Starting anew with your computer

Some of you might have already switched over to OS X Lion, while some are still waiting.

Nevertheless, it’s always interesting to consider the following question: should I reformat my computer?

And it’s not just a Mac question; when Windows 7 was released, they (as in Microsoft) touted the following*:

Upgrading is the most convenient way to get Windows 7 on your computer, because it keeps your files, settings, and programs from Windows Vista in place.


Those who followed my article on upgrading to OS X Lion would know that I’m a huge proponent of doing a clean install; so is XY.

In fact, when Shawn Blanc** shared what Garrett Murrary experienced, I made a note to share it.

It’s a little late, but still relevant.

In summary, Garrett hasn’t done a fresh install (meaning reformat the hard disk before installing the OS) since OS X Tiger in 2005, and with that, done 2 upgrades (from Tiger to Leopard and then to Snow Leopard).

And when he finally did (there’s a story to it in the article), this is what he found:

  • 215 apps in my Applications folder, over 140 of which I hadn’t used in as long as I could remember
  • 400MB of content in ~/Documents, not a single bit of which was anything I wanted or needed, including five years of iChat transcripts
  • Freelance client work from 2002 (!)
  • 18 PrefPanes, only three of which I had touched in recent memory
  • 26 Login Items, some of which I didn’t even recognize and had to research
  • Three versions of the Apple Developer tools, including Xcode 3, Xcode 4 beta (ugh, seriously?) and Xcode 4
  • A complete user account I used to use for presentations at conferences with random junk all over the desktop

Towards the end of the article, he wrote:

It was a bit painful to start fresh, but the advantages are immediately noticeable. A faster, cleaner machine that’s easier to get work done on.

If you are the same and haven’t done a fresh install, or see the need to, Garrett’s article is a great read for you.


Garrett’s article can be found here.

*That quote from Microsoft? Check it out here.

**Thanks to Shawn Blanc for posting it up first.


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