What should I do first?


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 29, 2005
My 20" 2.0GHz iMac is arriving today. (Naturally, time is passing by uber-slow today...)

Besides the usual "ooh-ing" and "ahh-ing" over the unit, what are some "first" things I should do with it before I start working with it? I'm curious how others "prep" their Macs and why they do it.

For instance, I recall reading a while back to do a clean install of the OS as soon as you unpack it. This supposedly would ensure that you've got an error-free OS install as well as giving you the opportunity to trim away any unnecessary "default" install options (such as multi-language support).

James Philp

macrumors 65816
Mar 5, 2005
Have fun and don't go on this site unless you have a problem!

Really just enjoy the damn thing! I don't see why you would have to do a clean install - it will come with a clean install on it! All you'll have to do is just re-install everything that was pre-installed anyway! (like iLife) and this will take time!
Start thinking about how you are going to encode your music, setting it up to go on-line and such.

If it ain't broke don't try to fix it!


Moderator emeritus
Jul 24, 2002
Run Software Update to get all the security and other patches released since the disk image used to build the Mac was made. Install all your favourite apps.


macrumors regular
Nov 22, 2002
Seattle, WA
I would ***highly**** recommend having a lot of fun with it. Mabey play some music, surf the web, make a movie? After that, play a game or 2 on that huge ass screen, then perhaps check your email?



macrumors G4
Aug 2, 2004
You don't say, but I'm assuming this is your first Mac - if so, congratulations and welcome to the "club"!

As others have said, forgo the clean install, it's really not necessary, and the extra space eaten by the language files won't really matter with the HD on that thing. But do run Software Update and install the patches it recommends.

After that, you'll want to do some "customization" of the look and feel - play with the Desktop Pictures, Screen Saver, Dock setup, etc. The template for the User folder should work well for most users, so you don't have to think to deeply about file management type things.

Go online to Version Tracker or MacUpdate to look for fun utilities. There are a few threads here on "must haves" - do a search for those, as many of them are free.

In the end, just enjoy yourself, and try not to gloat too much to your friends about what a great system you have! :D


macrumors P6
Oct 20, 2002
I certainly wouldn't worry about reinstalling the Mac OS X. When you do the first run of your new Mac it run an assistant to setup everything that is need to be have fun on your Mac. Such as making you the administrator, and additional users, and your internet connection.

Run the software update as mentioned. Always remember to run Repair Permissions, it's in Applications > Utilities > Disk Utilities.

Install the programs that you use. Then transfer your documents, you can use firewire for that.

Just remember to run Repair Permissions after installations.


macrumors 68000
Aug 19, 2003
Denver, CO
first thing id do after getting the internet set up is running software update. make sure everything is tip top. then id make sure all my internet security is in line. default the machine is pretty safe, but you can always change things the be ultra locked down, or open up a few ports if you want remote access or anything. then id transfer all your data and applications to the machine. then, as others have mentioned repair premisions, especially if youve moved a lot of data, like gigs of songs or movies. then id start custumizing everything. after that, youre good to go. i cant think of anything you can do to NOT have fun with your mac!!!

Brother Michael

macrumors 6502a
Apr 14, 2004

Software Update
dl/Install Adium
dl/Install Menumeters
dl/Install Quicksilver

Make a folder in your shared directory and call is "iTunes Music" or something. In iTunes change it so that this folder is your primary music folder. This will make backing up your home directory easier.

Then play with Garageband!



macrumors Core
Mar 20, 2004
"Between the Hedges"
Install Acquisition and download porn...:rolleyes:

OK, just be clear on this I was JUST KIDDING!

I agree with the Software updates, etc.
And with the search for *must haves* like Graphic Converter X and others

Depends on what your interests are...

Music? -> Play with iTunes and the music store
Pics? -> Play with iPhoto

If you bought a .mac account too, you can start publishing your home page

Just have fun, and feel free to ask questions!

Woof, Woof - Dawg


macrumors newbie
Jun 14, 2005
Shrewsbury, UK
If this is your first Mac, just take half hour out of your "Oh my god! I have a Mac I wanna play with" schedule and take your time to learn and navigate through Finder, learn some keyboard shortcuts, just to get a good feel for it. Then of course as others have suggested download all Software Updates, go to DashboardWidgets.com and find some cool widgets for Dashboard. Most of all... have fun! :D


macrumors member
Feb 21, 2005

All the above suggestions are good. You can get some really dynamite apps and utilities from the free-/share-ware boards. Don't know how methodical you want to be but you might want to run thru all the installed hardware fresh out of the box before you download anything.

You don't have to get anal but first make sure your superdrive will actually burn CDs and DVDs, the installed modem and airport connect, that the firewire and USB ports will pass 1s and 0s, that installed RAM and hard drive are to the specs you ekspect (sorry), bluetooth bites (enough), printer prints and so forth.

Run as complete a system check as you can (trust but verify as ole Ronnie used to say) before you hit the geek boards.

I hung out here for quite a while to see what problems people were having before I popped for my Powerbook. When it arrived I did a short hardware check routine so I was fairly sure that if something went haywire it was my fault, not Apple's.

BTW, if I were in a position to have a desktop, I'd have got what you did.