Check the hardware.

Hardware? Yes! No operating system can be better than the hardware on which it’s installed, and older systems are prone to age-related problems. One often-overlooked problem is dust buildup, which can cause chips and drives to overheat and malfunction. These hardware errors can masquerade as software problems, causing you to waste time troubleshooting the wrong thing.

It’s easy to clean your PC. Consult my how-to article, “Getting the grunge out of your PC.” (It’s a few years old, but still completely apt.) While you have your PC’s case open, make sure that all plug-in cards and socketed chips are fully seated and all cables firmly connected. More »

Last time I installed OS X on my Mac, I did an Archive and Install and selected the “Preserve Users and Network Settings” option. However, people might forget to check if the “preserve users …” option is selected and will end up with a new OS X installation on their Mac but with none of their files. Although you might think that all your data is lost, you could not be more wrong.

Other people may also delete a user account on their Mac and later remember that they had some important files on that user’s home folder. Do you think their data is lost? Think again. You can actually “undelete” a user’s account altogether.

Apple has a number of support documents that explain how you can easily get your data back in case you end up in one of the above mentioned situations and this is how easily it can be done.

You have to remember one thing: if you used the “Delete immediately” option, you will not be able to use the steps below to recover your data. Nevertheless, you can still recover at least some of it if you use a third-party recovery tool.

Restore a user’s account after an Archive and Install (Mac OS X 10.3 to 10.5)

If you are using Mac OS X 10.5 or later, these are the steps Apple says you have to follow to recover your entire Home folder (the one you had before the installation):
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