Clean Install of Snow Leopard

Like most of the people coming from Windows world, I am kind of accustomed to do clean OS install from time to time. I’ve switched to Mac 3 years ago and honestly speaking, unlike Windows I haven’t noticed any slowdown or anything on OS X even after many months, but I still like to get rid of old unused stuff and make some kind of fresh start from time to time. Also I am considering upgrade to Lion so doing it from cleaner system makes more sense to me.

This was my first clean install since I bought my current MBP in April 2010, and since some of my friends asked me for guide how to actually do it, I’ve decided to spend some time making this tutorial. In order to do clean install you will need either Mac OS X install DVD which come with your Mac or Snow Leopard Install DVD if you’ve obtained it separately.

Caution: This is clean install which means that before installation will start we are going to format partition on hard disc which will effectively destroy all your data. Make sure that you have backup for all important data or at least you do Time Machine backup before you start this procedure (this is how I did it btw).

Procedure for doing clean install goes as follow:

1. Insert Snow Leopard Installation DVD, and double click to “Install Mac OS X” icon.
Mac OS X Install DVD

2. When installer starts click Utilities and then click Restart.
Installer

3. System will go for reboot and Snow Leopard installation will be started.
4. Pick your Language of choice on the first screen and click to Continue button.
5. Choose Utilities->Disc Utility from the menu
6. Select your disk (i.e. Macintosh HD) in the left panel and then pick Erase tab. (see image bellow)
Disk Utility

7. Pick default Mac OS Extended (Journaled) from the format pop-up menu, optionally type name for your disk and click Erase.
Warning: This will erase all your data. Again don’t do this unless you’re 100% sure that you’ve made backup of your system.

8. After disk has been formatted, quit disk utility (Disk Utiliy -> Quit Disk Utility) and then follow instructions to finish installation.

After installation has been done you may start by coping data from your backup and install other software. Most likely you will want to install iLife software, but if you want all your previous stuff like preserved, good idea is to copy iLife files from backup to /Users/{your_username}. For example in order to have all my iPhoto images in place after I did clean install, first I copied back whole content of /Users/dinke/Pictures from backup, so when iLife installation is finished I already have all of my images stored in iPhoto.

Other example is Adium, very popular app used for Instant Messaging, personally I use it for Gtalk and ICQ and I can’t afford to lose any of my chat history, so this is the way to put everything back after doing clean install.

1. Download and install the latest Adium
2. Quit Adium and put back these data from your backup:

~/Library/Preferences/com.adiumX.adiumX.plist
~/Library/Application Support/Adium 2.0/

Where ~/ is your home directory (for example, /Users/[your user name]).

3. Start Adium

Now you will have all of your settings and logs in it. Awesome isn’t it? :)

Also after I put my data back I had a problem to actually search trough Adium history. That’s known bug and solution for that problem can be found on this link: http://trac.adium.im/ticket/7042.

That’s it, feel free to leave your comment in case you have any question or anything.

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