In defence of the clean install

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I’m a great believer in the clean OS install. I’m not talking about when it comes to installing Windows – a fresh start for any new Microsoft release should really go without saying – I mean installing the latest Mac OS.

I know Apple tries to make every new OS update as seamless and simple as possible to make Mac users’ lives easier, and I’m very grateful for its ‘Restore from Time Machine backup’ and ‘Migration Assistant’ options. But there’s something pure and spring-fresh about starting all over again from a blank slate and reinstalling everything from scratch.

There’s productivity benefits to be had for a start. I can’t concentrate on my work if I’m physically surrounded by coffee-mug-ringed scraps of paper and crumples of unsorted documents. Shovelling stuff into drawers just so it’s ‘out of sight, out of mind’ doesn’t work for me either. I have x-ray vision for that crap. If I know it’s there then nothing’s going to let me forget it. I get an ‘icky’ feeling and I have to clean up.

Same thing goes for my Mac system. So my desktop is tidy – so what? That says nothing about the state of my folders, my media or any long-forgotten apps lurking on my drive. It’s not just a bad placebo effect either. Searches gradually become slower, login times incrementally extend… And then there’s that quirky behaviour I introduced into the OS when I changed some setting or other, or downloaded that anonymous tool that promised to make me work smarter.

A clean install lets you rid yourself of all these irks – and more – in one fell swoop. It also lets you take stock of your file and folder hierarchies, allowing you to recalibrate your workflow and claim back time and space. If I’ve even half convinced you of the inherent benefits, head over to my latest TechRadar guide on how to download and perform a clean install of El Capitan on your Mac. Once it’s done, you won’t look back.

TechRadar link