Reinstall Sierra on Macbook Pro

Reinstall Sierra on Macbook Pro

Note: This post is part of the the series: Reformat Macbook Pro to make brand new. You can always refer back to the table of contents to follow the entire process. This is the part where you reinstall Sierra on Macbook Pro. 

Note: If you simply just want to upgrade from OSX Yosemite to MacOS Sierra without reformatting your computer (just a simple upgrade), you can find easy instructions here.

We’ve arrived at our final destination. If you’ve stuck with me, you’re on your way to a faster, and cleaner Macbook Pro. And let me tell you, it’s worth it! Faster start up and shut down, faster processing and just knowing the hard drive is free of clutter and much better organized will put a  smile on your face. In the last chapter you wiped your data clean from the laptop. Now it’s time to breathe life back into the Macbook Pro by using your boot drive you created in the earlier steps.

Here we go!

Reinstall Sierra on Macbook Pro

Now is the time to install the operating system so your dead computer can come back to life. This is the fun part. You will now use the boot drive you made to install Sierra onto your brand new Mac!

1. You’ll want to insert the thumb drive into your now ‘dead’ mac.
2. Press the power button on your Macbook (if it’s off), or choose restart from any menu the Macbook has left you on.
3. Hold down the OPTION key as the computer starts.
4. You’ll get a menu giving you options to use the Sierra startup installer.
5. Click the installer and let it load MacOS Sierra onto your new Macbook Pro.

And Voila! You’re there. Once MacOS Sierra is installed, you will have to set up the computer as you did when you first purchased it. Be sure to add your Apple ID and pick your Wi-Fi connection. You’ll have to add in your passwords, so hopefully you have them nearby.

Once you’re taking to the desktop, you’ll notice it’s BARE! All of your programs will be gone – so you can track down the programs and reinstall them Doing so will ensure that all of the old, unnecessary files you created will be gone. If you just install and pull over content from your backup on your external hard drive, a lot of those junk files may come with it. I recommend just reinstalling software piece by piece so you know the hard drive is clean and remains that way.

Accessing files from your Time Machine backup

I understand a lot of you will want to access folders full of information from your Time Machine backup we created a few chapters ago. It’s very easy to do. Here’s a couple quick ways.

Accessing raw data

1. Plug in the external hard drive you created the backup on
2. Double-click the hard drive icon.
3. Double-click the Backups.backupdb folder.
4. Double-click your computer-named folder.
5. Now you will see a set of folders. These folders are all the backups you made during the process of backing up your data.
6. Click on the date of the folder that contains the file you’re looking for.
7. Double-click your computer-named folder.
8. Double click on the folder named Users.
9. Double click on your user name folder.
10. Now you’re free to track down your folder. Drag and drop it to the new computer desktop and you’re good to go!

Accessing Time Machine data from another computer

This is essentially what you’re doing if you’ve renamed your user name on the new Macbook Pro you’ve just cleaned. So to access the data from the old computer, follow these steps:

1. Double click on your hard drive, double-click into Applications.
2. Find the Time Machine icon and drag it to your dock.
3. CONTROL + CLICK on the Time Machine icon in the dock.
4. Click on Browse Other Time Machine Disks…
5. Navigate to the backup time period and drag and drop files as you wish!

TIP: You can also access the 'browse' feature another way. You can use the Time Machine icon in your 
menubar.  Hold the Alt/Option key, and the Enter Time Machine option will change to the Browse ... option.

Congratulations! Your computer is as good as brand new! Enjoy the extra speed and space. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please add them in the comments section below and I’ll try to help the best I can. Also, please revisit the series table of contents to look back at any of the steps.

Please let me know how this worked for you below in the comments. Are you a happy camper? I sure hope so.

Enjoy your new Macbook Pro!

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Josh Benson

Josh Benson writes about the web, technology, TV News and life in general. He's a self-admitted geek and loves being a Dad. He covers the day's news on WFLA-TV in Tampa, Florida. He struggles to learn code and work out but loves all things tech and web!

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  • Bob Arcila

    Hi Josh,

    Thank you very much for your step-by-step guide to reformat my Mac. I have been postponing this for too long and just recently got down to do it. With your guide it was as easy as pie.

    Saludos from Spain,

    Roberto Arcila

    • Hey Bob:

      Great to hear. I put it off on my Mac Pro as well – glad to hear it worked well for you! Thanks for the comment. Jealous you live in Spain. Beautiful there.

  • ZillaYT .

    Ok, I created a Sierra boot disk per your instructions (via command line). With Macbook Pro powered down, I inserted boot disk (USB-C port), pressed power key, and IMMEDIATELY the Option key, and do see se the Install Sierra OS. When I click continue, I just get a screen with a circle with a ling across it, like on a Do Not Enter sign. Any clues?

    • Eric

      Same, anyone have advice?

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