Perhaps the best and most surprising news announced at Apple’s special product release event, is that its latest OS X upgrade, Mavericks, is available for a free download, and users can upgrade from previous OS X versions, starting with version 10.5.(Note: Be sure to back up your Mac before you begin the upgrade process.)
The new upgrades include a better integration with Apple’s iOS mobile devices and apps — namely iBooks, iWork programs, iCloud keychain passwords. Apple says Mavericks includes over 200 new features, including upgrades to the Finder, Calendar, Safari, Maps, and improved support for multiple displays.
How to Do a Clean Install of OS X Mavericks
As with OS X Lion and OS X Mountain Lion, Apple makes it easy for users to install the upgrade by downloading Mavericks from the App Store and running the installer.
This method works for almost all users — it keeps your data and existing programs intact and upgrades your machine to the latest OS. But sometimes, you might not want to do a regular OS upgrade.
It’s possible to do a clean install of OS X Mavericks on your Mac — or on a new hard drive, if you’re upgrading or repairing your Mac — but it takes a bit of work.
The process is a bit more complicated than it has been in previous years, but it’s still relatively easy to create a bootable copy of OS X Mavericks that you can run from a USB stick or other drive.
Note: A clean install will erase all of the contents on your disk drive. Make sure to back up your important files, settings and apps before proceeding.
To do a clean install of OS X Mavericks, you’ll need a blank USB flash drive that is at least 8GB in size. You’ll be using this drive completely for OS X Mavericks, so don’t waste a larger drive if you have an 8GB available.
You can also use an existing hard drive partition, but that process complicates the second option for this installer.
You’ll also need to download OS X Mavericks onto your existing Mac.
Download OS X Mavericks
You can download OS X Mavericks from the Mac App Store.
This will download a 5.2GB file called “Install OS X Mavericks” to your Applications folder.
§ Format USB Drive
Now, format the USB drive by opening up Disk Utility. It’s in the Utilities folder in Applications.
Select your USB drive and click on the “Erase” tab. Select Mac OS Extended (Journaled) as the format type and keep the name as “untitled.”
Click the Erase button. This will take a few minutes, but will erase your USB drive will be erased and format it with the proper file system.
Booting Up and Installing
Once your USB drive has been created, it’s time to install Mavericks.
1. Restart (or boot up) your Mac with the USB drive connected and hold down on the Option key. You should see a screen that lets you select a number of different hard drives, including your USB drive that reads, “Install OS X Mavericks.”
2. Click on that drive to open up a list of settings. If you just want to do a typical OS X installation, you can do so (but then, why did you take the time to make the bootable media?).
3. For a clean install, open up Disk Utility and erase your main hard drive. Once you’ve done so, you can go back to the Install OS X Mavericks disk and choose “Install a new copy of OS X.”
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