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I have a Mac. It's is a big mess and I'd like to start afresh and install OS X again on top of it, getting rid of the old install and all the files.

However, I'd like to somehow save the state of my old OS somewhere, in case I need a file from the old system etc. What would be the easiest, safest, cleanest way to do this?

I could of course save all files somewhere on a hard drive, but ideally I'd have some way to boot the old system, in case I need some info from inside an application or so - is this possible? What would you suggest? Is TimeMachine suitable for this? Carbon Copy Cloner? I am so worried to go wrong somewhere in the process and lose my old system forever.

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