Will a clean install of Leopard improve my speed?


macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 14, 2010
My MacBook is almost three years old and is getting very sluggish. I will be upgrading to a MacBook Pro next year but in the meantime, would a clean install improve the speed? I have all my files backed up on an external hard drive. I'm not necessarily looking at restoring from backup, as I think it would be nice starting out "new" and only copying over things I need need from my external. What do you think? What are the pros and cons of a clean install? Thanks.


macrumors 6502a
Jul 7, 2005
Go for it, if you have a backup of everything. Although OSX isn't as bad with bit rot as Windows, it can get somewhat sluggish after a while.

It's almost always a good idea to do a fresh install and rebuild if you're going to wipe your computer (rather than restoring from a backup). Whatever is causing the problem could come along with the backup restoration into your new setup, particularly if your data has been transferred around from machine to machine for a while without ever being rebuilt.

As for cons... obviously it's going to take you some time to get your system rebuilt. There's also the possibility you're going to lose some license keys that you no longer have on paper somewhere. Or that you could lose some other data somehow.

A bit of advice: Make sure you have two backups before you start; your normal one, and a full image of the machine taken immediately before you wipe it. Don't be sloppy about it. My wife just sold her old machine and bought a new one. Neither of us realized that her Time Machine drive had gone flaky (since she's never had to use it). Had I not taken an image of her old machine first, she would have lost everything. Two is One. One is NONE.


macrumors member
Jul 20, 2010
PA and/or NYC
i have done this to my 3-year old macbook at least six times, and each time i have noticed a marked increase in speed. it helps to get all the invisible clutter out of the system. just be careful with your backups! and resetting preferences is annoying, maybe back up home/library and put that on your new install to restore your old settings


macrumors 6502
Dec 1, 2009
I've reformatted my MBP1,1 recently and I don't think it helps all that much. I thought it would pick up in performance and get rid of some lingering problems (i.e. not detecting the right resolution for my external monitor), but it didn't help all that much. I guess I had piece of mind that everything was fresh, but to me, I don't think its worth the full days effort (especially with a new computer coming in for you soon)

Similar threads

Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.