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Can I delete old Admin account instead reinstalling OS X?

464 Views 4 Replies Latest reply: Dec 17, 2012 7:09 PM by Király RSS
davidwag Calculating status...
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Dec 16, 2012 9:54 AM

I'm giving my old iMac to a friend. It's running Leopard, but I've lost the install discs to reformat the computer. Is creating a new admin account and completely deleting the old one a sufficient way to clear all files and history?

  • mende1 Level 10 Level 10 (89,470 points)

    Call Apple to get replacement DVDs > Applications won't be deleted erasing the old user, so you should reinstall Mac OS X

  • John Galt Level 7 Level 7 (33,065 points)

    Yes, for personal information stored in your User account. After you do that use Disk Utility and "Erase free space".


    The single pass (fastest) method is sufficient for all but the most time-consuming and extremely expensive data recovery techniques.


    Be sure to "Deauthorize" your Mac for iTunes purchases. If you configured a Firmware Password you need the original installation discs to remove it. Your friend will encounter additional limitations without them.

    MacBooks  iMacs  iPods  AirPorts, OS X Mountain Lion,  27 years Apple!
  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (221,010 points)

    Yes, it will remove them from the disk's directory. But the data are still on the drive and recoverable. If you have sensitive data on the drive you wish to keep secure, then when you delete the old admin account select the option to use Secure Erase. Now, this option does a 7-pass security erase that will take a very, very long time. The more data that you are removing the longer the time will be. It's possible for it to run into days. So be prepared for the process to be long.


    If you do not use secure erase the process is very fast, but any sensitive data on the drive is still recoverable.

  • Király Level 6 Level 6 (9,460 points)

    It's not enough to delete the user account and set up a new one. Personal data can still be stored outside of it. I have, for example, found records of my web browsing history, email attachments, and other stuff that OS X had copied to  /private/var/folders. So don't assume that deleting a user account will be good enough.


    Furthermore, the license for OS X 10.5 requires that the original install discs must accompany the installed software when transfering it to a new owner. You can't give away a copy of 10.5 and not include the install discs - it's software piracy.


    Call Apple and order a replacement set of install discs, like mende1 suggested. Or, completely erase the hard drive, removing all software, and tell the friend that the computer will come with no software, and that he will be on his own for obtaining his own set of install discs.


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