I'm having some pretty major problems with Mac OS X. Frequent crashes, Dock randomly disappears, general sluggishness, etc. & I think it's time to reinstall.

I heard about a feature called Archive & Install. It sounds like it just re-installs essential system files and doesn't touch anything else. But my question is how much of my development environment will remain intact? I've installed some packages with Homebrew & RubyGems while following Ruby on Rails tutorials. Would I have to reinstall all those?

I'm guessing my Mac apps are safe, even though they're all installed under "Macintosh HD/Applications", and not under my User account?

Would love some advice, thanks.

  • Rene
  • The crashes are very unusual so I would install from scratch - especially rebuilding your dev environment as it is likely something in that is causing the issues
    – mmmmmm
    May 11, 2011 at 17:53

1 Answer 1


If you are wanting to just reinstall Snow Leopard on top of itself, running the installer from the disc will not wipe out your development environment. I've done this myself with no issues.

  • Be sure not to pick Erase and Install. Archive and Install is not what you want either. You essentially want to do an upgrade (can't recall what the exact option is at the moment, but I'm pretty sure it's the default).

Of course, always run Time Machine anyways in case something catastrophic happens.

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