Public Service Announcements

I say this every time there is a major os x revision, but I think I’ll say it louder this time. If you’re upgrading to tiger, back up your home directory and other essentials, and then:


Seriously, just do it. It will probably be more work, but trust me, it’s worth it. How would I know, anyway? Aside from working in and around Mac OS X all day every day, I also help moderate a Mac OS X IRC channel. *Every time* there is a major release, there are *always* streams of people who come in with issues that would have been averted had they done a clean install.

Yes, in-place upgrades have been a supported installation method in OS X for a long time. No, windows does not make you do a clean install either. Yes, upgrades work fine for some people. Still, do it clean. In the parlance of the Mac OS X Installer, this is the “erase and install” option.

There are two other hidden advantages here. One is that it forces you to back up your data at least once per major release; another is that you get your primary drive defragged (which can have positive performance impacts, especially if it’s been a while since the last reformat). One way to keep yourself from having filesystem problems is to reformat once every year or so. Major release time is a perfect opportunity – think of it as preventative maintainence (yes, it means you don’t need to shell out for DiskWarrior or whatever. On that note, by the way, you really shouldn’t use disk utility software against tiger volumes unless they have been specifically upgraded to support tiger).

More info is about installation options is available here:

About dre

I like all kinds of food.
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6 Responses to Public Service Announcements

  1. saitan says:

    what is your opinion of “archive and install”?

    • dre says:

      It’s generally good. I use it occasionally when troubleshooting OS issues (on other people’s machines… I don’t seem to be plagued with much of what others get; see above points for possible explanation ;). It’s definitley better than an upgrade install in terms of avoiding some ‘upgrade’ issues, but there are still some things which are preserved… /Library stuff mostly (in addition to /Users of course). However, you don’t get the benefits of a disk erasure. If you’re simply unable to backup and reformat, Archive and Install is the way to go. If it’s just inconvenient to backup & reformat, my advice is to block out a few hours when you have time and bite the bullet ;)

  2. nightplayer says:

    Hey, I’m glad you wrote this. I’m sure I’ll be referencing this advice to all sorts of friends in the near future.

  3. integ says:

    Yep, I nuked, paved, and installed on a clean partition. No worries thus far aside from the normal 1.0 minor quirks to be expected from a new system. On the whole though, tiger OWNS. I’m so impressed.

  4. roshua says:

    we have a song we like to sing in the service dept. it’s to the melody of “camp-town lady” or whatever that’s called. it goes, “f-disk, format, reinstall, do-dah, do-dah! …” of course, this has more to do with windows, but the spirit is the same.
    i agree, too, that i rarely seem to be plagued with the various sw issues that are all over forums. it’s humorous / annoying that these issues are often blamed on apple, when really it’s just regular old sw issues that will come to plague any piece of sw that isn’t taken care of.
    (i think i’m getting-down the arrogance and hubris part of being a geek :-P)

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