Background: I bought a new laptop with Mavericks installed and used Migration Assistant to restore my environment from a Time Machine backup. It worked fine except that all the bungling I've done trying to get a working Python dev environment set up also got restored, along with a bunch of other system level junk I've installed.

Trying again for a clean system, today I wiped the drive, reinstalled Mavericks and made sure not to check "Computer and Network Settings" in the Migration Assistant dialog but I still ended up with a bunch of system level stuff I don't want (e.g. Python framework installed in my user 'Library' folder (not Apple's Python in the System/Library but what got installed from Python.org installer).

My question: I'd like to be sure I am starting fresh. Is there any way, short of rebuilding my settings and environment manually to get a clean Mavericks install?

1 Answer 1


I advise the following:

  1. Make a backup of the current state of the machine, this time using Time Machine's Exclusions Option to remove the offending files (e.g ~/Library/*/python) from the backup.
  2. Holding down CommandR at the startup chime, boot into OS X Recovery and erase the startup volume using Disk Utility.
  3. Cleanly reinstall OS X on the empty volume
  4. Once complete, use Setup Assistant (not Migration Assistant!) to restore the Time Machine Backup.


  • You can only restore complete backups -not incremental. The TM backup mentioned in (1) must be a complete backup.
  • Be wary of what you exclude and only exclude what is necessary. For example, excluding the /System folder will prevent you from performing a full restore via Setup Assistant.
  • Why not Migration Assistant? It's prone to cause problems when doing a clean restore.
  • The Pondini links provided are for Mountain Lion. All the instructions work exactly the same in Mavericks and are completely applicable.
  • Thanks. I think I am going to start fresh and rebuild manually – too many items which I may have installed, etc. I've cloned my drive so nothing will be lost. Just chalk it up to spring cleaning.
    – spring
    Commented Jun 7, 2014 at 17:11

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