Reinstalling Leopard?

Since installing Leopard my Macbook has been slower than I’d like. Most of the time it’s fine, but occasionally it spazzes out - only very slightly but enough to make me worry about it.

Anyway - from what I’ve heard, the best thing, when installing a new operating system, is to backup your old one, wipe your disk and then restore the things you actually want.

How to go about this, however, is beyond me.

If anyone has done this, please tell me what I need to know so that I don’t just kill my laptop and everything in it.

Before you do a complete reinstall I would attempt a few things first.


First make sure you have all your important files and apps backed up!


Ok. Now that you have a safe “copy” of everything I would attempt some things to fix things before doing a complete reinstall.

(1) Step one
Startup off your OSX Leopard DVD.
Do not click install. Instead go under the top menu and select DISK UTITILITES.

(2) Select your HD in the left pane. Then go to the bottom right of the window and select REPAIR disk.

Let it run for awhile. Once it is done if ANYTHING showed that it was repaired (in red) then run REPAIR disk again

Note: If nothing is repaired it will still say “HD Repaired Succesfully”. No need to run again unless something appears in RED.

(3) After repairing, click REPAIR PERMISSIONS. This will take some time.

test the system and see if it improves.

Some other tweaks can be done to “speed up” leopard a tad. One thing is Leopard is more aggressive visually so your Macbook sharing memory with your GPU can lead to some sluggishness during heavy ram/cpu loads.

The biggest improvement you would see is increasing the ram to 2G and make a few preference changes.

Thanks Wock.

I talked to an Apple dude and he said that no matter how much maintance you do, the clean install option (while drastic) is ALWAYS a good idea when installing a new operating system.

I’m quite well backed-up already, but I will run another one before I do it.

When I can afford it, I would REALLY like an extra gig of RAM. I make music and work with photos ALOT (its the main reason I have my mac) so an extra gig would be BRILLIANT when running, say, Logic. At the moment, if I’ve got lots of midi going I have to Freeze ALL the time, sometimes it just plain spazzes out when I’m running Ultrabeat (a drum synth with a seperate synth per drum; it’s AWESOME but a complete memory hog) or Rewire.

I run Logic 8 myself. A hint of advice is to get all your “live recordings” done before you start using any plug ins because of the latency issue (depending on your hardware). Then as you edit each track only use plugins for that particular track, turning them off once they are set until you are ready to hear the whole “ensemble” and need to apply plugins (EQ’s) for the whole sound. The plugins can really hog things and bog things down. Doing this little trick streamlines your use and plug ins are only active when they are needed, making things move along much faster. Just can be tricky listening to “raw edits” at times. THose times do a playback with plug ins to ensure things then turn them back off until needed. :slight_smile:

Ram will make a HUGE difference for you and yes a Clean install is always best (works out any carried over Gremlins) but also a clean install you must start from the ground up reinstalling things, setting preferences, etc. So patience is the key. Or plan it on a weekend when you don’t have any pressing matters and no work that has to be done on the Computer. Gives you plenty of time.

Also a recommendation.

Clean install.
Then REPAIR permissions.
Then run software update. And update the OS to the most current.
Then Repair permissions.
Then install your Major software (large titles like Logic).
Then repair permissions.
Then install the small apps (secondary apps you use.)
Then repair permissions.
Then run software update again.
If any updates come through install them then…

Yup repair permissions.

Then in the future you only need to repair permissions say about once a month or whenever you do a software update or install.

This will ensure a good crisp install and help prevent “permission gremlins” from popping up in the near future.

It is suggested and highly recommended to repair permissions BEFORE an install. This keeps the install from being corrupt or failing do to problematic permission issues. Takes more time but in the long run keeps things running smooth and better performance.


Thanks a lot - a bit delayed but it seems to be working so far.
I am in the middle of reinstalling Logic (having just done Leopard).

I just thought - for the Logic streamlining you’re suggesting, you could just Freeze the tracks you’re not editing (this creates a “Freeze file” an audio file that has all the edits built in to the actual wave-form itself, which it plays instead of the original audio file - you can’t edit anything about that track while it’s frozen, but you can unfreeze it later)! That way you don’t get the latency/memory issues, but also don’t have to listen to raw edits all the time.

Wock, your Mac advice is normally sound, but:

This is hokum, and has been ‘exposed’ as hokum many, many times. Unless you are having, or suspect you are having, actual permission-related problems there is absolutely no need to repair permissions all the time like it’s some kind of panacea.

It will not make your Mac run faster, it will not ensure you have a problem-free install, it will not magically ‘clean up’ your Mac after you’ve done an install. Conversely, not repairing permissions will not screw your Mac up, or cause problems with an install/update, etc.

It’s hogwash, voodoo and superstition all rolled into one.

Sorry, Antony, although I agree with the observation that repairing permissions is not a panacea, I must disagree with the line I quote above. Up until late Tiger, repairing permissions solved a lot of seemingly intractable problems. A lot of the naysayers were individuals; not system administrators who regularly see and saw permissions repair as a genuinely useful tool. Flash player, Microsoft apps, Apple application installers (iWork comes to mind), and the particularly vile printer and scanner driver installers have all created subtle mayhem with improper permissions assignments. That said, I find Leopard to need far less of Wock’s prescription but I still repair permissions after major system updates (and every goddamn time I have to install new printer drivers).


I wish I was able to repair permissions, or at least verify permissions. On my MBP, it gets about a fifth of the way across the barometer and then stops … nothing comes up in the log, it seems. If I boot from the install disk and run it, nothing happens at all! <sigh!> So I was wondering if 10.5.2 is automatically self-repairing? I know it’s supposed to do something called “cron” jobs, or something like that, and there has been discussion that Tiger didn’t do that properly. Is it happening under Leopard? Is that why repair permissions is simply not doing anything … or do I have to do a complete clean install – God forbid! – in order to sort out some deeper underlying problem?

Nothing SEEMS to be going wrong with my MBP, but I got used to repairing permissions periodically under Tiger.


The Leopard Disk Utility does permission repair quite differently. It takes much longer. If you check on this topic you’ll find much moaning about your issue. The simple answer is to set it running (not from the DVD), go off on a mile or two run and it’ll be done when you get back. Apparently, after the first time, the subsequent ones will be faster. And, as I said, you won’t have to do it as much as in the past.


Dave, thanks very much. Never having been a runner — in 10.5 years of enforced running at boarding school, and in spite of being tall and lean, only on one occasion did I not come in last! — I’ll find an alternative activity! I’ll leave the MBP on tonight and set it to repair permissions before I hit the sack — better ensure that it doesn’t also go to sleep during the process — and I’ll see what happens by the time I get up … I hope 4 to 5 hours will be enough. :smiley:


Regarding the cronjobs, those are system-cleaning utilities that run in the background to do things like empty out caches and temp files at regular intervals, and are scheduled to run at certain times (“cron” is from the Greek “chronos”, i.e. time).

They’ve worked fine since around 10.2, and as of 10.4 they were modified so that if your mac is asleep or off when they’re supposed to run (cronjobs were originally designed for Unix workstations, which were traditionally just left running 24/7) then they instead run after you next activate the mac. Basically, nothing to worry about.

Thanks, Antony. Actually, my thought was that maybe one of the reasons that Repair Permissions didn’t seem to be working was that it was actually being done automatically as one of the cronjobs.

The reason for the other comment was having read at length on some forum or other … maybe the Nisus forum, a long series of exchanges about whether the cronjobs were carried out properly and that one should do it oneself with Onyx, Cocktail, TechTool Pro … whatever the poster’s favourite system management software happened to be.


To the best of my knowledge, the cronjobs run fine on 10.4-10.5, assuming there isn’t something else wrong with your computer.

That said, I use Yasu every so often anyway, because it does a whole lot more than the basic cronjobs (including the fabled repair permissions, but also clearing system and font caches, clearing logs, etc.). But I’m running an old, slow and small G5 iMac, and occasionally it chugs because of the cruft build-up. I’ve never felt the need to run it on my new MacBook, and once I upgrade to an intel desktop machine too, I doubt I’ll use it again.

The reason I suggest Repair permissions after each install of software is because of the gremlins that tend to “pop up” after an install. Since most people don’t install software everyday this would be something done not very frequently. Since also Apple is notorious for permission anomalies with their software it is recommended to repair permissions after each update. Since iTunes and Quicktime are the most frequently updated and iTunes is notorious for permission woes then making a habit of repairing permissions after each update is a good habit.

Once you have your system set permissions only need to be repaired when a permissions problems occurs, when you do an update or when you install new software. The reason is you are making changes to your system and puting your full trust into an installer to be 100% true is not a wise choice. Best to err on the side of caution I say.

Apple, macfixit, and many other sites also recomeend the same, to repair permissions, after an installation of software because you are making changes to your system and this prevents further complications from arising down the road. When reinstalling OSX the same applies after each update to ensure a “clean” trouble free system. This prevents a corrupt installation from happening down the road.

Also it is good to reindex your Spotlight index about every 3 months or so as well to keep things smooth running. Not something you have to do but usually good to do to have a “fresh” index.

But each to their own. Some people where their seat belts when they drive their car. Some drive with no seatbelt in the nude. In the end the advice is only cautionary steps for preventive action instead of solution based when a problem has already occurred and you need a fix.

OK … so I repaired my permissions last night. It only took about 15-20 minutes, with nothing apparently happening for most of that time. What needed repairing? Permissions on 4 Java components and then on about 100 Epson printer components! Otherwise no problems came up.

Since I was in that mode, I also ran disk verify on all my disks – 120 GB internal, 120 GB USB pocket drive, 320 GB FW external with two partitions and another 320 GB FW external with a single partition. The two partitions on the FW external needed repairs, the others were all fine.

Very happy … I had a light-bulb blow up the other evening which blew the main circuit-breaker for the flat on the way by, so the two FW externals crashed. No data lost, small repairs needed and carried out successfully on the partitions. Thank god for journaled disks!



Recommended by who? Statements like this give the false impression that Apple somehow endorses this practice. Which they don’t.

Macfixit may well do, but Apple most certainly do not. And there just as many sites out there telling you how much bunkum it is as there are telling you it should be done every five seconds.

What exactly are the chances of a permissions problem “corrupting” your OS? Somewhere between, ooh, zero and none?

Terrible analogy. This is more like “some people drive with their lights on 24/7, even during daylight, because it makes them feel safer”.

Look, I’m not saying you should never do it. Especially if you think you might have a genuine permissions-related problem. But doing it inbetween every single stage of every install - which means you’re running the same script four to five times in the space of less than an hour! - is just timewasting craziness.

I fear your lightbulbs.


I don’t have any. We use CFLs :wink:


You have lots of good advice there.

I will say a quick prayer for you as it does seem a bit tricky.


I would be leery of CFL’s if you have children in the house due to their Mercury content. Scares me that the manufactures state that if a CFL bulb breaks you should open all the windows in your house and clean up the broken glass with Protective gloves and not to vacuum as this aerosols the mercury and that is not good.

I can;t wait for LEDs to become more affordable. :slight_smile: