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I started with Leopard OSX, then upgraded to Snow Leopard, then upgraded to Lion.

Now Mountain Lion is unleashed. Is it recommended to make a fresh install or upgrading is just fine?

Does OSX suffer from bad performance over multiple OS upgrading processes?

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3 Answers

As a rule, the OS takes care of itself. An upgrade both ensures the core OS is intact, but also disables code that is too old to run.

If you would have done a clean install anyhow - lots of slowness, crashiness, etc. Then that's the reason to do a clean install. In the past (10.4 and earlier) the install process was different than the migration assistant but as the migration assistant has matured, it now runs anytime you upgrade so unless you hand migrate files and preferences, there is no difference between a clean install and an upgrade in place (assuming you select apps and settings in the assistant).

I personally love a clean install and using all the defaults for a week. Consciously installing just what I need feels "right" for me and if I end up missing everything, I can always wipe and migrate the entire setup a week I to using the new OS.

In summary, for most users, the changes in the OS have disabled the worst offenders in terms of performance, and gatekeeper keeps most old apps from running until you explicitly allow them to run. If you have performance issues, you can always flip that switch and reboot to isolate the cause of slowness.

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If you have all your data backed up and you are pretty sure that you won't be rolling back for any reason , then do a clean install, otherwise...choose the upgrade . For long run, I would definitely recommend a clean install.

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Lion to Mountain Lion are optimized for upgrade. However, the fact that you went from 10.6 to 10.7 I would recommend a clean install of Mountain Lion.

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