24 Comments

Summary:

So after a solid year of careless downloads, installs, file storage, and a plethora of other bad usage habits, I’m going to do a clean install of Tiger. This time around I’d like to do it right. I need an environment that’s conducive to a fast […]

So after a solid year of careless downloads, installs, file storage, and a plethora of other bad usage habits, I’m going to do a clean install of Tiger.

This time around I’d like to do it right. I need an environment that’s conducive to a fast working environment as well as one that’s code for not only keeping up with the many design jobs I’ve got going but development as well.

So the question here really is, “If you could start from scratch on a fresh machine, what would you do differently?”

Edit: Just to clarify here…I’m not so much talking “how you would do a backup/clean install” but rather “what would you do AFTER you’ve cleaned everything off and have a fresh machine.” We’re talking file structure, organization, etc etc. Things to increase productivity and decrease problems.

  1. i recently did a clean install over xmas to get rid of that botched iTunes install from versions back, but it was an archive install, so i got to keep everything i had, and i liked that very much :o

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  2. I recently did a bit of this myself. Here’s the setup I ended up with.

    I got myself a copy of SuperDuper! (http://www.shirt-pocket.com/SuperDuper/SuperDuperDescription.html) and two external hard drives. Using SuperDuper!, I made a bootable backup copy of my iMac’s entire hard drive on the first external drive. Next, I made another bootable copy of my iMac onto the other hard drive, and set my iMac to boot and operate from this drive. This drive is now my “sandbox.” If I install an update or application that hoses something, it’s no big deal, as my iMac’s internal drive was untouched. I need only to reboot from the iMac’s internal drive, us it to restore the sandbox and I’m all set. Disaster recovery in a matter of minutes. Once a patch is released to fix that faulty update (or application), I can install it on the iMac’s internal drive.

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  3. Erik Swanson Friday, April 28, 2006

    • Skip installation of Apple-supplied printer drivers
    • Skip installation of “Extra Fonts”

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  4. Get AppZapper and use it regularly.

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  5. Keep EVERYTHING is a specific subdirectory, such as your documents folder under various things like ‘Downloads’ and ‘Dev’ and ‘pr0n’, etc… Then next time you do a fresh install you just copy it to an external location and then copy it back.

    Careful with applications though, i had a few dissapear on me when copying them back… But things like music, pictures, etc, all work out great, you just copy your entire documents folder back in and they replace the ‘default’/mostly empty system ones.

    Then get a cool desktop background, install quicksilver and textmate and you’re good to go :)

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  6. I save the dmg files of apps I download in an archive folder, and back them up along with everything else.

    I find that “one big folder with tags” scary. I really like structured heirarchies, you should see my file cabinet. Maybe i’ll try it on the laptop and see how it works.

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  7. I would not organize applications in subfolders. I do that now, and anytime I run an update I have to move the apple apps to the root of /Applications, and then move them back to their subfolders afterward. This obviously introduces the risk that I’ll forget something (which I have done), and an app will break (which has happened). For example, I no longer have a functioning FontBook.app because of this.

    As much as I hate to say it, I’d follow apple’s folder structure for documents, pictures, apps, etc.

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  8. As far as applications go, I leave Apple’s apps in /Applications and any apps I download go into /home//Applications (which is a folder I created). If I download an app I consider to be a “utility” more than a day-to-day application, I install it into the /Applications/Utilities folder.

    I put only the apps I use often (daily) into my dock, and the rest I get to through HimmelBar (Google it, I love it). I control my iTunes with ByteController so I don’t have to always be looking at the iTunes window or mini-player.

    My Documents folder is organized into subfoldes based on topic (Work, Website, _Miscellaneous, etc), and I do my best to keep things organized.

    I do a fair amount of work in Terminal, so I downloaded iTerm for it’s tabbed-windowing abilities.

    So, I suppose the point of all this is to keep it minimal (so you’re not distracted) but keep everything in a place that’s easy to get to (so you don’t waste time finding it). For example, I have all my applications readily available from the desktop, even though I rarely use the ones that aren’t in my Dock.

    At any rate – that’s what I do, hope that helps.

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  9. “I find that “one big folder with tags” scary.”

    Agreed, I wasn’t suggesting that, of course. Tags are evil when it comes to your overall directory structure… Has to be some ‘hard’ distinction between files. I’m just saying put it all in your Documents folder or in your home folder, or whatever, so that when you go to back stuff up you dont have random folders all over the drive.

    “I would not organize applications in subfolders.”

    Definitely don’t move any apps from where they want to be, except games, I’ve never had a problem moving noiz2sa from Applications to Applications/Games :)

    “As much as I hate to say it, I’d follow apple’s folder structure for documents, pictures, apps, etc.”

    Why do you hate to say it? :P Apple knows what they’re doing! :)

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  10. Interesting, I’m contemplating doing this too. I’m going to what I should have done and set up a single Admin account which only gets used as and when is totally necessary. Then I’ll have a separate account for ‘normal user’ (browsing, e-mail, normal everyday use, &c.) and ‘development’ (for php, mysql, ruby, &c.). I’ll also make sure to install development stuff into /usr/local/ to keep it separate from the Tiger defaults.

    I, too, keep an ‘archive’ of installation files but apart from apps, I stick everything under the home folder.

    The most important thing I’ll do, though, is to set up a scheduled job to back-up my data to my Strongspace account and to an external hard drive. Exceptions: E-mail, which is IMAP anyway; iCal, which I publish to my Textdrive WebDAV account and sync with my phone; Address Book, which is on my Joyent account as well as sync’d with my phone.

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