View Full Version : 10.4 Tiger: Complete Reinstall Or Just An Upgrade?

29th April 2005, 10:12 PM
Ok, so with various people posting in other threads that they're having problems, and others having none at all - can anyone recommend whether i'd be better off doing a complete re-install, rather than an upgrade?

I've got a Rev C. 15" PB i brought mid-last year, so it hadn't accumulated much rubbish on it.. and I'm not a heavy user by any means, so it would just mean a backup of all my day-to-day crap onto one ot two DVD's, and then just making sure my regular Music and iPhoto backups are done, before wiping the lot and starting again with a complete re-install with Tiger..

Or is an upgrade over the top of the old OS just as good???

I'm unsure whether the drama of a complete reinstall is worth it, unless someone says otherwise.

And if I do a complete re-install with the new OS, will I need to put my old 10.3 DVD in, to re-install iLife 4.0 which came with my original OS last year..

Any advice is appreciated.. :D


29th April 2005, 10:21 PM
I got back from a launch party about an hour ago and did a complete erase and install again. I have has my ibook only for 6 months but already had over 30 gig already used.. with printer drivers and stuff like that i didnt watn. Just backed up everything that i really needed documanet wise so didnt back up programs and got rid of the whole lot.

Getting everything back on now. Seems to be running a lot better then Panther was just by the speed of this thing and no problems when doing this.

If you have not bough iLife 05 or any other program that has been updated. you will have to use your Panther install Disk and re install from there. There is a icon with Addication Software to install


29th April 2005, 11:01 PM
An upgrade over the old OS should be fine. If you experience problems, try repairing permissions. If that fails then do a clean install.

Cheers. :P

29th April 2005, 11:33 PM
I prefer a clean install, that way there wont be as many problems with it. Re-installing a few things takes perhaps an hour or less. Unlikes windows which could take 4 or more hours...!

iLuxo III
30th April 2005, 12:02 AM
Installed on three macs tonight.

The first was a G4 iMac with 10.3.9, 3 user accounts and which has religiously not been messed with or had indiscriminate shareware on it.

When this booted it had Safari freeze a couple of times, Word crashed the first time but was OK after that.

The seond was my modded B&W G3 and I did an "archive and install" but set it to transfer my account settings and documents.

The result of this was faster than the G4 to install, and the result has been 100% perfect.

Consequently I'd recommend anyone to an archive and install, just remember to retain your settings and files. Even if you don't remember they aren't lost, they just finish up in the "Old System" folder.

30th April 2005, 12:18 AM
if you update make sure that you don't have any programs set to launch on start up. i have over 10 that always launch and i didn't think about changing it before i updated.
i had spotlight doing its indexing thing and a bunch of haxies coming up with warnings that they no longer work and then mail wanted to import my mailboxes, while all these programs are trying to launch and then the adium beta decided to crash.
my poor computer was locked up for about 10 minutes.

once that was all over everything is working great. dashboard has quit on me twice already though

30th April 2005, 01:11 AM
Well my install went flawlessly, I guess I took a couple of precautions; I did backup (though not an exact backup, just the important bits, across a couple of DVDs, and my iPod!), and I did use Onyx to run itís automated set of scripts, Unix cleanup, clearing caches, logs etc.

That's more prep than I've done for most of my previous upgrades, although I've added a lot over time, so this time I wanted to do a little clean up -- I stripped out a few apps, turned off all of my PrefPanes, Input Managers etc. (so they wouldn't try to run when I restarted into Tiger), ran Onyx and did an Archive & Install.

All going well, and it looks to be a nice system. My machine is rather sprightly... it doesn't feel 'fast', so much (it's a PB G4 1Ghz, and I work on a G5 DP 2Ghz) as it doesn't feel sluggish, it feels the way it should do, the UI feels responsive, and fluid. Expose runs even smoother (64Mb Radeon), and there's much less disk accessing going on, the machine doesn't seem to be 'thinking' as much as it usually does, and this is probably mainly down to reduced memory.

I use Memory Monitor, to map usage, and without all of the little apps that I ran for Menu Extras, and other features, memory usage is way down... oh yeah, and it may have to do with clearing the HD quite a bit... so, a very unscientific report, but it feels good! : )

30th April 2005, 01:33 AM
I did a format and repartition, as I was unhappy with my efforts earlier in the week.

The installation went smoothly, however when I tried to move the home directories off the system partition I had problems with keychains and permissions in the new ~/Library/Keychains folder, whereas doing exactly the same thing in 10.3(.9) was flawless. That all somehow fixed itself on a reboot (repairing permissions, resetting keychains, chmodding 777 made no obvious differences)...

I've had one other problem while I was out of the room... when I got back, the airport card had lost it's connection mid-download, and all programs including Dock and Finder were either process stuck or slow as a dog. System load was 0.2, plently of memory, no HDD crunching. A reset fixed that as well.

In general, I'm not noticing any significant differences in performance (yet) - expose seems a tad slower zooming in and out, but everything else is fine...

30th April 2005, 01:52 AM
I decided to do a clean install, as since acquiring my G5 in 2003 i'd built up alot of crap.

Before installing I made a list of all the applications I wanted to keep and then put all their installers on my ipod, after that I backed up all my docs and various prefs using backup. Once I had tiger up and running restoring from backup was an absolute breeze, I can't believe how well it worked. All I had to do was authorize keychain access to a few app's and now mail, safari etc... are working as before.

And before I finish, how good is dashboard?
I just done an online quiz for one of my uni courses and using the dash calculator was just so effortless, I tip my hat to the software engineers who created it.


30th April 2005, 03:52 AM
When it comes time to do mine, I will do a clean install..

30th April 2005, 05:31 AM
Thanks to all.. I'm glad I posted the question.

I've decided I will do a clean install when I get it sometime over this long weekend (over here), and will make sure everything is backed up before I let the Tiger loose :lol:

Can't wait for my broadband which arrives mid-next week, meaning i'll have the Dashboard and Widgets running with everything I need to know at a glance - this will be great as having no TV at the new place i'm moving into tomorrow will be a bummer..

I'm gonna look into a Widget that keeps track of the London Undergound and Transport for London service updates, so I can see where the Tube etc. is buggered - that'd be neat!!

30th April 2005, 10:40 AM
some more reading for you spargo....


30th April 2005, 10:56 AM
As I did a clean instal a few weeks ago, I just did an upgrade & everything is working fine.

30th April 2005, 12:58 PM
I just did a plain upgrade and didn't run into any major problems. I didn't have a firewire drive handy and there's a fair bit of stuff on here that I've downloaded that's not important enough to backup across the network (well I was too impatient perhaps) but that I didn't want to discard. The only problem I had was with Saft Lite which I should have removed already since IDN spoofing is fixed in Safari. Also iTunes is crashing when I try to play OGG files, looks like there's no OGG Vorbis extension for QuickTime 7.0 (same problem for people upgrading to this on 10.3.9). I wish Apple would just support OGG and get it done with.

30th April 2005, 01:58 PM
Upgrading should be fine - maybe do a permisisons repair first. The problem come when you have quite a bit of 3rd party stuff installed, some of which is going to break with the upgrade, and cause problems.

I tend now to install all 3rd party things that mod apps or the system in my own user folder rather than the global /Library. This way, if something is playing up, I only have to login as another user to find out if it's a 3rd party piece of software causing problems or not. Quite a few program problems I found to be due to Unsanity's Metalfizer this way.

30th April 2005, 02:42 PM
Hopefully this is on topic but given the problems I had with 10.3.9 I am a little more cautious that I would have been.

If I do a clean install and therefore back up first - what are the key settings I need to reinstall.

With iTunes is it the Library XML file I need to reinstall or are there a series of files in the /System/Library/Applications Support I will need.

As I am taking advantage of the Tiger deal and getting iLife 05 and iWorks I'll also want to import my photo libraries etc and although my OS 8 days tells me just putting it in the right folder would work I am assuming I'll need to copy library files across and obviously if the new install places new ones I'm either going to corrupt something or or need to reset all my preferences.

I am assuming that the "Archive and Install"option overcomes this but will I lose that advantage with a clean install.

Of course if I had more than 10G left on my drive and less than 4 user accounts on my machine this would be an easier process.

Any ideas, guidance and hints gratefully appreciated.

1st May 2005, 09:14 AM
I did a complete reinstall, and sort of wish I'd just upgraded. I'm now without iPhoto, as I was too thick to realise that Tiger doesn't have iPhoto and iMovie like Panther, which is no great shame, but it was the easiest way to get pictures off my camera.

Nonetheless, complete reinstall is always good, no matter what the platform.

1st May 2005, 09:42 AM
I usually achive and install keeping users and network settings as the options give. This way, system level stuff, such as kernel extensions and software additions for things such as quicktime aren't installed, as they are the ones most likely to cause serious problems. I can always drag out anything required from the previous system if needed.

1st May 2005, 09:59 AM
im going to do a format and install on both my systems
may aswell clean everything up while im doing it

1st May 2005, 09:17 PM
With my PowerMac having two identical hard disks, I have Panther on one drive and I did a clean Tiger format/install on the other disk and used Information Transfer to get everything from the Panther disk. It was brilliant. Left me no work to do and I had ALL my apps, email, bookmarks, folders moved to the Tiger disk in the same locations as previous. Highly recommended method.

For my PowerBook I used the PowerMac Tiger hard disk to be the FireWire Target Mode disk to do a clean install and Information Transfer to the PowerBook. This time I said not to copy the applications because many of them were not wanted on the PowerBook. The interesting thing about this is that all my application .plist prefs and and application support folders came across anyway. This turned out to be very handy because any apps I do choose to install are already serial numbered and ready to run immediately. Again, a very fast method of getting a Mac fully loaded from a clean in stall.

MacOSX Tiger? I luvs ya!

2nd May 2005, 12:37 AM
did an upgrade this evening, went very smoothly and everything is running nicely.

only negative is that my apache server is no longer running as the default macosx one is back in action.

2nd May 2005, 12:45 AM
I'd reccomend doing a clean install, Its worth it just to clean out your system and start over.

Archive and install is also good if you want to keep your settings.

2nd May 2005, 04:06 PM
Originally posted by hsvguy@May 2 2005, 01:45 AM
I'd reccomend doing a clean install, Its worth it just to clean out your system and start over.
I would too, except that I only just reinstalled 10.3 about a month & a half ago :(

2nd May 2005, 04:12 PM
Originally posted by cmetom@May 2 2005, 01:37 AM
only negative is that my apache server is no longer running as the default macosx one is back in action.
yeah OS X always does that.
just a note that apache 2,mysql and php 4 and 5 all work fine in tiger

2nd May 2005, 04:40 PM
Clean install

4th May 2005, 07:25 AM
Just to finish this thread off, I have been looking at all of the Tiger Help info on the Apple support section of their main site, prior to purchase and install, and this is the best thing to read prior to taking the plunge into the Tiger jungle..


19th September 2005, 03:44 PM
As I am about to install Tiger X,4,2, what are the merits and otherwise of the following methods?



CLEAN INSTALL after zeroing HDD

Many thanks

Harry :huh:

19th September 2005, 03:48 PM
Upgrade: Copies the new system over the old system.

Archive & Install: Copies the old system to a folder and installs a new system.

Clean Install: Erases all data, formats HD and installs a new system.


edit: What i usually do, is backup all my data and do a clean install. You should have backed up anyway before upgrading to tiger, so i'd suggest going with that option.

19th September 2005, 03:49 PM
Thank you.

Know the details just wanted opinion/s on best/not so hot method.


19th September 2005, 03:51 PM
Upgrade will keep all your current files, and settings in tact and will just make your current system into tiger ...

archive and install will make a new home folder and install a fresh copy of tiger on it.

clean install will delete everything and format etc, and install a very clean install of tiger (preferred method)

if you want to do an upgrade, then make sure you repair permissions, from the os x CD before and after the update.

21st September 2005, 08:48 AM
Thanks for the responses.

My question is about which is the best method. Have been told:-

Upgrade is unwise as one takes all corrupted files etc into new system.

Archive and Install can be 'flakey' at times with less than perfect results.


21st September 2005, 08:57 AM
I don't like doing anything except a fresh install because you'll be leaving unnecessary files behind, but if you don't want to wipe the disk, do an Archive and Install. It's safer than an Upgrade.

21st September 2005, 08:58 AM
I always do a clean instal after backing up all my data, to keep my machine clean and ensure minimal conflicts. I tend not to see many of the OS complaints voiced here and on other forums.
Also 10.4.2 breaks ISDN if you are on it.

21st September 2005, 10:19 AM
Originally posted by harryb2448@Sep 21 2005, 08:48 AM
Thanks for the responses.

My question is about which is the best method. Have been told:-

Upgrade is unwise as one takes all corrupted files etc into new system.

Archive and Install can be 'flakey' at times with less than perfect results.

You have been told some funny things.

Files don't become corrupted. "Flakey" means what exactly? Get the idea?

The things that can go wrong are generally as follows:

You have third party stuff installed that, say, modifies system behaviour, such as unsanity.com's Haxies that in whatever version is installed isn't compatible with Tiger. When you reboot into the new system, things go haywire. Third party software such as this amounts to 80% of the problems you might encounter.

As time goes by and you've installed software, the installers have modified the permissions set on various bits of the System. This is easily fixed if you a: have sensibly NEVER deleted anything in /Library/Receipts and b: have run "Repair Permissions" in Disk Utility after running any software installer. Third party software installers buggering permissions amounts to 19.99% of problems that become apparent after an upgrade.

This doesn't include software that plain doesn't work, properly or fullstop, with the new OS.

Generally speaking though, an Archive Install (Clean install is what we used to call it in pre-OSX days) will be less likely to cause problems by shear probability as it would remove anything installed at system level (ie: into /Library or /System) such as hardware drivers, Norton crap, things that modify the behaviour of the GUI etc etc, unless you've selected to install those things only for the main user of the computer (in your /Users/username/Library).

Is this making sense so far?

21st September 2005, 11:32 AM
Originally posted by Currawong@Sep 21 2005, 10:19 AM
"Flakey" means what exactly?
'Flakey' = dodgy/unreliable ;)

21st September 2005, 02:40 PM
Thanks Currawong.

Archive Install it will be as I have not deleted any files, run Repair Permissions before and after all software installs and at least weekly at other times.

21st September 2005, 04:06 PM
I did the Upgrade and then had to do the permissions thing and then everything was hunky-dory.

21st September 2005, 04:32 PM
Another option (after a full back up onto external or 2nd internal HD) is to do a clean install and then use a migration assitant to move all the data. Not sure if it moves the apps though.

21st September 2005, 06:52 PM
The Migration Assistant does move the apps.

I'd say you'd be fine with an Archive install. My main point is, things don't just break by themselves, there are logical reasons that problems occur. As 99.99% of problems are caused by third party software not being compatible or doing unnecessary things at installation, then that is really all you need to worry about.

By the way, I used to repair permissions weekly, until I realised that permissions don't just break themselves and it was installers that were causing the problems. All one needs to do is, after installing software that asks for your admin password, is repair permissions then.

23rd September 2005, 08:51 AM
Interesting Currawong.

The reason Tiger has been rushed upon me is problems with X.3.9 after the last Software Update. I see other posts on the updates elsewhere in forums.

Mail has been having huge problems since download and install two weeks or so ago and yes, repair permissions, download, install and again repair permissions, receiving okay, but sending just not working. Delete account, and set up identicalaccount and will work for several days and then message error advises unable to connect to server mail saved.

My ISP believes the problem has been caused by last update. They, like all ISP using dialup, have periods when Telstra or themselvers take servers offline to maintain equipment and it appears Mail cannot connect to server after it comes back online.

As identical problem happens with Thunderbird, is my end and not ISP hence install Tiger and hopefully Mail will perform better.

29th December 2005, 08:22 PM

My brother is currently running 10.3.9 and he is looking to upgrade his PowerBook to Tiger. He has a lot of applications, settings and files already on his Mac and looking for the most painless option when upgrading. i.e. keep all files and applications and settings during the upgrade.

Which option should he take? and what are the differences with each option?


29th December 2005, 10:43 PM
This topic has come up numerous times on the forums, perhaps time for a sticky?

Anywho, check out this thread, it is one of many that deals with the different Mac OS X installation methods.


EDIT: Found another good thread that deals with the issue of choosing the installation method:


EDIT AGAIN: Apple have a good explanation of the differences on their KnowledgeBase:


Hope that helps!

30th December 2005, 07:23 AM
Originally posted by tommelbourne@Dec 29 2005, 11:43 PM
This topic has come up numerous times on the forums, perhaps time for a sticky?
Tom, you're a champion for finding the threads. Mega-merge-and-sticky done!

30th December 2005, 08:26 AM
Originally posted by Currawong@Sep 21 2005, 06:52 PM
My main point is, things don't just break by themselves, there are logical reasons that problems occur.
Whilst I agree with you most of the time, this morning was a good example on my eMac.

I turned it on and the date had reset itself to 1 Jan 1970 and a warning box on the screen was pointing this out to me.

Now I was using said machine last night with no problems at all and had not modified or added any programs.

I still believe it is better to start afresh each time so you can fault find each OS upgrade and work out for yourself which of your previous apps conflict with it.


30th December 2005, 09:47 AM
emacmark: That sounds like the PRAM battery needs replacing. Very logical ;)

30th December 2005, 10:35 AM
How long should these last?
The emac is only 17 months old.

edit: and if it is logical, then maybe the warning window should prompt me in that direction instead of saying my system may become unstable with the use of that date?

edit2: Also, I can't find any help on the apple site to change the battery in an eMac. Is it possible for me to carry this out?


10th February 2006, 12:19 AM
Thought I'd add my two cents to this thread:

Today I performed an erase and install on my 12" PB G4. I was a nervous wreck going into it as I was scared that:
1) I hadn't backed up everything properly
2) Upon reinstallation stuff wouldn't work anymore
3) I wouldn't be able to run Classic anymore after reading horror stories on the Apple discussion boards about people not being able to install Classic after an Erase and Install
4) I had never done it before!

Well everything is now back up and running almost exactly the way it was? The only difference? Everything feels faster and snappier now&#33; (and I did forget to backup a folder of icons I liked <_< )

But otherwise I&#39;m very impressed- Apple made the whole process very easy. And my only backup method was on CD and DVD- no external HD for me&#33;

Kudos to Apple again on their OS. After using Macs at school since 2000 and switching myself last year, I can only sigh at my PC in exasperation as it crashes yet again........

18th March 2006, 07:02 PM
I always erase and install when doing an upgrade like that, sort of like spring cleaning...