When I buy a new Mac, should I immediately reformat and reinstall OS X?

motulist

macrumors 601
Original poster
Dec 2, 2003
4,082
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I heard someone on this forum once say that it's a good practice to reformat and reinstall OS X as the first thing you do when you get a new Mac (but people say a lot of things online that aren't correct). Is there any reason to do this?

My 4 year old 1 ghz powerbook G4 is still running the same installation of OS X that it arrived with in the mail, and it's treated me great! But I'd rather be safe than sorry, because this new Mac is for my mid-60's Mom, and its her first Mac ever, so I want to make sure that her experience is as perfect as possible.

Is there any benefit to doing a reformat and reinstall on a brand new machine?
 

mavis

macrumors 601
Jul 30, 2007
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Tokyo, Japan
The only reason I booted up my iMac when it first arrived (without reformatting first) was so that I could quickly check the screen for defects and so I could insert the install DVD. ;)

Having the OS on the same partition as all of my data doesn't really make a lot of sense to me, if something ever happened and OSX was hosed, I'd hate to have to depend on backups to get everything back. So within minutes after setting my new iMac up, I reformatted and repartioned, splitting my HDD into two partitions (200GB for the OS and 500GB for my data) ... Now, when I install Leopard, I don't have to worry about backing everything up beforehand (although I do keep two sets of backups: one at my house and the other at my mother-in-law's house) ... I'll just do a clean install of Leopard, reinstall my apps, and then re-import my data from the second partition. I'll be back up and running in an afternoon, with a nice clean install of Leopard. Nice and simple! :)
 
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oduinnin

macrumors regular
Aug 3, 2007
139
0
Planet Earth
Those Darn Windows Switchers ...

Are bringing their whacked ideas from BallmerLand! I've owned 8 Macs and I've never done a fresh install on a new Mac!

The only time I've ever done a fresh install is once when I lost my entire hard drive way back on an IIci. My son accidently triped over the power cord, pulling the Mac to the floor while I was writing a file to the drive.

I've also been able to fix any hard drive or system file corruption using either Disk Utility or one of the more powerful utilities like Disk Warrior or TechTools Pro.

I LMAO every time the IT tech guy at work tells someone in my work group that he'll have to take their computer so he can "Flatten the drive" and reinstall. :p Honest, it happens 2 or 3 times a month. My work place uses Windows XP of course. :(
 
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mavis

macrumors 601
Jul 30, 2007
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Are bringing their whacked ideas from BallmerLand! I've owned 8 Macs and I've never done a fresh install on a new Mac!
I'm sure a lot of my disk management strategy comes from using Windows for so long, but then again I've heard horror stories about OSX upgrades as well - not to mention the fact that a lot of my apps will have to be reinstalled anyway - so in my book, a clean install is the way to go.
 
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richard.mac

macrumors 603
Feb 2, 2007
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51.50024, -0.12662
when you buy a new mac are both the restore dvd installed onto it? i cant remember if the second dvd that contains ilife and other stuff was installed on my macbook pro that i bought jsut over a year ago. i do remember installing the second dvd but that may have been a waste of time if it had already been installed.
 
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MisterMe

macrumors G4
Jul 17, 2002
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USA
... but then again I've heard horror stories about OSX upgrades as well - ...
What horror stories? I subscribe to several Mac fan sites and read the woes of a lot of Mac newbies. There is a lot of fear of something going bad, but I have never read of anything actually going bad that reinstallation will fix. In fact, the major cause is things going bad is the physical failure of the hard drive. That is not a software problem and reinstalling the OS will neither prevent it or fix it.
 
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clevin

macrumors G3
Aug 6, 2006
9,095
1
I would have done it if I knew it at that time, the reason is simple

if OSX only needs 3G disk space, I don't want the pre-installed garbages to take extra 12G of my precious disk space.
 
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weaverra

macrumors 6502
Sep 27, 2006
250
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Waste Of Time! Keeping data on a separate partition can be a real pain especially if you do have to re install and then you have to re associate all the locations different than the default it's a real pain. If you were really smart you wouldn't keep the data on the same drive anyway if you follow that logic. Keep regular backups and all you have to do is throw your data back into the default places and that's it.
 
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uaaerospace

macrumors 6502
Feb 15, 2005
396
0
Alabama
I've never reformatted a new mac. Sure, there are some extra things on there, but unless you are really cramped for hard drive space, don't worry about it. It's already a fresh install...no reason to do it again.

The arguments about data and OS being on different partitions don't hold water. If you're running Leapord, just use time machine. You'll always have a backup of your data if something goes wrong.

If you're not running Leapord, just backup yourself to another drive. Having data and OS on different partitions doesn't help much if the drive takes a crap. At that point, you'll be thankful you have a real backup.
 
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Chupa Chupa

macrumors G5
Jul 16, 2002
14,834
7,394
I always reinstall but only to ensure I get off every bit of crap I don't need such as trialware, print drivers and languages I'll never use. You might want to do it for your mom just to streamline the machine if you have the time. It won't make her machine any faster, or give her that much more free HD space, but it does make things a bit tidier. I just hate keep apps and stuff around that will never be used. They get in the way.
 
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mavis

macrumors 601
Jul 30, 2007
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Tokyo, Japan
What horror stories? I subscribe to several Mac fan sites and read the woes of a lot of Mac newbies. There is a lot of fear of something going bad, but I have never read of anything actually going bad that reinstallation will fix. In fact, the major cause is things going bad is the physical failure of the hard drive. That is not a software problem and reinstalling the OS will neither prevent it or fix it.
I don't know, I have a friend who had problems with the Panther-->Tiger upgrade. But maybe I just misunderstood what he told me ... ?

Anyway, I guess if Time Machine can back up everything (excluding stuff like my Downloads folder and my 'special' videos folder, heh) I shouldn't really worry about partitioning. My main concern was keeping my pictures out of iPhoto (I use Lightroom to manage my RAW image library and then export JPEGs for iPhoto when I really want something available to iWeb or iDVD, etc) ... I suppose I could just keep my own "Graphics" folder separate from the default iPhoto path and that would take care of that. I could use SuperDuper with a custom script to backup select folders on occasion to a second external HDD (which I already do now) and that way I'd have a 'standard' backup in addition to the Time Machine one.

In other words, maybe I need to re-think my disk management philosophy. I've never trusted an OS with my data, I've always kept separate physical drives for my data until this iMac, which I broke into partitions. From what everyone is saying, that's just not necessary any more? Kind of a relic from my Windows days? You guys really think I can trust OSX with my data?
 
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visch1

macrumors newbie
Oct 22, 2007
16
0
In other words, maybe I need to re-think my disk management philosophy. I've never trusted an OS with my data, I've always kept separate physical drives for my data until this iMac, which I broke into partitions. From what everyone is saying, that's just not necessary any more? Kind of a relic from my Windows days? You guys really think I can trust OSX with my data?[/QUOTE]

Before I get influenced by anyone on the net I try some investigation. A lot of people have opinions based on “act as if”. In my situation I have far more hard drives than fingers and toes. Just my Jazz MPs are over 200Gs, duplicated on another drive, video is another hog along with photos both jpeg and raw, everything on a duplicate drive. I would never dream of thinking of having these items on the drive with the OS until I temporally bring something over to work with/on in a separate PARTITION, then move it back. I have no desire to have TM or CC copy anything besides the OS. I do have several bootable FW drives with my back ups on them so I can keep operating in case of a main drive failure. Now this is my opinion based on servicing systems since the days of punched paper tape and relays. What good old days?
 
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thejadedmonkey

macrumors G3
May 28, 2005
8,074
824
Pennsylvania
The only reason I booted up my iMac when it first arrived (without reformatting first) was so that I could quickly check the screen for defects and so I could insert the install DVD. ;)

Having the OS on the same partition as all of my data doesn't really make a lot of sense to me, if something ever happened and OSX was hosed, I'd hate to have to depend on backups to get everything back. So within minutes after setting my new iMac up, I reformatted and repartioned, splitting my HDD into two partitions (200GB for the OS and 500GB for my data) ... Now, when I install Leopard, I don't have to worry about backing everything up beforehand (although I do keep two sets of backups: one at my house and the other at my mother-in-law's house) ... I'll just do a clean install of Leopard, reinstall my apps, and then re-import my data from the second partition. I'll be back up and running in an afternoon, with a nice clean install of Leopard. Nice and simple! :)
At first, I was going to say... "You're a recent switcher, aren't you? :p" but then I kept reading.. I did that all the time with XP. A Partition for XP, a partition for data + games. Then I got a mac, and because it wasn't my main machine (just a mini), I didn't bother. That was almost 3 years ago.

Since then I've upgraded the hard drive and RAM, turned it into my family's main machine, and it's still using the same, original OS X install.

The only time I've ever wiped a mac was the upgrade from Tiger to Leopard.. only because my computer was almost out of disk space, I couldn't figure out why, and I just didn't care to [figure out why].

For your grandmother, don't even bother. Just be sure you tell her where internet explorer went :p
 
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Celeron

macrumors 6502a
Mar 11, 2004
704
9
Personally, I liked to format and reinstall OS X when I first get my machine. I did this on my Mac Pro, my Mac Mini, my new SR MB, and both the MBs I bought, one for my mom, one for the mother-in-law. I do this because I don't want:

1. Printer drivers for every printer model ever made
2. Additional fonts for languages I can't read
3. Additional language translations for languages I can't read
4. Office '04 Trial
5. iWork '08 Trial

Adding all that up is probably around 5 gigs (maybe more) of completely wasted space. I like to keep a tidy hard drive, so not wasting 5 gigs of space is important to me.
 
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byakuya

macrumors 6502a
Jul 26, 2007
542
0
I reformatted and reinstalled OS X also.
since I am on a MB with only 80GB of internal HD space getting rid of all the extras was quite important to me but other than that I do not see the necessity of reinstalling the whole OS.

with PCs that's a different story...there I would recommend a format and reinstall because there is a lot of junk on there (trial software etc.)
 
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Slip

macrumors 6502a
Oct 16, 2007
904
0
Wiltshire, England
I reinstalled when I got my MacBook more for peace of mind than any worries of stability etc.
And also to wipe off the bucket load of printer drivers for printers I don't own and languages that I don't speak
 
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moutian

macrumors member
Dec 16, 2004
87
0
Detroit
If you don't like to have some useless stuff reside on your hard drive, then it makes sense to install it yourself. And it is easier to do that when you just get a new mac, as you need not back up anything.

So I always do that myself.
 
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cohibadad

macrumors 6502a
Jul 21, 2007
894
5
I've thought of wiping my hard drive immediately on a new mac to partition it. Would be nice at times to have multiple partitions to do things like have a Tiger install available or maybe a have a Disk Warrior partition, or whatever. The time to do it is before you start using it. Other than that I see no need to reformat/reinstall.
 
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