Installing Apple’s Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard: What you need to know

“With Snow Leopard, Apple has streamlined and simplified the process of installing Mac OS X. While older versions of OS X made you decide what kind of installation you wanted to perform before you even specified what to install, Snow Leopard’s installer gives you a single installation path. It’s considerably easier,” Dan Frakes reports for CIO.

“Gone, for example, is the old Clean Install option–which moved your existing OS and system add-ons to a Previous Systems folder and installed a fresh copy of the OS, requiring a good amount of tweaking and transferring of files afterward,” Frakes reports. “Instead, Snow Leopard provides a more intelligent installation process that makes such tweaking largely unnecessary. The Erase and Install option is now gone, too (at least as a discrete Installer alternative.”

Frakes advises, “Let me also suggest that a major OS upgrade is the perfect chance to check your drives for problems, clean house, and check for updates for your frequently used software. (Don’t forget to check for new versions of preference panes and other add-ons that run in the background.) Finally, as with any major software update or upgrade, you should be sure to back up before installing Snow Leopard.”

Full article here.


  1. Good advice; I checked the Incompatible Software list & I’m in the clear, and my printer is also covered, but I’ll run Check For Updates on all my software today (and maybe clear out some unneeded stuff).

  2. I’ve always taken the “erase and install” option as I liked the idea of starting with a clean slate. Also, though it may be erroneous thinking on my part, it just seems odd to do an overlay of software – software and operating systems are just too complicated to try and mesh old with new.

    Is the thinking with Snow Leopard different? i.e. can I forego the “erase and install”. Is it even possible with Snow Leopard to do an “erase and install”?

  3. NO erase and install? Am I reading this right? If so, that’s insane and annoying as hell. I’ve migrated this mac from several others, including several OS upgrades in the mix, and I figured it’s about time for a fresh install. Since 10.6 is all about efficiency and speed, it seemed like the perfect chance. Since I’m running a Mac Pro with 4 internal drives, doing an erase and install is not really a major inconvenience for me.

    Can anyone else who has run SL confirm this, because it’s the first I’ve heard (granted I haven’t been keeping up with the multitude of SL reviews since they’re pretty much all the same).

  4. @Jacob – there is no erase and install directly in the installer, but you can do an erase and install by launching disk utility from the installer, erasing your drive, and then installing.

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