Introduction. A common concern of Mac video users is how to quickly reinstall Mac OS X and associated applications while preserving settings, documents, and other important data. If a boot drive is failing, or the OS or applications don’t work reliably, many users understandably resist a clean install.
The approach is perceived as taking too much time, and there are fears that data will be lost. Instead, many users elect a Time Machine backup, Migration Assistant transfer, Archive and Install, or Finder copy to correct the problem. None of these reinstall strategies are “best practices” in a professional environment.
Too often these strategies compound rather than correct the problem. If, however, if you have prepared in advance, the task is significantly easier for the initial reinstall and any other time you need to get things working again.
This multi-part tutorial suggests a long term strategy designed to produce a problem-free install, and a quick reinstall if problems should arise again — with the proviso that you spend a one time spare afternoon preparing the necessary files and materials. The strategy is intended to produce long term results and far less down time.
WARNING: PLEASE BE COMPLETELY FAMILIAR WITH THE PROCEDURE FOR FULLY BACKING UP CRITICAL FILES AND DATA BEFORE ATTEMPTING THIS PROCEDURE. AUTHOR AND PUBLISHING SITES ASSUME NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR LOSS OF DATA IF USER DOES NOT PROPERLY BACK UP FILES. BOTH Carbon Copy Cloner AND COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE SuperDuper WILL CREATE A MIRROR IMAGE OF YOUR BOOT DRIVE.
What You Need:
- A spare external FW USB drive big enough to hold your OS X and application install discs, and copies of all files that you use regularly, including Mail, Photos, Movies, Music Address Book databases, serial numbers, and any other information you require — essentially what you use daily.
- A cloning utility such as the shareware app Carbon Copy Cloner, or commercial application SuperDuper.
- A pdf or text file containing the serial numbers of all your applications and plug-ins.
- Your Mac OS X install DVD.
- A spare afternoon – a one time requirement.