Clean install OS X Mavericks the easy way!

I wanted to give my existing MacBook (a mid-2009) to my wife because she has had tons of battery issues, performance issues, you name it issues with the commodity Windows 7 Toshiba laptop we cursed her with a few years ago. My Macbook is older but still comes up in a fraction of the time hers does when you open the cover, lasts something like four times as long on a battery charge, and though it’s a slower processor seems to be about as fast for most of her needs.

But I didn’t want to give her a programmer’s laptop with all of my IDEs, extra browsers, compilers, databases, etc. installed on it. I wanted it to be a just like new experience. So I removed the stickers, scrubbed the aluminum exterior (though I couldn’t do much about a few small scratches on the bottom of it, the top still looks pretty new); and cleaned the screen, keyboard, and trackpad thoroughly. But when it came to completely formatting the hard drive and installing a brand new copy of OS X Mavericks it seemed like it was going to be a lot harder. For example, this article on doing a clean install was pretty typical:

Whoof! That’s a lot of work to do something that should be pretty easy. It turns out, it can be:

  1. First make sure you can use the Command+R when you boot your MacBook to go to the recovery screen.
  2. If that worked, start up your Mac again normally and install Mavericks on it. It’s still your old stuff on the machine though, just with a new OS on top of it.
  3. Then reboot and use Command+R and go into the recovery screen.
  4. Use the Disk Utility in the recovery screen to format the hard drive and use the Reinstall OS (again a recovery screen tool). After that you’ll have a fresh clean machine with OS X Mavericks on it.

It might not be the fastest way to do it because you did two installs of Mavericks on the same machine, but it was much easier than downloading special tools and creating USB boot keys.

12 thoughts on “Clean install OS X Mavericks the easy way!

  1. ChrisM

    How about booting into Recovery, selecting ‘Disk Utility’ first and ‘Erase’-ing the Mac’s drive, quitting out of DU and then selecting ‘Install Mavericks’ with only one booting? Saves one from yet another chime…

  2. Adrian

    I have mavericks on my hdd and I erased my hdd but to install the os again it is downloading the installer itself what should I do

  3. will

    If I am running boot camp to dual boot windows 7, and I already have mavericks installed on the mac partition, would you method destroy the windows partition?

    1. John Munsch Post author

      I don’t think so because I believe when you use Disk Utility you’ll get to specify which partition you’re formatting. But you might be better off asking Apple that question. I’m not an expert.


    Which OS was on your mac before you upgraded to Mavericks?
    I saw the Mashable way and also thought that sounds complicated.

  5. Marcus

    Worked perfectly thank you! Had some problems re installing OS X to the blank hard drive but it worked after a quick restart.


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