Is a factory restore, out of box worth it? Make iMac faster than is now?


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Nov 23, 2006
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I still consider myself new to iMac and OSX coming from PCs. I have a 2007 Aluminium Core 2 Duo 2Ghz, 2Gb RAM with Snow Leopard and iLife 09 on.

I am just finding now after 3 years that I'm getting a lot of "beach balls", general slow down. I have a 320Gb internal HDD and about 100Gb free. I now run my iTunes library from an external HDD as it got too big with movies/TV shows.

I haven't got many extra programs installed, Handbrake. Open Office, metaX, iDentify2, YouTube converter, iClip. I don't run many widgets on dashboard either.

So what I'm wondering is would it be worth me doing a total factory reInstall/reset (which would be Leopard and iLife 08?) and then putting Snow Leopard and iLife 09 on, and all updates, then the few extra programs I have?

All I need backed up is my iTunes and iPhoto library's, which are at the moment with Time Machine. However I will make a separate backup of these to another drive.

Will this help any? I used to do this on my PC and it used to help a lot, as I say there's only iTunes and iPhoto I need to worry about.

Try checking if the OS is struggling with the filesystem - run DiskUtility>VerifyDisk.
Interesting question as I'm contemplating the same. I have a 2006 iMac and only have 25GB left! I'm planning to move all my media files and text docs onto a central NAS, do a clean install of Snow Leopard and see if it runs any better. Mine is really slow now - loads of beach balls :( and I probably have a lot of crap on there that I don't need. I'll try running the VerifyDisk too though first so thanks CamFire.
sorry to tag on just ordered a refurb from Apple is it worth doinga re-install as soon as i get it to ensure it's fresh (just incase Apple havnt done it)
My first Mac for 10 years so I know nothing about them, how do i do a new install?
sorry to tag on just ordered a refurb from Apple is it worth doinga re-install as soon as i get it to ensure it's fresh (just incase Apple havnt done it)
My first Mac for 10 years so I know nothing about them, how do i do a new install?

up to you, obviously macs do not come with bloatware etc but if you really want to, it can't hurt to do so (just means you have to wait a bit longer to play on your new mac)
I did a reinstall recently from scratch, and it is in fact running a lot faster. I suspect its to do with the Caches, random orphaned files from Apps not 100% removed, etc.

There are utilities out there that can clean up your Mac though, and would probably do the exact same job and leave you with similar results.

Whenever I do a reinstall though, I dont use my Time Machine backup and the Migration Assistant, as this will pull back all of the clutter back onto your fresh machine

I normally do a complete Clone using SuperDuper and then manually move ov er the stuff I need. Takes a bit of Google'ing to find what needs to go where, but ends up with a nice pristine install and super fast!

Having the Clone as allows you to boot from the external drive, should you need to use your system in the middle of loading everything back on. It works exactly as it did before then in the interim!
so how do you do a fresh install? just whack in the disc like on a windows machine?? or is tehre a 'procedure'
I can understand that OS X is better than Windows at managing itself as such, but I really think that that nothing would beat a comeplete reinstall.

Few questions still though....
I have a boot camp partition on what will happen to this? Will it wipe over this? Can I keep it somehow and just erase and install Snow Leopard?

Also I understand you can restore from a Time Machine, but I won't want to do this as a I want a fresh install. So what happens to the current Time Machine backups? And also can I after an erase and install just connect Time Machine HDD and continue to use it? Will it wipe over the other backups?

Had mine for 8 months now, and use it for 12-14 hours a day, and it's on nearly always serving content to the bedroom AppleTV also. I've noticed the beach balls a few times recently, so I've just kicked off the Verify Disk, I'll let you know if it seems any better afterward!

Anyone got any names for useful cleanup tools that restore performance? I had a mail from macupdate a week or two ago promoting "MacKeeper", but I've no idea how good this is, it does have a fully functioning 15 day trial though.
Well, the verify disk results don't look too grand. I'll take it's advice in the next couple of days, got too much work to get finished at the moment to risk any outages if possible!!! :blush:

Verifying volume “Macintosh HD”
Performing live verification.
Checking Journaled HFS Plus volume.
Checking extents overflow file.
Checking catalog file.
Missing thread record (id = 2040707)
Missing thread record (id = 2234350)
Missing thread record (id = 4298223)
Missing thread record (id = 4314340)
Missing thread record (id = 4510202)
Missing thread record (id = 4522279)
Missing thread record (id = 4764684)
Missing thread record (id = 6883280)
Missing thread record (id = 7090956)
Missing thread record (id = 7437219)
Missing thread record (id = 8077945)
Incorrect number of thread records
Checking multi-linked files.
Checking catalog hierarchy.
Invalid volume directory count
(It should be 207364 instead of 207375)
Checking extended attributes file.
Checking volume bitmap.
Checking volume information.
The volume Macintosh HD was found corrupt and needs to be repaired.
Error: This disk needs to be repaired. Start up your computer with another disk (such as your Mac OS X installation disc), and then use Disk Utility to repair this disk.
Yep - that's the kind of messages DiskUtility>VerifyDisk gave when my iMac became sluggish. The slightest hint of the beachball appearing to me - as I've done this several times now - is that RepairDisk needs to be fired up. What I have is a cloned volume which I boot up from to do this, avoiding the slow booting from disc.
I come from a Windows background where constant rebuilds are required. I have never felt the need to rebuild my Mac's because they ran fast all of the time.

However, I bought a new hard disk for my MBP recently and went for the clean install option and the performance gain was incredible ;)
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for general maintenance, I run OnyX every now and then, works a treat :thumbsup:
The beachball is the little coloured circle you get on the screen when something is loading. It's the Mac equivalent of the Windows hourglass.
Apologies for butting in, but what is/are Beachballs?

Your lucky if you don't have any experience of them! Basically it's the operating system 'busy' symbol. Usually indicates an application has a problem interacting with the system.


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