Reinstalling Snow Leopard

in macOS edited January 2014

This is a bit embarrassing as I've been using OS X for ten years.  My present iMac / Snow Leopard is getting a little flaky.  The worst culprit is that highlighting gets anchored to one spot and enlarges as I move the cursor.  That means that I have a problem moving on to another item.  I usually have to reboot to shake the anchor loose. 


Anyway, I want to redo Snow Leopard OS, but keep everything else.  You might think that would be a simple task for a ten year veteran; however, I can't recall how I did that in the past installing newer OS's.  You could call it having a senior moment which I've been having more and more often lately. I'm well into my octogenarian decade.


I'd like advice as I'm concerned that I might screw up something and lose content. I back up everything internally and externally; however, recently, I tried to recover something from Time Machine and that was a fiasco.  Even though the item had been backed up numerous times, It wasn't on Time Machine when I looked for it.  I could see the file, but it was empty. Scary~!!!  It was all my financial ID's and pass codes on an app called KeePass.  Gone.


I want to avoid losing data, so I'm asking for advice.for redoing just the OS.


I'll probably buy and install Mountain Lion when it's out, so I'll have the same questions then.


  • Reply 1 of 4
    pbpb Posts: 4,234member

    What I remember I did in the past, though it was at a time when I had just a few GB of personal data, was to copy my home directory (and eventually the Applications directory) to external hard drives and CD/DVD's, verify the integrity of the most important data in these back-ups, and then reinstall the OS by erasing the internal hard disk. Then I created a normal user (I avoid always the default admin user for everyday work) with the same name and password as before, and then I copied the whole old home directory back. It worked without problems but I have not tried this in a newer OS  X version. On the other hand I don't see why it would not work.


    Also, older Mac OS X versions offered the option to "archive and install". It installed a fresh copy of the OS while keeping a copy of almost everything (user's data included) in "/Previous Systems" or something like that. Of course not a replacement for back-ups but very handy to move back again in their place your data. I don't know if Snow Leopard still has this option.


    The incident you reported with Time Machine is scary and very strange. I will check mine when at home to see if there are such empty files in the back-up.

  • Reply 2 of 4
    sequitursequitur Posts: 1,910member

    Thanks.  I had trouble answering earlier. My keyboard kept typing weird symbols instead of letters.  Rebooting didn't help; however, disconnecting my wireless keyboard and then reconnecting it did solve the problem.  My iMac is really flaky now.


    As far as the failed Time Machine file, I went back through about twenty iterations and those files were all empty.  I can't trust Time Machine anymore. Of course, the other SuperDuper back ups were lacking that file as my SD configuration  backs up only the current iteration and since the file was missing from my computer, it wasn't on the back up HDD's.


    Is nothing safe or sacred?

  • Reply 3 of 4
    sequitursequitur Posts: 1,910member

    I found this article on :

    Previous versions of OS X had installers that could perform various types of installations. The most popular types of installations were ‘Erase and Install’ (sometimes called a clean install), ‘Archive,’ and ‘Upgrade.’ The Snow Leopard installer has no option for performing any type of installation other than an upgrade, but with a few extra steps, you can get it to perform an ‘Erase and Install’ for you.



    Hopefully, it will work for me.

  • Reply 4 of 4
    pbpb Posts: 4,234member

    Interesting. Please tell us what happens in your case after you try it.

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