macOS - Nuking it all from Orbit?

Ok a dramatic title but after having essentially started with Mac in 2006 and just done various operating system upgrades, and one hardware change (MacBook to MacBook Pro 2011) I think it could be due for a system wipe and restart. Also a few visual oddities after playing around with an x-brite colourimeter.

So any best advice on this?

Current plan would be to make a clone of the current disk, wipe it and reinstall High Sierra. Then followed by lots of réinstallations of the software I actually find useful, instead of wading through ~14 years worth of programs that I can’t remember lol.

Is there any additional things I need to consider or might not realise that I’ll lose?


Make sure you have serial numbers for all the software, most will require reentering.

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Yes I’ve already been searching out serial numbers from the email archives.

No show stoppers yet…

Sometimes you won’t know until it’s too late, that’s why you need a backup :wink:

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Indeed, the cloned drive will be kept somewhere safe for a good while lol

It’s the small things that often get forgotten and you need most.

For example, over the years, every time you have pressed the ‘learn spelling’ button, all those new words were added to a custom dictionary in your library folder.

It’s little things like that we take for granted, but which you will probably want to carry-over onto your new system. Keep the cloned drive around, as you will likely need it many times!


If you subscribe to ScreencastsOnline, Allison Sheridan made an episode in October on what to consider when making a clean install of the MacOS. Very thorough.


backup is best done with Carbon Copy Cloner: external disk can be used as startup drive. And in case of panic: the same program can be used to put the old system back.

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