11 Replies Latest reply: Dec 5, 2012 7:06 PM by Kappy
kunalakulkarni7 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

Hi All,

I have the latest version of OS X Mountain Lion and I am using a Macbook Pro 15 inch.

over the last one year, the system performance has become pathetic and really tests my patience with that ugly rainbow icon!

The nerdy looking apple folks in the genius bar are hopeless and I feel I know much more than what they helped! with no concrete solution,they suggested I format my macbook. However, I have never formatted my macbook before (I was a windows native)

As I read in the forums, I took a time-machine backup of my macbook on my portable hard-disk. I now wish to format and re-install OSX Mountain Lion. I dont have any CD/DVD to boot lion. Can anyone please explain me the detailed step-by-step procedure to format and reinstall OSX mountain Lion?

 

Thanks,

KK


MacBook Pro, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2)
  • 1. Re: Format macbook Pro OSX Lion
    Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (226,775 points)

    Install or Reinstall Lion/Mountain Lion from Scratch

     

    Be sure you backup your files to an external drive or second internal drive because the following procedure will remove everything from the hard drive.

     

    Boot to the Recovery HD:

     

    Restart the computer and after the chime press and hold down the COMMAND and R keys until the menu screen appears. Alternatively, restart the computer and after the chime press and hold down the OPTION key until the boot manager screen appears. Select the Recovery HD and click on the downward pointing arrow button.

     

    Erase the hard drive:

     

      1. Select Disk Utility from the main menu and click on the Continue button.

     

      2. After DU loads select your startup volume (usually Macintosh HD) from the

          left side list. Click on the Erase tab in the DU main window.

     

      3. Set the format type to Mac OS Extended (Journaled.) Optionally, click on

            the Security button and set the Zero Data option to one-pass. Click on

          the Erase button and wait until the process has completed.

     

      4. Quit DU and return to the main menu.

     

    Reinstall Lion: Select Reinstall Lion/Mountain Lion and click on the Install button.

     

    Note: You will need an active Internet connection. I suggest using Ethernet if possible

                because it is three times faster than wireless.

     

    However, before you do this you should read the following:

     

    Things You Can Do To Keep Your Computer From Slowing Down

     

    If your computer seems to be running slower here are some things you can do:

     

    Boot into Safe Mode then repair your hard drive and permissions:

     

    Repair the Hard Drive and Permissions Pre-Lion

     

    Boot from your OS X Installer disc. After the installer loads select your language and click on the Continue button. When the menu bar appears select Disk Utility from the Utilities menu. After DU loads select your hard drive entry (mfgr.'s ID and drive size) from the the left side list.  In the DU status area you will see an entry for the S.M.A.R.T. status of the hard drive.  If it does not say "Verified" then the hard drive is failing or failed. (SMART status is not reported on external Firewire or USB drives.) If the drive is "Verified" then select your OS X volume from the list on the left (sub-entry below the drive entry,) click on the First Aid tab, then click on the Repair Disk button. If DU reports any errors that have been fixed, then re-run Repair Disk until no errors are reported. If no errors are reported click on the Repair Permissions button. Wait until the operation completes, then quit DU and return to the installer.

     

    If DU reports errors it cannot fix, then you will need Disk Warrior and/or Tech Tool Pro to repair the drive. If you don't have either of them or if neither of them can fix the drive, then you will need to reformat the drive and reinstall OS X.

     

    Repair the Hard Drive - Lion

     

    Boot from your Lion Recovery HD. When the recovery menu appears select Disk Utility. After DU loads select your hard drive entry (mfgr.'s ID and drive size) from the the left side list.  In the DU status area you will see an entry for the S.M.A.R.T. status of the hard drive.  If it does not say "Verified" then the hard drive is failing or failed. (SMART status is not reported on external Firewire or USB drives.) If the drive is "Verified" then select your OS X volume from the list on the left (sub-entry below the drive entry,) click on the First Aid tab, then click on the Repair Disk button. If DU reports any errors that have been fixed, then re-run Repair Disk until no errors are reported. If no errors are reported, then click on the Repair Permissions button. Wait until the operation completes, then quit DU and return to the main menu. Select Restart from the Apple menu.

     

    Boot to the Recovery HD:

     

    Restart the computer and after the chime press and hold down the COMMAND and R keys until the menu screen appears. Alternatively, restart the computer and after the chime press and hold down the OPTION key until the boot manager screen appears. Select the Recovery HD and click on the downward pointing arrow button.

     

    Restart your computer normally and see if this has helped any. Next do some maintenance:

     

    Suggestions for OS X Maintenance

     

    For situations Disk Utility cannot handle the best third-party utility is Disk Warrior;  DW only fixes problems with the disk directory, but most disk problems are caused by directory corruption; Disk Warrior 4.x is now Intel Mac compatible.

     

    OS X performs certain maintenance functions that are scheduled to occur on a daily, weekly, or monthly period. The maintenance scripts run in the early AM only if the computer is turned on 24/7 (no sleep.) If this isn't the case, then an excellent solution is to download and install a shareware utility such as Macaroni, JAW PseudoAnacron, or Anacron that will automate the maintenance activity regardless of whether the computer is turned off or asleep.  Dependence upon third-party utilities to run the periodic maintenance scripts was significantly reduced since Tiger.  These utilities have limited or no functionality with Snow Leopard or Lion and should not be installed.

     

    OS X automatically defragments files less than 20 MBs in size, so unless you have a disk full of very large files there's little need for defragmenting the hard drive. As for virus protection there are few if any such animals affecting OS X. You can protect the computer easily using the freeware Open Source virus protection software ClamXAV. Personally I would avoid most commercial anti-virus software because of their potential for causing problems. For more about malware see Macintosh Virus Guide.

     

    I would also recommend downloading a utility such as TinkerTool System, OnyX 2.4.3, or Cocktail 5.1.1 that you can use for periodic maintenance such as removing old log files and archives, clearing caches, etc.

     

    For emergency repairs install the freeware utility Applejack.  If you cannot start up in OS X, you may be able to start in single-user mode from which you can run Applejack to do a whole set of repair and maintenance routines from the command line.  Note that AppleJack 1.5 is required for Leopard. AppleJack 1.6 is compatible with Snow Leopard. There is no confirmation that this version also works with Lion.

     

    When you install any new system software or updates be sure to repair the hard drive and permissions beforehand.

     

    Get an external Firewire drive at least equal in size to the internal hard drive and make (and maintain) a bootable clone/backup. You can make a bootable clone using the Restore option of Disk Utility. You can also make and maintain clones with good backup software. My personal recommendations are (order is not significant):

     

      1. Carbon Copy Cloner

      2. Data Backup

      3. Deja Vu

      4. SuperDuper!

      5. SyncTwoFolders

      6. Synk Pro

      7. Synk Standard

      8. Tri-Backup

     

    Visit The XLab FAQs and read the FAQs on maintenance, optimization, virus protection, and backup and restore.

     

    Additional suggestions will be found in Mac maintenance Quick Assist.

     

    Referenced software can be found at CNet Downloads or MacUpdate.

     

    Additional Hints

     

    Be sure you have an adequate amount of RAM installed for the number of applications you run concurrently. Be sure you leave a minimum of 10% of the hard drive's capacity as free space.

     

    Add more RAM. If your computer has less than 2 GBs of RAM and you are using OS X Leopard or later, then you can do with more RAM. Snow Leopard and Lion work much better with 4 GBs of RAM than their system minimums. The more concurrent applications you tend to use the more RAM you should have.

     

    Always maintain at least 15 GBs or 10% of your hard drive's capacity as free space, whichever is greater. OS X is frequently accessing your hard drive, so providing adequate free space will keep things from slowing down.

     

    Check for applications that may be hogging the CPU:

     

    Open Activity Monitor in the Utilities folder.  Select All Processes from the Processes dropdown menu.  Click twice on the CPU% column header to display in descending order.  If you find a process using a large amount of CPU time, then select the process and click on the Quit icon in the toolbar.  Click on the Force Quit button to kill the process.  See if that helps.  Be sure to note the name of the runaway process so you can track down the cause of the problem.

     

    Often this problem occurs because of a corrupted cache or preferences file or an attempt to write to a corrupted log file.

  • 2. Re: Format macbook Pro OSX Lion
    John Galt Level 8 Level 8 (36,390 points)

    Whatever problems you are experiencing are unlikely to be solved by simply reinstalling OS X, and restoring from your Time Machine backup will simply reinstall whatever is causing the problem.

     

    Boot OS X Recovery, and use Disk Utility to repair your startup disk. Report any errors it finds.

     

    Step by step instructions are provided in the following

     

    OS X Recovery:

     

    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4718

     

    Disk Utility:

     

    http://support.apple.com/kb/TS1417

     

    To answer your original question, if you really want to reformat your hard disk you may do that using Disk Utility. After completely erasing your Mac's hard disk you would need to reinstall Mountain Lion using the instructions provided in OS X Recovery.

     

    More details regarding your system would be helpful. Go to the Apple menu and select "About this Mac".

  • 3. Re: Format macbook Pro OSX Lion
    kunalakulkarni7 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi,

    here are my system details:

    Macbook Pro 15-inch, Late 2011

    Software  OS X 10.8.2 (12C60)

    Processor  2.2 GHz Intel Core i7

    Memory  4 GB 1333 MHz DDR3

    Graphics  Intel HD Graphics 3000 384 MB

     

    as John correctly pointed out, formatting might/might not solve my actual issue of system gettng terribly slow.

    I tried with OnyX, but it didnt help.

  • 4. Re: Format macbook Pro OSX Lion
    Courcoul Level 6 Level 6 (11,470 points)

    The fourth line reveals the culprit:

     

     

    Macbook Pro 15-inch, Late 2011

    Software  OS X 10.8.2 (12C60)

    Processor  2.2 GHz Intel Core i7

    Memory  4 GB 1333 MHz DDR3

    Graphics  Intel HD Graphics 3000 384 MB

    Regardless of what Apple says, 4GB does NOT cut it when running a 64-bit OS like the Lions. To put it in your perspective, it is like when Microsoft swore that Windoze Vista ran ok on 128MB of RAM.

     

    At least bump it up to 8GB, or go whole hog to 16GB, the max that this  Mac will take. The difference will be eye-popping and with NO REINSTALLING needed.

     

    Amazon reveals that a Mac-certified Corsair kit like I have goes for $65 w/free shipping: http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Certified-Laptop-Memory-CMSA16GX3M2A1333C9/dp/B006 ON5KZC 

    Makes me hoppin cursin.gif cause the same thing cost me $85 less than three months ago....

  • 5. Re: Format macbook Pro OSX Lion
    Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (226,775 points)

    Although I do agree with you in general, I disagree with the idea that adding more RAM fixes all slowdown issues, because it doesn't. I've merrily operated with 4 GBs as well as 32 GBs finding no significant differences in speed given defined conditions. If you have 4 GBs of RAM you probably can't run 25 heavy memory applications concurrently. But if all you are doing is using Safari to surf the web, for example, then the 4 GB machine is just as fast as the 32 GB machine. It's all a matter of managing your resources.

     

    I do encourage people to add more RAM if it's needed, but I would not make that a solution to a slow machine until I knew more about how the user was loading down the system's resources.

     

    I remember when Lion first came out with the 2 GB memory requirement. Well, it ran fine for lots of users with only 2 GBs of RAM. Many users of MBAs are running Mountain Lion with only 2 GBs of RAM. They don't have any slowdown problems.

     

    Adding RAM only makes it possible to run more programs concurrently.  It doesn't speed up the computer nor make games run faster.  What it can do is prevent the system from having to use disk-based VM when it runs out of RAM because you are trying to run too many applications concurrently or using applications that are extremely RAM dependent.  It will improve the performance of applications that run mostly in RAM or when loading programs.

  • 6. Re: Format macbook Pro OSX Lion
    Courcoul Level 6 Level 6 (11,470 points)

    Kappy, being a computer scientist, I'll have to call you out on this one....

     

    A combination of low (<= 4GB) RAM and failure to regularly reboot the Lions will lead to a progressive slowdown. The memory management policies on those cats appear to have deficient garbage collection and  memory does not get totally freed, even if you quit all apps. Hence virtual memory paging to disk will increase over time and lead to a progressive slowdown, especially if you have an HDD.

     

    Upping to 8GB just appears to delay the onset, but eventually most memory gets marked as inactive, which requires a swapping out to clean out the pages. However, after the 8GB boundary, something triggers in the Memory Manager and the memory gets returned to a totally free state automatically without restarting. I've run mine for up to 3 weeks without reboot and have seen the memory pool go up to 14GB in use and return to 12GB free afterwards on its own accord. With a corresponding snappyness unseen before.

     

    But no, I will not run mismatched SODIMMS to see if 12GB (1x8 + 1x4) exhibits the same behavior. The Intel memory controller does not like that and really wrecks performance.

  • 7. Re: Format macbook Pro OSX Lion
    John Galt Level 8 Level 8 (36,390 points)

    More memory is always better but if your MBP's poor performance is due to other factors then adding more may only mask the underlying cause. Failing hardware or insufficient free disk space would explain it, as well as any number of ill-mannered programs or third party system modifications. There are plenty of people (including me) running Lion in 4 GB memory on MBPs who would not call them "terribly slow" as you have characterized your system, not by any stretch of the imagination. That would not be acceptable to anyone.

     

    Rather than ask a dozen different questions regarding your system, would you be willing to download and run a little utility that may help point to a cause?

     

    If so read the following:

     


     

    Apple Support Communities contributor etresoft wrote a very useful app to quickly gather certain system information that may help point to a cause of this problem. Go to his website, download and run EtreCheck:

     

    http://www.etresoft.com/etrecheck

     

    Don't be concerned about anything that says "Problem" or "failed".

     

    Copy and paste its output in a reply.

     

    Etrecheck was designed to remove any personal information (such as your computer's name and serial numbers) but if you see anything that looks like an email address or any other personal information that should not be divulged to others, please delete or obscure that information when you post the reply.

     

    When you are finished with EtreCheck, quit the program. It occupies very little space, and you can keep it or drag it to the Trash as you wish.

     


  • 8. Re: Format macbook Pro OSX Lion
    kunalakulkarni7 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    with all due respect to everybody's suggestion, I would like to state the following:

    @Courcoul: I am not a computer scientist like you, but being a general Mac user (who has a fair knowledge about computer), I feel 4GB RAM should be sufecient for my day-to-day operations of - safari browsing, itunes, firefox and a outlook configured on my laptop. These are the things running on my laptop 98% of times. I dont play games, neither I do Photoshop (which consumes lots of resources!). I am just trying to find the root cause of 'why my Mac has become a dead PC'. its just an year old lappy and I am not at all pleased with my windows to mac switch (only because of horribly slow response).

    yes, I do agree to your point that I reboot only when I update software (apple related softwares like itunes, OSX, etc). this could be an issue..still there should be a solution out there without upgrading RAM

     

    @ John Galt: I do appreciate the tool you suggested, but I still doubt if that could trace the root cause of my issue. I feel so because, a similar suggestion earlier made me to install OnyX and I was happy that my mac is now great like it was before! but the happiness was short lived and within 2-3 days again, the system was back to its 'slow-response-state', which is why I took it to apple genius bar only to realize that 'formatting is all I can try'.

     

    @Kappy: I totally echo your statement and I feel there should be a solution without having to upgrade my RAM considering the limited number of applications, I listed above that I use.

     

    Thanks,

    KK

  • 9. Re: Format macbook Pro OSX Lion
    John Galt Level 8 Level 8 (36,390 points)

    kunalakulkarni7 wrote:

     

    @ John Galt: I do appreciate the tool you suggested, but I still doubt if that could trace the root cause of my issue.

     

    True you might not be able to, I might not even be able to, but it will provide more information that anyone has so far.


    The Apple Geniuses have limited amount of time to investigate these concerns. Their recommendations may be correct but I assume you came here for a second opinion. As I wrote earlier you can certainly erase and reinstall OS X but it might not solve the problem. If it does, you may never know what caused it, and you will be none the wiser.

     

    If Apple simply erased everything and reinstalled OS X for everyone who came in with problems they would have a lot of justifiably angry customers demading restoration of their precious data.

     

    Deleting cache files or whatever Onyx did is not a solution. If anything the temporary improvement is probably masking the underlying cause as I explained earlier.

  • 10. Re: Format macbook Pro OSX Lion
    Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (226,775 points)

    I ran a 4 GB 11" MBA for several months before giving it to my son-in-law who uses it daily. No slowdowns, no startup problems, etc. running Lion at first then Mountain Lion betas before Mountain Lion went into the wild. I never saw any evidence of memory management problems even under fairly heavy load. I have never seen a situation in which low memory has ever been associated with failure to regularly reboot. But then I've never had a problem of failure to regularly reboot. Failure to reboot is generally indicative of a hardware problem or of a serious problem with the OS software. But at this point I'm afraid I don't understand what you mean by "failure to regularly reboot the Lions will lead to a progressive showdown."

     

    Now, OS X does not quickly or ever release inactive RAM, but that does not mean that memory is never available under the proper set of circumstances. I never ran out of memory even at times when that MBA only showed around 200 MBs of free RAM.

     

    I'm not a computer scientist, but I know a little something about OS X memory management in practical usage. I offer my above anecdote in defense of my prior remark with which  you took exception.

  • 11. Re: Format macbook Pro OSX Lion
    Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (226,775 points)

    Then I suggest you peruse my original post for suggestions of various things you might consider or do. Personally, I'm always in favor of taking extreme measures. Were I encountering your problem (which I never have, btw) then I would be sure my backups were current, then I'd do an erase and install. Assuming there is no hardware issue there usually isn't any type of problem that cannot be extinguised by a fresh install of the OS! And, yes, I know everyone will react adversely to taking extreme steps when they may not be necessary, but sometimes you really must throw out the baby with the bath water.