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  1. #1


    Member Since
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    Question Periodic Reformatting and Maintenance
    I'm relatively new to the macworld, having purchased my first 13" MacBook Pro 2.53GHz, 4GB RAM, 250GB HDD, with Snow Leopard v10.6.2 about 7 months ago. I can definitely say that I'm extremely impressed with the performance thus far.

    I've kept it pretty clean with a minimal amount of applications installed and have limited myself from experimenting too much to avoid any problems. Is there anything that I should be doing in terms of maintenance such as period reformatting or anything of that nature?

  2. #2


    Member Since
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    Back to my old 2.2GHz C2D MB after selling my MBP and wondering what my next Mac will be :)
    Once a month or so (can be a fair bit longer), use OnyX to clean up for you.
    Just use the automation tab once it has checked your smart status and verified your disk, and you are done.
    Other than that, just keep your trash empty, and your desktop free of clutter, and you are good to go.

    You can also use an app called MainMenu which do the same for you.

    As far as experimenting, don't be too afraid, but if unsure it is always good to ask first.

    The main thing I suggest is using time machine for backups onto an external drive for regular backups, and also using CCC or SuperDuper to create bootable clones of your system.
    The clones come in especially handy if your HD fails and you want to use your Mac until you replace it, as well as a quick restore of your system when you do replace your HD.

  3. #3


    Member Since
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6string View Post
    Once a month or so (can be a fair bit longer), use OnyX to clean up for you.
    Just use the automation tab once it has checked your smart status and verified your disk, and you are done.
    Other than that, just keep your trash empty, and your desktop free of clutter, and you are good to go.

    You can also use an app called MainMenu which do the same for you.

    As far as experimenting, don't be too afraid, but if unsure it is always good to ask first.

    The main thing I suggest is using time machine for backups onto an external drive for regular backups, and also using CCC or SuperDuper to create bootable clones of your system.
    The clones come in especially handy if your HD fails and you want to use your Mac until you replace it, as well as a quick restore of your system when you do replace your HD.
    Backing up is one thing that I've never done on all the computers I've owned. Not a very smart idea, but I now know it's importance.

    Time Machine has not been set up yet. Could you suggest a fast & reliable external hard-drive or what to look for when buying one? i.e. USB vs FireWire, storage capacity, brands, price etc.

    Thanks for your help

  4. #4

    bobtomay's Avatar
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    Along with the above, I'd say experiment all you want. The only time I've done a fresh install is after a new OS and that's just due to my preference. I keep over a hundred additional apps installed, and during the first couple of years with my Mac probably installed 400-500 others that were consequently removed. This has never caused the issues we're all familiar with in Windows that requires a clean install just to get your system back up to speed again. As an ex hard-core gamer, my Win rigs typically saw a clean install every 6 months.

    My wife's Mac is now on the 3rd OS just doing upgrades to each one, never a clean install. She visits and installs stuff from a lot of (what I call) junk sites. On her Win machines she'd have so much malware and spyware bogging down the system that a clean install about once a year was easier than trying to clean it any longer. This issue has also disappeared.
    I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
    In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.

  5. #5


    Member Since
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    Back to my old 2.2GHz C2D MB after selling my MBP and wondering what my next Mac will be :)
    External HD's are much in the much, but Firewire 800 is the go, and it has to be a SATA drive.
    I like to have double my HD size. Two cheap ones are the best bet, but you can always partition 1 good one for Time machine backups and clones.
    These are the sites to check out:
    Performance Upgrades; FireWire USB SATA Storage; Memory, more at OWC
    Newegg.com - Computer Parts, PC Components, Laptop Computers, LED LCD TV, Digital Cameras and more!
    CompUSA.com - Computers, Laptops, Televisions, Software, and Electronics from the All-New CompUSA!

  6. #6

    Collin Bl's Avatar
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    27 iMac i5, MBP 13 & iMac 20, 2TB dual TC, AppleTV, iPh4S
    An important question is Bootable back up or Time Machine back up. Look here at McBies comments they might help.

  7. #7


    Member Since
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannyV View Post
    I'm relatively new to the macworld, having purchased my first 13" MacBook Pro 2.53GHz, 4GB RAM, 250GB HDD, with Snow Leopard v10.6.2 about 7 months ago. I can definitely say that I'm extremely impressed with the performance thus far.

    I've kept it pretty clean with a minimal amount of applications installed and have limited myself from experimenting too much to avoid any problems. Is there anything that I should be doing in terms of maintenance such as period reformatting or anything of that nature?
    You need to let go of the Windows mentality. "Periodic reformatting?" That gets a big laugh round here.

    I'm glad you are enjoying your Mac, but your days of spending lots of time thinking about how to maintain your computer are OVER. Yes, the Mac works best with a small amount of maintenance, but it's nothing like what you're used to from Windows.

    As others have said, your best "insurance" against problems is a backup. Personally I keep TWO backups, both automated, since external hard drives are so ridiculously cheap these days. One is a Time Machine backup, the other is a "clone" backup (using either SuperDuper or Carbon Copy Cloner). Once set up, both take care of themselves automatically.

    Beyond that, I generally suggest the occasional (as in "once a month AT MOST") use of either Maintenance or OnyX (the former is just a simplied version of the latter), both free. There's another one I'm presently investigating called IceClean that seems nice too.

    For people who refuse to do regular backups or otherwise don't take care of their machine, I also suggest buying a copy of DiskWarrior. It's a one-trick pony but it does that one trick EXTREMELY well, by providing a bootable DVD with the one tool that is likely to fix a severely corrupted hard drive well enough to recover valuable data. I still use it once a year or so to "repair" the "creep" of directory fragmentation that occurs on a busy machine like mine, but I have to admit that for most users, if you follow the suggestions I've outlined above, you're actually pretty unlikely to need DW.

    Speaking of fragmentation, "defragging" is a constant concern among Windows users, but is practically a non-issue on the Mac unless you are routinely working with extraordinarily large files (editing HD video all the time, that sort of thing).

    I tend to swap out my machines (or at least the hard drives) every 2-3 years so I've not really had to worry about this, but people who keep their hard drives for a longer period should probably do what I guess you would call a "periodic reformatting" every couple of years. Basically the procedure is to clone your hard drive to an external, boot from the clone to make sure its good, then zero out the original boot drive, then clone back. You can also purchase something like iDefrag to do on-the-spot defragging for you if you prefer. This has the effect of "optimizing" the boot drive, but I just want to emphasize that Mac OS X has a limited version of "defragging" built right in, so this is NOT something you should need to do very often across the typical life of a machine or HD. Most Mac users never do it AT ALL.

    In summary, backups are your first line of defense against problems, and very little maintenance is needed beyond that -- but its a good idea to DO that little bit of maintenance every now and again.

  8. #8

    Collin Bl's Avatar
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    Actually like chas i do both - a SuperDuper before i add anytime a bit suspect to the HD or after i have made significant changes and a Time Machine every 24 hours. Managed to corrupt my WideMail plugin installation so booted of Ext HD and restored back to HD. Dead simple

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