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iSight : Reinstalling Mac OS X (Rarely Necessary)

As mentioned in the Title box - there are pages that were written a little while ago by EZ Jim, a poster on the Apple Discussions, who contributes to iSight and iChat Discussions. The words the following pages are EZ Jim's

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Reinstalling Mac OS X (Rarely Necessary)

In the extremely unlikely event that none of the Mac OS X maintenance suggestions help you, you may find it necessary to reinstall your OX. Unlike the pre-OS X days, system reinstalls are rarely needed. However, sometimes there is no other way.

No matter which of the following you even contemplate, NOW is the time to backup (at least) your entire home directory.

Before you reinstall your OS, consider the suggestions in Isolating issues in Mac OS X to be sure there is not a simpler solution.

Please note that in Leopard, Time Machine can do this for you to any other Drive or Partition you have - an External is better though).

If reinstallation is required, unless your Mac OS is badly damaged, you should consider an Archive and Install (A & I) from your Mac OS X install or restore CDs or DVDs. Follow this by reinstalling the latest OS X Updater for the OS Version you have. Don't forget the permissions repairs!

A & I will save you lots of time, particularly if you select the "Preserve Settings" choice. Typically, it will take about 30 minutes to a hour.

I suggest that you only consider a "Clean Install" of the OS in the rare case where A & I preserves some of your problems along with your network, mail, passwords, and the myriad other settings stored in modern Operating Systems. If such is the case, doing a Clean Install and then manually reentering all your settings and re-associating all your data with appropriate apps may be the easiest choice, although that will be a lot of work. Clean install will take about 2 to 4 hours.

Of course, if you determine that your hard disk is not salvageable, you can completely erase the hard drive, do a clean install, accomplish all required set-up, repair permissions, update the OS to the latest current version, repair permissions, reinstall and update all your 3rd party (non-Apple) applications, repair permissions, and then restore your data files. If you use several apps and keep a lot of data on your boot disk, the Erase and Install process may take more than one day. You can understand why I recommend it only as a last resort.

Almost all problems can be resolved without reinstalling software (as long as you do not move, rename, or delete files or folders outside your "Documents" folder).Unless you are a Unix expert, I strongly advise against doing anything outside your Documents folder without specific instructions from someone who KNOWS that it is safe to do so. Mac OS X can recover from just about any other problems.

Written By EZ Jim

Made on Mac
Made on a Mac®

© 2005, 2006 EZ Jim
Updated September 2006

© 2005 Ralph Johns: Edited 24/9/2005, 5/5/2006
Updated September 2006. Moved to Gargoyles Mar 2007

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