Steps after replacing the old hard drive

What are the steps to reinstalling os x mavericks on a new hard drive (old hard drive was not copied onto a new one and computer was restored before the replacement) ?

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Internet recovery is great if you have a good and fast connection. Sadly, most people don't. It also can be expensive if you are using your cellphone hotspot function. Lastly, not all of the Mac's have the ability to use this service even with the newer OS's (older models).

This is were being prepared ahead of time can save you time & money! At home I've already created a bootable USB thumb drive which also holds the OS installers as I upgrade the OS on my systems. That way I don't waste time trying to rebuild my system or even to maintain it (running Disk Utility and HD defrag tools as needed)

If you have a friend who has a Mac you should be able to setup a USB thumb drive as a bootable drive using Disk Utility & OS Installer already on his system. Once the USB thumb drive is prepped, you should be able to copy over the OS installer app onto the USB thumb drive to boot up your system so you can prep and re-install the OS once you use it to boot up your system.

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This might be a dumb question, but would an external hard drive work instead of a thumb drive?

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Yes! it is just as good! The issue is mostly cost and size. Thumb drives are cheap and you can have a bunch setup with different OS's and tools. If you can get a Thunderbolt Hard Drive (or for older models FireWire) as the I/O speed is much faster than USB port these systems have. That way you're not twiddling your thumbs as you wait for the OS to load ;-}

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