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I got my MBP yesterday. It's almost new. Before using it, I want to know should I normal upgrade to Mavericks or perform a clean install? Which one will be better for me? I have several applications installed on it. Should it be removed after upgrading?

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First, take a backup (using Time Machine or a cloning tool like Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper! or Clonezilla) so that you can revert to it if at all something goes wrong and you're unable to salvage it through simple troubleshooting and fixes.

After that, just do a straight upgrade to OS X Mavericks. If you have several apps already installed, then an upgrade will save you a lot of time. The upgrade to OS X Mavericks will retain all your applications, settings and files (they won't be removed).

Also, a clean install is recommended only if you're having some issues in the system that you're unable to trace and resolve through other means. For every other case, a straight upgrade is reliable and quicker.

On the other hand, if you choose a clean install, then you would have to (follow this tedious and time consuming process):

  • Backup your system (using Time Machine or a cloning tool like Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper! or Clonezilla)
  • Install OS X Mavericks
  • Configure all the settings for OS X Mavericks as if you were setting up a new system
  • Install all your applications afresh
  • Configure each of your applications according to how you'd like
  • Copy all your files and folders from the backup
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Although this is very helpful, I think backing up an OS (any OS) is always a good idea... particularly before an upgrade. EG: What if you have an app that you absolutely need and is not compatible with the new OS version or maybe it lacks features (such as Finder integration)? Just my 2 cents :) – Mosty Mostacho Oct 24 '13 at 23:43
I completely agree. I had left it out as an implicit assumption, but have edited the answer to explicitly state that as the first step. – M K Oct 25 '13 at 6:57

Considering you only just got your MBP, theres not much of a point of wiping it clean anyway. Just a straight upgrade would do you fine :)

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For patch level updates, I always just do the normal update process. For major releases like Lion => Mavericks, I always do a clean install. It's easy to just restore from your Time Machine drive. Even if you have tons of data, just let the restore run over night and when you wake up you have a fresh machine with all of your stuff where you left it.

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