Clean-Install Assistant Simplifies Upgrading the Classic Mac OS

I don’t know when I first discovered Clean-Install Assistant (C-IA), but it’s been an invaluable tool ever since.

Before C-IA, moving a user to a new computer or replacing a damaged System could be a real nightmare. You’d do a clean install, then compare the new System Folder with the old one on a folder-by-folder, file-by-file basis. It was tedious – something I discovered last week when moving from Mac OS 9.0.4 on my SuperMac S900 to OS 9.1 on my Titanium PowerBook.

Over the weekend, Marc Moini (also the author of Startup Doubler) released C-AI 1.5.1, the first version to support Mac OS 9.1. It would have made my upgrade a lot faster, easier, and more thorough.

What C-IA does sounds remarkably simple: It wades through every item in your System Folder, identifies non-Apple items, and moves them to a new folder. It also does the reverse, putting all those items in the proper place in a new System Folder while refusing to overwrite files that are already there.

It’s a brilliantly simple concept, but the program has to be updated for each version of the Mac OS. If not, it wouldn’t handle additions to the System Folder properly.

One of my favorite C-IA tricks is manually wading through the folder of items removed from the System Folder and removing unnecessary files. That includes preferences for long gone games and applications, drivers for hardware that’s not in your new computer, and control panel and extensions not needed with the new OS.

Then you use C-IA to reintegrate all those files with your new System. Brilliantly simple!

Other uses for C-IA include:

  • Extract non-Apple files, back them up, then put them back.
  • Create a master set of additions for use on multiple Macs.
  • Remove non-Apple files so you can restore an older version of the Mac OS.

Clean-Install Assistant has one of the more unusual price structures: It’s free if you have 1-3 Macs, costs $50 if you have 4-10, jumps to $500 for all Macs within 100 miles of your site, and hits $1,000 for a worldwide license. C-IA is now freeware.

C-IA isn’t the kind of program you’ll use every day. If you’re lucky, you may never need it. But when you have to do a clean install to replace a damaged System, C-IA could save you hours by having the computer do all the tedious work of moving system additions from the old System Folder to the new one.

My check is in the mail.

  • Clean-Install Assistant 1.5.3 supports System 7.0 through Mac OS 9.2.2


Keywords: #cleaninstall #classicmacos

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