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So I am at a point in a rabbit hole of troubleshooting programming problems (a lot of it seems to involve my gcc and fortran compilers, but I have long lists of libraries interfering with one another) where I feel I need to just (somehow) get a blank slate and reinstall everything (and strategically not do a number of things), I have my time machine backups for everything, as well as file backups for all of my regular content. And have done the basic prep as recommended here

I am wondering if there are any other steps you might recommend either before reinstalling my OS, or instead of doing so(might uninstalling and reinstalling XCode help?)?

Thanks for any help- desperate times call for desperate measures!

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A common development configuration these days is to use separate guest OSes for development and testing. With so many different OS's and configurations to test on, it seems like the only viable single-cpu solution.

In my personal experience, I tend to have the host OS tailored to looking up documentation and one Guest OS specifically for Development. Then for each OS I will be testing on, I get the OS install image and make a new VM. Those Guest OS's I modify as little as necessary to ensure their stability.

I still keep all my important files on the host OS's file system so that Time Machine will still pick them up. Nonetheless, if you're hosting Mac OSes, a Time Capsule or some sort of shared AFP would still be viable if you chose to back them up. I don't include the VM boot disks in my backups for the host OS - they change often and are rather large.

Generally I regard VMs as a disposable OS. After initial configuration, I archive the VM boot disk and only touch it if I need to restore.

Also, if you're using VMWare, you can use Snapshots before installing your packages. This is a good deal more convenient than doing a fully Time Machine backup, as is often want to do after messing with system files.

It sounds like you're not past the point of no return on your host OS. You can probably still go this route, and you might find it better in the long run.

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@zwerdids thanks- that makes a lot of sense. I use different OSes on my older macbook by dual booting it and using rEFIt for harddrive partitions, including one for linux as described here but I'm guessing that the VM route would be much more agile. –  batpigandme Feb 20 '13 at 16:35
    
Yes, very. I think you'll find it to be much more convenient. The only issue I've encountered versus dual booting is low-level access to the video card, which VMWare kinda takes care of nowadays. –  zwerdlds Feb 20 '13 at 18:18
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