Will Reinstalling OS X Fix My Problem?

By Mark L. Chambers

This question seems to get a lot of attention on Mac-related Internet discussion boards and Usenet newsgroups — and the answer is a definitive perhaps. (Helpful, huh?)

Here’s the explanation. You shouldn’t lose a single byte of data by reinstalling OS X, so it’s definitely okay to try it. However, reinstalling OS X isn’t a universal balm that fixes all hardware and software errors. If your iMac has contracted a virus, or a system file that was installed by an application “goes rogue” from data corruption, reinstalling OS X likely won’t solve the problem, and you’ll be back to square one.

Follow the iMac Troubleshooting Tree all the way to the end before you consider reinstalling Mavericks. Contact an Apple support technician via your local Apple Store or the Apple website before you take this step, and don’t forget that a fast broadband Internet connection is necessary to reinstall OS X.

To reinstall, you can turn once again to the Mavericks Recovery HD volume. (That thing really comes in handy!) Hold down the Command+R key shortcut immediately after you hear your iMac’s startup chord to boot directly to the Recovery HD partition. Click the Reinstall Mac OS X option in the window that appears. Follow the on-screen instructions and choose the same drive as the target drive for the installation.