Maybe it’s just me. Maybe it is all those years of using PCs. I don’t know but I swear life is just better when you start fresh. A couple friends recently asked me how to Clean Install Mac OS X Snow Leopard. I know I spoke of this once before, but I will go over it all again, just in case they are trolling my blog. Yup, I see you over there in the corner 😉
First, why would someone want to Clean Install Mac OS X Snow Leopard? Well, again I am a bit paranoid when it comes to OS upgrades. Sure, patches and updates are fine – but – full on upgrades are a different beast altogether. In my opinion too many things can go wrong. Again, this may be stemming from my experience with say Windows. However, I make my living working on my Macs. I don’t need them to go down or have to deal with strange happenings. I really like doing a clean install of my OS including OS X Snow Leopard because it enables me to clean the slate and start fresh. No matter how easy the Snow Leopard upgrade installer works. Its still installing over old crap. Orphaned apps, prefs, settings and what not. Why not clean the drive off, format it and know that you are working with all the ancillary crap removed. It helps trust me.
First off, how many Mac Applications have you installed since Leopard came out? If you are like me – you try different things all the time. Even if you aren’t installing or trying apps out all the time. When is the last time you gave your system a through cleaning? I try and reformat believe it or not once, maybe twice a year. Now I know your mileage will vary greatly – depending on how you use your Mac. For example, my wife she doesn’t need to reformat. She uses her Mac for Email, Word Processing, the Internet, QuickBooks and some Mahjong that’s pretty much it. Simple stuff right there. But guess what… I will still do a clean install on her Mac. I probably will not reformat again – till the next Version of Mac OS X pops out from Cupertino, in year or so.
I guess its time to explain my process of doing a clean install of Mac OS X Snow Leopard. So, hold on to your hats and don’t fall asleep.
Clean Install Mac OS X Snow Leopard
1. First off make sure you have a backup. I prefer having redundant backups of only my data.
2. I then take some time and take screen shots of all my installed applications. This way I know all the apps I had installed on my Mac. Helps prevent forgetting about those rarely used applications later on.
3. I recommend writing these apps down and storing them on Google Docs or similar.
4. Next I think of each app thats installed on my Mac. If they have settings I have customized I open the app and copy all the important settings down. I really do this only for the important apps.
5. Make sure to back up things like Mail, iCal, 1Password, DropBox, Share Folder, iPhoto, AddressBook, Jungle Disk, CandyBar, Transmit, DreamWeaver, PhotoShop plugins, extensions etc… (back up ~/library/Application Support/Mail & ~/library/preference/com.apple.mail.plist)
6. DO NOT forget the Fonts! I did this once and I lost a good bit of my Fonts collection (which is huge).
7. For web development I use MAMP if you use this don’t forget to backup the settings and htdocs folder.
8. Please verify you didn’t miss anything.
Once that’s all done and you confirm you have everything backed up nice and safe…
You can start the Clean Install of Mac OS X Snow Leopard
1. Pop in Snow Leopard
2. Boot to CD/DVD by hold down “C” while booting.
3. Follow the prompts
4. Then head to the Disk Utility and reformat the drive you will be using to install OS X Snow Leopard.
5. Install Snow Leopard by following the prompts.
6. Once the install is done then I start installing my important apps. Applications I know for certain I need or use all the time. I don’t install everything. Because, I actually most likely – believe it or not – don’t – need everything 😉 That’s where that list comes in handy. I figure if I can live without the app for a few weeks maybe a month. I probably don’t really need it. But I save the list and settings just in case. 🙂
My system always runs faster and smoother when I do things like this. Like I stated before YMWV (your mileage will vary).