guess what you could do is do an upgrade and if you find issues do a clean install. If there are no issues then you have saved yourself a lot of time!
  4. JasonAV macrumors newbie

    Jul 26, 2013
    It doesn't overwrite?

    Sorry for being a buffoon. This is my first Mac OS upgrade. If I'm reading this correctly. If I download and install, I won't lose all my files and programmes? I don't have to buy a new external HD to copy all my information onto it?
    It will all still be there after instillation?
    If this correct, I would like to say a big thank you to Apple for making my life easier.:)
  5. jesaja macrumors member

    Sep 15, 2003
    Haven't done a "clean install" since I got my PowerBook in 2005, with Tiger. rMBP w/ Mavericks still runs flawlessly.

    After the upgrade I had to check if it really wasn't ML anymore, everything looked as before, even all my windows had been reopened :D
  6. MagicBoy macrumors 68040


    May 28, 2006
    Manchester, UK
    I'm still using my profile that started off on an original MacBook Pro running Tiger, it's been migrated to two new MacBooks using Migration Assistant and had the OS updated as well. Never had any problems with it across all the OS updates, aside from old versions of apps ceasing to work.

    The clean install mentality comes from ex-windows users. ;)
  7. swingerofbirch thread starter macrumors 68040

    Oct 24, 2003
    The Amalgamated States of Central North America
    If you just upgrade from the Mac App Store without changing any options during installation, it will leave your files and programs in place, **BUT** you should still have an external hard drive with a back-up, especially before doing an OS upgrade! If something goes wrong during installation, your hard drive can become inaccessible.

    I ordered a hard drive ahead of the Mavericks upgrade, knowing I would be making a back-up (I know I should have one all the time) regardless of whether I did a clean-install or upgraded in place.

    My favorite program for backing up is SuperDuper, but that's because I've used it for years. I know others like Carbon Copy Cloner.
  8. WhackyNinja macrumors 68000


    Jul 6, 2012
    Kissimmee, FL
    I upgraded from ML. I regret it. Tonight once I get some from classes I'm going to redownload Mavericks from the Mac App Store and make a USB Install Drive and then do a fresh install. Because I've had major glitches.

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