1 2 Previous Next 28 Replies Latest reply: Feb 8, 2013 6:42 PM by roirraW 'edor' ehT
blue hurry Level 2 Level 2 (165 points)

I am returning a 2011 MacBook Air running Lion and need to wipe all data and do a full-restore back to factory settings... How do I do that? I've found the Command-R-on-startup option to get to the Mac OS X Utilities screen, but here's where I am not quite sure what to do next...

 

Since Apple so brilliantly no longer include a USB stick with the OS for the new Air, I can't use Disk Utilities to wipe the hard drive. At least, I haven't found a way yet... Everytime I tried, I get an error message saying that there's only 1 partition and that it can't be erased.

 

The other option is to just reinstall the OS without first zeroing out the hard drive, which I don't want to do. Besides, if I reinstall the OS, I'd have to create another user-account and such... which isn't the same thing as just resetting it to factory settings.

 

So... any thoughts on how I can accomplish this task? This seems like it should just be a really simple process, but is so needlessly complicated!

  • 1. Re: How do I restore the 2011 MacBook Air to factory setting??
    Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (226,845 points)

    Boot from the Recovery HD by restarting the computer and after the chime press and hold down the COMMAND and "R" keys until the computer starts from the Recovery HD. Select Disk Utility from the main menu and click on the Continue button.

     

    2. After DU loads select your hard drive (this is the entry with the mfgr.'s ID and size) from the left side list. Click on the Partition tab in the DU main window.

     

    3. Under the Volume Scheme heading set the number of partitions from the drop down menu to one. Set the format type to Mac OS Extended (Journaled.) Click on the Options button, set the partition scheme to GUID then click on the OK button. Click on the Partition button and wait until the process has completed.

     

    4. Select the volume you just created (this is the sub-entry under the drive entry) from the left side list. Click on the Erase tab in the DU main window.

     

    5. Set the format type to Mac OS Extended (Journaled.) Click on the Options button, check the button for Zero Data and click on OK to return to the Erase window.

     

    6. Click on the Erase button. The format process can take up to several hours depending upon the drive size.

     

    At this point all your data are securely removed. You can shut down the computer or reinstall Lion from the main menu.

  • 2. Re: How do I restore the 2011 MacBook Air to factory setting??
    blue hurry Level 2 Level 2 (165 points)

    First off, thank you for the detailed response. If I shut down after the erasing process, then the computer will be as if it were new the next time it's powered on, right? My replacement Air just came today so this one is being sent back, but I want to be really sure that all my data is gone before it goes back.

  • 3. Re: How do I restore the 2011 MacBook Air to factory setting??
    blue hurry Level 2 Level 2 (165 points)

    In step 5, the "Options" button is disabled for me, so I can't even choose how I want to erase... Thoughts?

  • 4. Re: How do I restore the 2011 MacBook Air to factory setting??
    Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (226,845 points)

    If you just erase the drive but do not reinstall Lion, then you will return the computer with a blank drive, not as if it were new.

     

    However, the computer you are returning will only be resold as a refurbed unit, so Apple will install whatever software needs to be installed on it. You are not obliged to do that yourself unless you want to.

     

    If you follow the drive prep procedure I provided all your data is essentially securely erased. That is what the one pass Zero Data Security option does.

  • 5. Re: How do I restore the 2011 MacBook Air to factory setting??
    Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (226,845 points)

    Sorry, it should read Security button.

  • 6. Re: How do I restore the 2011 MacBook Air to factory setting??
    blue hurry Level 2 Level 2 (165 points)

    Oops... I think I may have done something wrong...

     

    1. Since the "Security Options" button was disabled I didn't click on it and just clicked on the "Erase" button.
    2. The erasing process was really quick... almost as if nothing happened.
    3. When I restarted the computer, I now get a flashing folder icon
  • 7. Re: How do I restore the 2011 MacBook Air to factory setting??
    Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (226,845 points)

    Yep, you've erased the drive (not securely) so now it's not bootable. Again, boot into the Recovery HD by restarting and after the chime press and hold the COMMAND and "R" keys until it boots from the Recovery HD.

     

    Follow the previous procedure from Steps 4-6 to simply do a secure erase of the Macintosh HD volume.

  • 8. Re: How do I restore the 2011 MacBook Air to factory setting??
    blue hurry Level 2 Level 2 (165 points)

    Oh man I give up. The new Air is nothing but problems... I did the Command-R on reboot and got to a recovery screen, but it can't move forward because it can't connect to the internet. I've tried everything to connect and it just won't connect. I've changed the wireless access point from WPA/WPA2 Personal back to WEP, I've made sure that the access point is being broadcasted and not hidden... Nothing will work. And I know that the password is correct because I have it written down and I tested it with this MBA and my Palm Pre. Nothing will work ack ack. I think I'm just going to send that stupid MBA back and let Apple deal with erasing the data :\

     

    So frustrated right now with Apple and the stupid things they are doing with Lion.

  • 9. Re: How do I restore the 2011 MacBook Air to factory setting??
    Pinkshells Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I have had the same problem...security option is greyed out. I followed your steps perfectly to the point I went back in by holding down the Option key at start up, connected the wifi, went back into disk utility and followed your steps again, still no security option. Is the security option not available because it's SSD?

     

    I erased the partition and did a clean install of Lion as I couldn't get a secure erase. Very frustrating.

  • 10. Re: How do I restore the 2011 MacBook Air to factory setting??
    Jacku Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    This is indeed VERY frustrating... We need the USB key!

  • 11. Re: How do I restore the 2011 MacBook Air to factory setting??
    emily92 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Mine has the security options button greyed out too, and I really need to do the zero data erase because I just sold it. How can I do that with the option button not showing up?

  • 12. Re: How do I restore the 2011 MacBook Air to factory setting??
    darrenjfox Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    This is how its done:

     

    It works on Mac OS X Lion only.

     

    1. Launch the Terminal application on you Mac. Then run the following sequence of commands (one at a time):

    sudo su
    dscl . -delete /Groups/admin GroupMembership yourAccountNameHere
    dscl . -delete /Users/yourAccountNameHere

    2. Now reboot your Mac into single-user mode by holding Command-S at startup.

     

    3. Once booted into single-user mode, run the following sequence of commands (one at a time):

    /sbin/fsck -fy
    /sbin/mount -uw /
    rm -R /Users/yourAccountNameHere
    cd /var/db/
    mv .AppleSetupDone .RunLanguageChooserToo
    rm -R /Library/Caches/*
    rm -R /System/Library/Caches/*
    rm -R /var/vm/swapfile*
    reboot

    Your Mac will reboot to the start of the initial Apple Setup program just like when you first powered it on after purchase. All clean and ready to sell or give to a new user.

  • 13. Re: How do I restore the 2011 MacBook Air to factory setting??
    lbcben Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi,

     

    Just a simple question

     

    rm -R /Users/yourAccountNameHere

     

    How to find out my account name from Macbook air?

    Thanks

  • 14. Re: How do I restore the 2011 MacBook Air to factory setting??
    Damonius Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I'm having this same issue.  "Security options" button is greyed out.  I need to securily wipe a computer that needs to be returned to my employeer.  Anyone figure anything out?  It is very important that I securily wipe it.  I deal with confidential student information.

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