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Pressed for time?: one simple question at bottom (thanks)

Safari in 10.10.4 has just become non-functional, immediately after I made a simple preferences change to what new windows displayed (I don’t recall exactly what that was, but I was trying to get new windows to display empty and without the sidebar being open).

I restarted twice, and used Disk Utility to do a Permissions Repair and Verify Disk (indicated OK), then restarted again.

I have zero extensions installed; in fact, I had turned off Safari Extensions completely.

Safari opens, but with no window; the spinning beach ball spins indefinitely, and I have no access to any of the top menu.

As Safari’s been acting sporadically odd anyhow since I upgraded from 10.6.8 to 10.8 to 10.10.4, I just installed Safari 9.0 (beta) per suggestion elsewhere here in late 2014; no change, even after a restart.

No apparent problems except sporadic sluggishness with any other programs I use regularly (Mail, BusyContacts, BusyCal, Pages, TextEdit, Excel).

I had been experiencing sporadic weirdness (not just in Safari) since resolving the disaster of my 24 June upgrade from 10.6.8 > 10.8 (I wanted to stop there for awhile to clean up and export from an ancient contact management program that wouldn't work beyond 10.8), done by the local Apple Store (“We didn’t lose any of your data but we can’t find any of it.”; they found it all, but it took days).

Three days ago, because of such sporadic weirdness, as I usually do, I used Disk Utility to first do a Permissions Repair and then Repair Disk. Repair Disk failed, so I followed the recommendation to repair from the Recovery HD.

Still some sporadic sluggishness and occasional weirdness system-wide, and some of the symptoms matched those described in Apple’s instructions for reset SMC and reset NYRAM, so I did both (exactly as the instructions indicated, and in proper order).

Perhaps I'm down to one simple question:

I've never done this: What’s the worst that can happen if I re-install the system using the recovery HD (accessed by holding command-R at start-up) immediately after doing 2 Time Machine backups to two separate external hard drives?

  • repair disk failing suggests a hardware issue and on your Apple Store experience why did you need to go in the first place and why not restore from Time Machine. i.e. given your good suggestion at the en - previous things seem inconsistent – user151019 Jul 24 '15 at 21:18
  • "...why did you need to go in the first place..." no choice; Apple won't allow one to upgrade from 10.6.8 to less than 10.10 without doing it at an Apple store. I had stayed at 10.6.8 in order not to lose Eudora Mail (which I'd used exclusively since 1995, and Now Contact (about the same vintage). Eudora suddenly started failing at a much faster rate, and yet I was not prepared to export from Now Contact (2000+ contacts, many with extensive notes, and difficult to export), so I wanted to stop at 10.8 (the latest system that Now Contact would work in) for a month or so. – John Tieber Jul 24 '15 at 22:03
  • Regarding the possibility of a hardware issue: I did the hardware test on 17 June, in preparation for the upgrade from 10.6.8 to 10.8. The Apple store then did their own hardware test, which I was told was more comprehensive than what I could do, on 22 June, just prior to the 24 June upgrade from 10.6.8 to 10.8 (as I mentioned in the original post, the upgrade was a disaster, and since my contact management program [Now Contact] which I had triple-checked would work in 10.8, DID NOT, once everything seemed OK in 10.8 there was no reason to stay there so I went to 10.10.4). – John Tieber Jul 24 '15 at 22:12
  • “Why not restore from Time Machine?” Yes, of course. That’s exactly my question, which remains. I.e. I’ve never done this, and am simply looking for, if possible, a bit more confidence that 1) that’s the best next step, and (2) the worst that could happen from doing this is insignificant Regarding (2): a month ago today I experienced a mini-disaster that consumed the better part of a week fully recovering from as a result of a certified Apple technician doing a system upgrade after I had done everything possible to prepare for such an upgrade, including two hardware tests. – John Tieber Jul 24 '15 at 22:23
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I wouldn't expect reinstalling the system using the Recovery HD to cause any significant problems. Minor things that come to mind are reinstallation of fonts in /Library/Fonts if they'd been previously removed, and the possibility of needing to reactivate copy-protected software, e.g. reentering the Microsoft Office serial number. But you've no doubt faced these same issues with the previous upgrades.

You could do a trial run without making any changes to your system:

  1. Use Carbon Copy Cloner to clone your boot drive to a new or empty external drive.
  2. Reinstall OS X on the cloned drive.
  3. If things look good, reinstall on the original drive, or clone back.
  • Thanks lava37; I'll do that, and then, as Mark triggered me to remember, the hardware test from the second original installation CD then, assuming nothing new on the hardware since last month, just for good measure (i.e. redundant, I would think, with your suggestion), 2 Time Machine backups to two distinct external drives, then reinstall the system. – John Tieber Jul 25 '15 at 13:13
  • I did the more extensive hardware test, which resulted in 'No trouble found.' I then did the system re-install. Everything seems OK, except there is no change with Safari; i.e. Safari 8.0.7 on newly installed OSX 10.10.4 is completely non-functional - hangs on startup; I tried twice. I'll pose this as a new question: 'Safari 8.0.7 completely non-functional on newly installed 10.10.4'. – John Tieber Jul 25 '15 at 22:48

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