What Happens After a Full Erase?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by shanshor, Dec 27, 2010.

  1. shanshor macrumors regular

    Jan 4, 2008
    Hello everyone! I've had my iMac since early 2008 (2.8GHz, 4GB RAM, nice NVidia card) and it has ran great until recently. Things seem slow, and take a bit too long to open. Even worse is that its performance is inconsistent. Sometimes iTunes can take 6-8 seconds to load, and sometime 30 or more. I had concluded that this is due to my hard drive being almost full (320 gigs). However, I erased about 50GB of info, and it still performs about the same. The bump to Snow Leopard helped a bit, but the performance still isn't near where I'd like it to be. I also just installed 4GB of RAM.

    So a new idea is to just completely erase everything and start over. I have a time machine backup of all of my info, and I would selectively add old information to the newly formatted drive (things like movies, photos, apps). However I have two problems in doing a full erase (or whatever the technical term is)

    1) What happens to preferences and the such?

    I have my iPad and iPod touch synced to my iMac and I don't know how that would affect them after I tried to sync them after the erase. Also, if i load all of my photos back into iPhoto, will events and albums need to be reconfigured?

    2) What happens to my Windows Vista partition?

    I have a 30GB partition for Vista, and what would happen to it? Would OS X be smart enough to not touch it?

    Thanks for all of your help!
  2. shanshor thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 4, 2008
  3. Deomitrus macrumors member

    Aug 29, 2008
    1. A lot of preferences are saved in your home folder /Users/%your username%/Library. iPhoto pictures are also stored in your home folder /Users/$your username%/Photos (unless you saved them elsewhere). Same idea with iTunes music, by default your music libraries are stored in /Users/%your username%/Music.

    Actually, Time Machine will backup all this data for you. You can then use Time Machine to restore your entire system.


    2. If you format the entire hard drive, you will wipe out your Windows partition as well. However if you format only the Mac OS X partition, your Windows partition will remain untouched.

    One way to increase startup performance, is to upgrade your hard drive to a Solid state drive. Check out Newegg.com for some prices on SSDs.

    Then you could use a free product like Carbon Copy Cloner to make an exact duplicate copy of old hard drive to your new drive. (Or re-install with Time Machine restore method mentioned above.)
  4. shanshor thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 4, 2008
    Thanks man, this helps a lot. I do have one more question though, it seems you are suggesting that I re"install" my whole home folder. Wouldn't this negate the effects of having cleared my hard drive? Or would I still see a performance boost?

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