Mac OS X 10.7 Lion Semi-Clean Install

First posted on the 7th August, 2011 – IT
Last modified on the 25th August, 2011, at 6:01 pm

When upgrading from Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard to 10.7 Lion you are recommended to install Lion over Snow Leopard. Now, having messed around behind the scenes of my Snow Leopard install I didn’t want to build upon possibly shaky foundations. With Lion there are limited official options either clean install having erased your disk and then recover home directory from a Time Machine backup on install over you previous build.

Having followed this hint to create a USB emergency install disk I decided to take an alternative approach. The aim was to boot from ESD then delete the old install except /Users/ then install over Lion over the top of my old home diretory. To achieve this boot from the USB disk by holding down option then open the terminal from within the installer. From here do some hefty rm -rf ing of you old disk mounted under /Volumes. I deleted everything except /Volumes (as this liked back to / of the startup disk) and /Users/home. Remember to copy any important config files to you home directory at this point that you can remember, like contents of /Library/WebServer/Documents or /etc/Apache2/httpd.conf.

Having done this I proceeded to install Lion giving same personal details and importantly same username. Once installed, rebooted and logged in I was happy to see my desktop background from my old install. Everything all fine, fresh install of Mac OS X with old home directory, just like an old archive and install.