Well, sometimes you’ve just gotta grab the bull by the horns and get on with it. I’m talking about a clean OS X installation on my ancient MacBook Pro. It’s a late 2012 13″ model with the maximum 8gb of RAM and so I’m not expecting lightning speed from it but it’s almost glacial at the moment. Updating some of the applications I use regularly took an age last night.
This morning though I approached it with fresh vigour and sat down with iPad in hand to see what could be done. I’ve just spent a happy few hours removing unused applications, upgrading the OS to Sierra (as Apple recommend) and trying all the little tips and tricks that a Google search can liberate. Still glacial.
So, time to learn some new skills and I’ve just created my very first bootable USB. Except I didn’t have a big enough USB drive so it’s an SD card stuck into a SD/USB card adapter. The first test was seeing if the MacBook would boot from it, which it did and I very nervously instructed it to erase the MacBooks main drive. Which seemed to go OK so the next step was to install a fresh copy of Sierra from my SD/USB combo. As the progress bar edged towards the right I was a little bit nervous to tell the truth. Would it get stuck halfway leaving me with a large paper weight? I know it’s not cutting edge but it’s all I have with out lugging an iMac with me.
I’m typing this blog post in “real time”. The screen has just gone totally blank and the machine is eerily silent with even the status light on the SD/USB combo quenched. A nervous minute which felt twenty times longer and the Apple logo has reappeared along with the message “Installing: About 15 minutes remaining …”
If you’ve been reading this in “real time” you will find that it was around thirteen minutes and we are now at a screen asking for my credentials as it finalises setting up my machine for me.
I’m now typing this on the MacBook rather than the iPad from which it can be safely asserted that the installation appears to have gone well. Time to shut down, restart and see if things have thawed.
It’s still not lightning fast, I never expected it to be, but it is definitely booting up faster than before. Applications are also opening quicker and the App Store is a lot more responsive than last night for sure. The acid test will come over the next week as I use the machine more and start to reinstall some of the applications but for now it is definitely faster and whilst I know it will never be a modern speed machine at least I am left knowing that the clean reinstall was what was needed this time around. I don’t recommend it as a general cure but having exhausted all the other options it has certainly been worth the effort.
I’m off for a lie down in a cool dark place now!