As an opening blog post I wanted to highlight how easy, and yet pointless, a clean install of Mavericks is. Here’s the approach I took:

  1. Make a bootable Mavericks installer on a USB stick, one example of how is here
  2. Find yourself a drive big enough to contain everything on your current Mac
  3. Erase and reformat the drive, give it a single partition with journalling
  4. Get a copy of Carbon Copy Cloner, and copy your entire drive to the external unit, making a bootable copy
  5. Wait quite some time
  6. Reboot your Mac and check the external drive is bootable and working well (hold down Option when you boot up to choose the external drive)
  7. Run Disk Assistant
  8. Assuming you are confident, erase your Mac HD – scary
  9. Reboot again, but this time boot using the USB stick you made in step 1
  10. Install Mavericks – wait quite a while
  11. Reboot your fresh Mac and use Software Update to catch up with any new releases
  12. Phase 1 is done – your Mac is now blank
  13. Connect your external drive from step 5 above
  14. Run Migration Assistant – choose to copy from the external drive, and don’t choose Applications
  15. Wait quite a while – the MA will restore all your data and crucially all your settings too, including passwords and software keys
  16. Phase 2 complete – your Mac is now fresh plus your data (and your login)
  17. Now start replacing your software
    1. Use Mac App Store to re-install anything you bought – very easy
    2. Mount your external drive again, you can drag and drop apps from one Applications folder to another
    3. Keep going until all the software you need is added back and working

I was surprised this was easier than I expected, I managed it all on a Sunday evening for 500Gb of data to shuffle around. The bit that annoyed me was this: if I click the Finder or Safari in the Dock, their windows don’t restore properly, I don’t know why, maybe it’s RightZoom, but I don’t know.

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