How to Reinstall a MacBook

by Elle Smith

If your MacBook is sluggish or starts to have quirky issues with performance, or if you have added programs that may have somehow corrupted your system software, you may need to reinstall Mac OS X. Every MacBook shipping from Apple comes with the original OS X software disks and, with the simple, on-screen instructions that are provided during installation, reinstalling a MacBook is a quick and effective solution for restoring the MacBook to its original factory settings.

Back up all your data to removable storage, such as an external hard drive, CDs or DVDs.

Insert the Mac OS X Install DVD that comes with your MacBook. Double-click on "Install Mac OS X" when the window opens. Click on the blue "Restart" button when the next "Install Mac OS X" window opens, indicating that your computer will begin the installation process.

Enter the administrator level user name and password when the "Install Mac OS X requires that you type your password" dialog box opens. Click "OK."

Select your language preference from the list when the MacBook restarts. Click on the blue forward arrow button to continue.

Note the "Leopard Installer" window that opens. To install Mac OS X, click continue. Agree to the terms of service on the license agreement, and then click continue.

Select a destination for Mac OS X by clicking on the icon of the hard drive.

Click on the "Options" button and choose an option for installation. Select "Archive and Install" if you wish to install a new version of OS X but leave your old system files and move them to a new folder called "Previous System." This will allow you to recover your files if you change your mind.

Choose "Preserve User and Network Settings" if you wish to save your user accounts and home folders.

Select the "Erase and Install" option to permanently wipe your hard drive clean of all data, system files and folders. Click "OK" and continue. Installation will begin and your computer will restart when completed.

Reinstall any data you have lost by inserting your backup data disks or reinstalling from the external hard drive.


  • close Back up your data. This process can permanently delete all files on your MacBook.

Items you will need

About the Author

Elle Smith has been an advertising professional for more than 25 years. Her work for ABC, CBS and Sony Pictures Television has appeared on radio, on air, in print and outdoors. In addition, Smith has more than 20 years experience in marketing, graphic arts, commercial photography and print production, and is a licensed real estate agent with property management certification in California.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera dvd cover image by sumos from