12 Replies Latest reply: Nov 6, 2007 7:48 PM by belovedjs
belovedjs Level 2 (275 points)
Hi there

Soon I am giving my powerbook 12" to a friend. How do I clear off my hard drive of all my personal data (i.e., restore back to original)

Thanks for any help you all can give me.

MacBook Pro 17" and Powerbook 12", Mac OS X (10.4.8), ipod 5th generation, mini ipod
  • Pismo 900 Level 4 (1,110 points)
    Here is the process:

    1) You need either your original restore discs that came with your computer, or a retail version of Mac OS X (equal to or later than the version that originally shipped with your computer)

    2) Startup with the disc in the drive (either startup, let it go the desktop, and open up the program from there, or, when you turn on the computer, immediately hold down the "Option" key, pop the disc in and choose the disc as your startup volume... actually, just hold down the "C" key and pop in the disc), after the welcome screen, choose Disk Utility in the file menu before reinstalling the system, and when there, ERASE the hard drive and do a 35-pass erase for ultimate security (7-pass will do, but don't do anything less than that), then FORMAT the drive

    3) Reinstall software, and choose a "Clean Install" just in case.

    4) You should be set after that.

    Message was edited by: Pismo 900

    Sorry I couldn't list everything in #2, separately, step-by-step as I'm at work right now (company time).
  • belovedjs Level 2 (275 points)
    wow, it is a little more complicated than i thought it would be-

    i think my original discs (which are temporarily misplaced) are not readily available and if i found them i think they are before tiger version? not for sure. i do have a copy of OSX that i had purchased when it first came out. right now i have 10.4.10 on the powerbook. the hard drive was replaced last year by apple.

    i guess since it is a trusted friend, that i can just delete all my files and any programs i installed from the hard drive.

    thanks for your help-
  • Pismo 900 Level 4 (1,110 points)
    Well, now that I'm not on company time, but still at work (off hours)...

    I may have confused you.

    You CAN erase a PowerBook and install software with any present or higher version of Mac OS X. But you can't do vice versa.


    a) 1.5 GHz PowerBook shipping with Panther... if you have a Jaguar install disc, you can erase the drive, but can't install or restore the PowerBook using that disc, because 10.2 cannot install over 10.3, since that was the minimum system that came on the 1.5 GHz. Panther and Tiger versions will work.

    b) 1.0 GHz PowerBook shipping with Jaguar... if you have Jaguar, Panther, Tiger (or even Leopard coming soon!), you can do an erase and software restore/install with no hitches.

    Now, to do an official restore, you need the original discs that came with your computer. But, this is not necessary. Retail versions of Mac OS X will have everything you need except for any bundled software.

    For example, my 1.5 GHz PowerBook was an open box unit from CompUSA. It didn't come with the original discs. When I upgraded from what was on it (Panther) to Tiger, I did a complete erase of the system and put the new software on it. But it didn't come with the bundled software that originally came with it.

    (When I procured those original install discs on eBay, I was able to install a few applications that came bundled on those discs, such as Quicken and Graphic Converter... two applications that don't come on the retail versions of Mac OS X).

    Hope that made sense.

    The versions don't matter in terms of the 10.A.b-- what does that mean? Tiger discs can wipe out any version of Tiger, even if it's newer. So a retail 10.4.1 can erase and "restore" a PowerBook with 10.4.10.

    But again, you don't officially restore your PowerBook to factory settings without those original installation discs. But, with a retail version of OS X, it will put everything your friend needs to use it.
  • cornelius Level 6 (17,825 points)

    Formatting, Partitioning Zeroing a Hard Disk Drive
    Warning! This procedure will destroy all data on your Hard Disk Drive. Be sure you have an up-to-date, tested backup of at least your Users folder and any third party applications you do not want to re-install before attempting this procedure.

    Boot from the install CD holding down the "C" key.
    Select language
    Go to the Utilities menu (Tiger) Installer menu (Panther & earlier) and launch Disk Utility.
    Select your HDD (manufacturer ID) in left side bar.
    Select Partition tab in main panel. (You are about to create a single partition volume.)
    Select number of partition in pull-down menu above Volume diagram.
    (Note: 1 partition is normally better for an internal HDD.)
    Type in name in Name field (usually Macintosh HD)
    Select Volume Format as Mac OS Extended (Journaled)
    Click Partition button at bottom of panel.
    Select Erase tab
    Select the _sub-volume under Manufacturer ID_ (usually Macintosh HD).
    Check to be sure your Volume Name and Volume Format are correct.
    Select on Security Options button (Tiger) Options button (Panther & earlier).
    Select Zero all data. (This process will force the installer to write zeros to every block and map out bad blocks on your HDD. However, it could take several hours depending on the size of the HDD. If you want a quicker method, don't go to Security Options and just click the Erase button.)
    Click OK.
    Click Erase button
    Quit Disk Utility.

    Open installer and begin installation process.
    Choose to Customize and deselect Foreign Language Translations and Additional Printer drivers.
    Check box to install X11 (Tiger) BSD Subsystems (Panther & earlier).
    Proceed with installation.
    After installation computer will restart for setup.
    Quit installer (Command + Q) and shut down computer.
    When new user starts up computer it will start up to setup manager and can set up with own account.

    Be sure to pass on the install disk to the new owner as, according to the Software License agreement, the software can be installed on only one computer at a time.

    Please be sure to post back with further questions or comments.

    Good luck.


    Message was edited by: cornelius
  • SkyWolf Level 1 (20 points)
    How about a DOD Low level Format 17 pass swipe
  • belovedjs Level 2 (275 points)
    thanks all for your advice-
    i am not sure what the post just above this one is speaking of a swipe?

    and, in a couple of weeks, when i attempt to do it- (i don't know, it still looks a bit complicated, so we shall see if it is not that hard to do).

    thanks again
  • cornelius Level 6 (17,825 points)

    It looks more complicated than it actually is. I suggest that while you wait to do it, that you read through the directions several times so that you become familiar with the procedure. Post back with questions about anything in the procedure set out. You can do it, we can help.

    In terms of the 17 way pass, it is an erase option similar to the zero all data. However, you very likely don't need that level of security. The reformatting the drive actually destroys all data, and unless you have equipment like the FBI, it is essentially unrecoverable. Using anything more intensive that the zero all data can take days, and can, according to some people I have read, shorten the life of the HDD. Actually, reformatting and a simple erase will do fine.

    Please do post back with further questions or comments.


  • belovedjs Level 2 (275 points)
    thanks all for your input-

    i just realized that even though i found the original discs that came with the powerbook, i have a major problem i forgot about- (it must be selective remembering)

    my superdrive has not been functioning properly-
    i had a music cd stuck for a month that a tech got out for me, and i am extremely hesitant to put another cd in the drive again-

    so, back to my other idea of just deleting my files and such off of the computer.
  • Pismo 900 Level 4 (1,110 points)
    Actually, there are only three options available for a secure erase. (I wondered about that "17-pass" option since it doesn't exist). There is the "Zero Out" option, the "7-pass" option which zeroes out your data seven times, and then the "35-pass" erase that I mentioned which zeroes out, of course, thirty-five times.

    Now for the most infamous answer of all to your new predicament. One that I always give out. Target Disk Mode.

    You can do this by connecting your PowerBook to another Mac capable of running/installing the version of Mac OS X that's on your disc. Trouble is, this can only be done--because you have the original discs, not retail versions (or are they retail?)--on a similar model PowerBook. (Or if you have retail versions of the disc, since that runs on any machine).

    Though I wonder if it would work if it detects a compatible system, your PowerBook, and goes through with the installation process.

    Long story short, Target Disk Mode allows you to do many things, but in your specific case, now that I've gone into it, it might not work with original restore/install discs. (That's a first for me... giving a solution that won't work because of a rare stumbling block).

    Target Disk Mode is usually for transferring files, but you can also do it to install software to other computers that may have a faulty optical drive. For instance, if you wanted to install, say, iLife '08 on your PowerBook, you connect it to another Mac with the disc running, and then under Target Disk Mode, select your PowerBook as the destination volume.

    Message was edited by: Pismo 900

    You know, you can do a simple method of deleting your files. Any files that you created yourself and know you did, simply put those in the trash. When you've found all your files, do a "Secure Empty Trash" from the file menu instead of the regular empty trash method. The only other thing I see that would need to be deleted are preference files (this is more risky because if you throw something out that the system needs, there could be conflicts... back in the days of Mac OS 9, it was easy to just pick and choose things to throw out. Not with Mac OS X) from things like Safari, iTunes, iPhoto, and any other place with personal info, like Address Book, iCal, etc.

    The other big thing would be your user account itself. You'd have to rename it (the short name can't be changed without using third-party software), change the password to something else or just leave it blank so your friend can use it. The problem there is that even though the password is changed, I've found that the system will sometimes look for an original password for things like Keychain Access, etc. So your friend might want to install something new, or could be just working in Safari, and a pop up dialog box might come up asking for a keychain password or admin password (other than the new one).

    So I guess the real thing to do is completely reformat your hard drive to pack it all up and make it clean and usable from the start. =(
  • belovedjs Level 2 (275 points)
    the CDs are the original cds that came with the powerbook, but i think running an older version than it currently has. when the apple store replaced my hard drive last January, they put the newest OS on it at the time. it shows as having 10.4.10 now.

    right now i don't have access to another mac, but when i see my friend (who is more techie than me), i believe she might be able to figure out how to do what needs to be done and refere to this thread for further info.

    thanks bunches. most likely i will update this thread toward the end of this month with the results : )

    thanks so much!
  • cornelius Level 6 (17,825 points)

    Here is a simple method and doesn't involve erasing the hard drive originally posted by Kappy.

    Boot from your OS X Installer. After the installer loads select Disk Utility from the Installer menu (or Utilities menu if using Tiger.) After DU loads select your OS X volume from the list on the left, click on the First Aid tab, then click on the Repair Disk button. If DU reports any errors that have been fixed, then re-run Repair Disk until no errors are reported. If no errors are reported click on the Repair Permissions button. Wait until the operation completes, then quit DU and return to the installer. Now shutdown the computer for a couple of minutes and then restart normally.
    If DU reports errors it cannot repair you will need to use a utility like Tech Tool Pro or Disk Warrior

    If you don't have either of them or if neither of them can fix the drive, then you will need to reformat the drive and reinstall OS X.

    2. Next, boot to single user mode. Restart the computer and after the chime press and hold down the COMMAND-S keys until the computer starts up to a black screen with white type.

    3. At the prompt, type the following commands, each command followed by the Return key:

    /sbin/fsck -yf
    mount -uw /
    rm /private/var/db/.AppleSetupDone
    shutdown -r now

    The second-to-last command above will cause OS X to think that the operating system is newly installed, and when you reboot, it will send you through the Startup Wizard.

    Good luck.

  • belovedjs Level 2 (275 points)
    just wanted you all to know that i really appreciate all your advice and help.

    ends up when i gave my powerbook to my friend, and i didn't have too much time, and mostly just deleted my files. she also did some clearing off of my stuff off the hard drive, because i forgot to delete some stuff.

    again, i do appreciate all you all's help and advice. thanks bunches : )