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  1. #1
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    Hey Mac users: I'm clean-installing Sierra

    Hi everyone!

    I've been a Mac user since 1986, and I've been through my share of hardware and software upgrades. Now, I'm preparing to perform my first clean-install (and major update) of the MacOS in well over five years. I've had problems for years with minor bugs from old drivers creating conflicts in my system, but I have been the world's worst procrastinator about it. I'd like to change that over the Labor Day holiday weekend.

    My iMac is currently on MacOS 10.10.5 "Yosemite". I followed detailed instructions and formatted a USB thumb drive with a bootable installer for MacOS 10.12 "Sierra". I intend to wipe my iMac clean, clean-install Sierra, and then restore my data (not the software) from a Time Machine backup on an external hard drive.

    I have not done a clean install in so long I can't even remember. Any suggestions on how to prepare? Will I be able to recover all my e-mail and passwords without re-installing all my old software conflicts?
    Owner of: Brain Bag backpack (Black), Field Journal Notebook (Blue), Snake Charmer (Small, Orange), Super Ego briefcase (Black / Indigo / Steel) with Reflective Strip, Brain Cell (Steel), Horizontal Freudian Slip, various Organizer Pouches and Key Straps, and a Side Effect (Black / Wassabi) worn as a belt-style hip-pack.

  2. #2
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    What sort of drivers and software conflicts do you have currently? Are you saying that you will no longer need any of the software that is currently causing you problems? You can reinstall or upgrade the current system software without wiping the drive to see if that would eliminate conflicts first.

    When I used to work in tech support for Apple-using clients (ten years ago so I can't advise on the current systems), we used to reinstall the system software in this manner all the time because it was faster and solved nearly all of the problems that arose.

    One general thing I would advise is to use a password manager like LastPass. If you have a lot of passwords saved in your keychain or your browser (or your memory) then I would say you should collect them all and put them in LastPass before you wipe the drive. It is a browser extension you can get to from any machine, and if you subscribe for about a dollar a month you can sync across a mobile version as well and have all your passwords on any device.

    What I do when I upgrade system software is make a backup by cloning my drive onto an external drive using Carbon Copy Cloner. That preserves everything the way it is now in case the upgrade goes wrong. I understand you don't want to preserve existing software conflicts, but I find it easier to restore from that than Time Machine, in case I need to undo the upgrade, so it would be a good second backup if you have the storage space.

    I hate upgrading my software. I just want to use it and know where stuff is. My sympathy and good wishes to you!


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    My iMac is currently on MacOS 10.10.5 "Yosemite". I followed detailed instructions and formatted a USB thumb drive with a bootable installer for MacOS 10.12 "Sierra". I intend to wipe my iMac clean, clean-install Sierra, and then restore my data (not the software) from a Time Machine backup on an external hard drive.

    I have not done a clean install in so long I can't even remember. Any suggestions on how to prepare? Will I be able to recover all my e-mail and passwords without re-installing all my old software conflicts?
    If you're importing your user from a TM backup during the first boot setup wizard, it should import all of your keychain-stored passwords, etc. If you have passwords stored in other apps and reinstall them, the data in those apps stored in your account should be available. Using iCloud Keychain would serve a similar purpose as LastPass (or other 3rd party password sync tools). 3rd party software does support more platforms.

    As far as account and email data recovery, this will somewhat depend on what you're using for email currently, and what you choose to install after your clean install. If you're using Apple Mail, this should work out of the box. Otherwise, you'd need to install the same software again - and it should retain any settings.

    The bulk of your per-user config is stored in your user account's backup, and is copied to your system from the TM backup at user import. As long as your TM backup is from a user account that's from the same (or "pretty close") version OS, most per-user config just works as you'd expect.

    This does carry some cruft forward, but you have to be savvy to know what to remove.

    Likewise, a reinstall in-place or upgrading your existing install doesn't typically remove driver kexts or other stuff you've added. I respectfully disagree with the other poster for this reason regarding how you've described your suspicions about your particular issue. While an in-place reinstall or upgrade can help repair Apple-provided software that's been corrupted or whatever, I find it far less helpful with instability added by third-party drivers and software. If these are the source of your instability, you typically either need a nuke and reinstall, or removal of the specific stuff that's causing problems. It's not black magic, and is fairly logical - but it's not intuitive. You do have to know what you're doing. A nuke and reinstall is certainly less mental effort.

  4. #4
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    Hey Mac users: I'm clean-installing Sierra

    Quote Originally Posted by squaredot View Post
    If you're importing your user from a TM backup during the first boot setup wizard, it should import all of your keychain-stored passwords, etc. If you have passwords stored in other apps and reinstall them, the data in those apps stored in your account should be available. Using iCloud Keychain would serve a similar purpose as LastPass (or other 3rd party password sync tools). 3rd party software does support more platforms.

    As far as account and email data recovery, this will somewhat depend on what you're using for email currently, and what you choose to install after your clean install. If you're using Apple Mail, this should work out of the box. Otherwise, you'd need to install the same software again - and it should retain any settings.

    The bulk of your per-user config is stored in your user account's backup, and is copied to your system from the TM backup at user import. As long as your TM backup is from a user account that's from the same (or "pretty close") version OS, most per-user config just works as you'd expect.

    This does carry some cruft forward, but you have to be savvy to know what to remove.

    Likewise, a reinstall in-place or upgrading your existing install doesn't typically remove driver kexts or other stuff you've added. I respectfully disagree with the other poster for this reason regarding how you've described your suspicions about your particular issue. While an in-place reinstall or upgrade can help repair Apple-provided software that's been corrupted or whatever, I find it far less helpful with instability added by third-party drivers and software. If these are the source of your instability, you typically either need a nuke and reinstall, or removal of the specific stuff that's causing problems. It's not black magic, and is fairly logical - but it's not intuitive. You do have to know what you're doing. A nuke and reinstall is certainly less mental effort.
    Yes, I completely agree that doing a reinstall in place, or upgrading your current system will likely leave all of your existing problems with third party drivers as they are. I think my point in mentioning an in-place reinstall was if @Mtnman still needed legacy software that is fundamentally incompatible (I have relatives who are in this position). If he would have to reinstall all that old stuff anyway, an in-place install is a decent first step.

    A more likely situation is that the third party old stuff is no longer needed and can be disposed of safely.
    Last edited by Cristina; 09-04-2017 at 12:51 PM. Reason: To fix names

  5. #5
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    Thanks folks!

    One minor pain in the rear is that I am still using iPhoto 9.6.1. I share an iPhoto library with my family on an external hard drive. Their MacBook Pro is still on MacOS 10.9.5. I would also like to update it via clean install to 10.12 Sierra. Before I do that, I need to make sure I update their iPhoto to 9.6.1, as that is the "last" version and necessary to keep it running. So there's that extra pain as well.
    Owner of: Brain Bag backpack (Black), Field Journal Notebook (Blue), Snake Charmer (Small, Orange), Super Ego briefcase (Black / Indigo / Steel) with Reflective Strip, Brain Cell (Steel), Horizontal Freudian Slip, various Organizer Pouches and Key Straps, and a Side Effect (Black / Wassabi) worn as a belt-style hip-pack.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    Thanks folks!

    One minor pain in the rear is that I am still using iPhoto 9.6.1. I share an iPhoto library with my family on an external hard drive. Their MacBook Pro is still on MacOS 10.9.5. I would also like to update it via clean install to 10.12 Sierra. Before I do that, I need to make sure I update their iPhoto to 9.6.1, as that is the "last" version and necessary to keep it running. So there's that extra pain as well.
    I never kept track of iPhoto version numbers, but when I updated my laptop from 10.7.5 to 10.11, iPhoto got upgraded as well and I lost all of the Events groupings (I guess they got rid of Events sometime in the intervening eight years—like I said, I hate upgrading). If your relatives use events instead of albums in any significant way, beware of this and regroup into albums before the upgrade.

  7. #7
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    I upgraded to Sierra a few weeks ago and one big downside for me is that battery life is much worse than before (Yosemite). Not everyone who has upgraded has this issue so hopefully you don't see a difference.

  8. #8
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    I upgraded from 10.10.5 "Yosemite" to 10.12 "Sierra" yesterday, but my trusted computer specialist consultant, a man who has been in the computer business for 35 years and who knows Apple products like the back of his hand, talked me out of a clean install. He had me run Malwarebytes and CCleaner to clean things up. I'm still playing it by ear. If push comes to shove, I will wipe everything, do a real clean install of Sierra, and restore my data from a Time Machine backup.
    Owner of: Brain Bag backpack (Black), Field Journal Notebook (Blue), Snake Charmer (Small, Orange), Super Ego briefcase (Black / Indigo / Steel) with Reflective Strip, Brain Cell (Steel), Horizontal Freudian Slip, various Organizer Pouches and Key Straps, and a Side Effect (Black / Wassabi) worn as a belt-style hip-pack.

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