Previous 1 2 Next 20 Replies Latest reply: Nov 19, 2009 8:24 AM by Maria Folsom
Maria Folsom Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
I'm planning to sell my iBook, and I forgot how to clear it of all my personal information without deleting the useful software and applications. Can someone please remind me about how to do a secure clean-up? Thanks.

G5 iMac OS 10.4.11; MacBook OS 10.6.1, Mac OS X (10.6.1)
  • Adrian Clarke1 Level 4 Level 4 (3,580 points)
    Hi Maria,

    First go to System Preferences>Accounts. Click the '+' sign at the bottom and create a new admin account. Make a note of the password. Log out and log in again into the new account. Click the '-' (minus sign) at the bottom, select the old account, confirm with password when asked and select the option that doesn't save the home folder.

    When that has finished open Disk Utility, select the volume name in the left hand pane, then select the 'Erase' tab and then the 'Erase free space' button.

    That's the quick and dirty method, the clean and correct way is to format the drive using the installation disk(s) & erase using at least a single pass of zero overwrite. Re-install the OS and & shut down at the end of the installation so that the new owner gets to name the Home folder and choose the password. WRT to software/apps, technically and legally these should be accompanied by the original installation disks along with a note of the registration serial #s if relevant. All Apple disks for the OS and Software should likewise be supplied to the new owner.

    Good luck,

  • Maria Folsom Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
    Thank you, Adrian! I like your "quick and dirty" method and will use that. I appreciate your time and advice.

  • Maria Folsom Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
    Ah, Adrian, it didn't work. I created the new account as you said, logged out, logged in again, and then you say: "Click the '-' (minus sign) at the bottom, select the old account, confirm with password when asked and select the option that doesn't save the home folder."

    When I click this minus sign, it wants to delete the NEW account, not the old one. It will not even allow me to select the old one.

    Too bad.
  • Maria Folsom Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
    I thought the advice I got would work. I then tried it - it didn't work. I was too hasty in marking this "Helpful" or "answered." Sorry.
  • Adrian Clarke1 Level 4 Level 4 (3,580 points)
    Maria, you need to log into the NEW account to delete the old one. From my advice above:

    " Log out and log in again into the new account."

    Try again

  • K Shaffer Level 6 Level 6 (11,700 points)
    So long as the new account is of an Admin level (not Standard or lower) there is
    nothing wrong with the advice given; and it is quite helpful, for a Quick method.

    The more time-consuming method would leave a new owner with a new installation
    and the first-run would be as-new, with them able to personalize the Mac/OS by name.

    The value in booting from the computer's original software installer disc#1 and run
    the Disk Utility in the header menu under Installer, is that you can wipe all the drive
    content totally and securely (low-level overwrite, in one pass, should be OK) and
    then have the Utility reformat the computer's drive, thereby defragmenting it and to
    leave virtually nothing on the drive, except for an all new installation. And quit the
    Installer just before the computer's first-run splash screen for setup starts; then a
    new owner has the responsibility of personalizing and updating the computer.

    This path implies the Installer is actually run after Disk Utility has wiped the drive;
    and the computer is quit before personalization dialog boxes appear. And that
    any original installer and restore discs, booklets, wires and papers that belong
    with the computer would be included as part of the transaction.

    Any software you bought and installed in the computer should be removed, when
    the installer discs & passwords to re-install that software (license) is not included.
    Third-party apps not to be included in full with the computer, on their installer disc
    sets should be removed from the computer. A free uninstaller utility can be used
    to find all parts and remove them. AppCleaner 1.2.2 is a freeware remover tool.

    Anyway, as easy as the Quick method may be, you have some responsibility to
    your own position and that of the new owner- to do whatever you decide, right.

    Good luck & happy computing!
  • Maria Folsom Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
    Adrian, that's where I'm stumped. When I "log out" (and even shut down my computer completely) then "log in" again through System Preferences>Accounts, it automatically logs me into my OLD account, the one I want to delete, and asks for my password.

    Once I'm "in" the minus sign is always grayed, so I cannot delete that OLD account. If I click on the NEW account, of course, the minus sign is active.

    I guess I'm not logging in properly. Can you advise me? Thanks.
  • Maria Folsom Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
    To K Shaffer:

    Thanks. I may have to resort to this "clean up" method. The reason why I am reluctant to do it is that I have added lots of other software, utilities, games, etc. to the computer which will make it more valuable to resell. The 'ultra' clean-up would of course remove all these neat programs.

    Anyway, I might have to do that. Will wait for any other advice - Adrian (above) is patient and kind enough to keep helping me.

    Much appreciated,
  • Adrian Clarke1 Level 4 Level 4 (3,580 points)
    Hi again Maria,

    Go to System Preferences>Accounts and select 'Login Options' at the bottom of the left hand pane above the +/- signs. De-select 'Automatically log in as...'

    Restart and log in to the new account.

    Good luck,

  • K Shaffer Level 6 Level 6 (11,700 points)
    If any of the installed games or applications were freeware or simple license
    where the single-copy includes an original license, and you made archives
    of the subject computer's hard drive content of this nature, on DVD or CD-R;
    some of those download to install items (if you also kept .dmg or other files)
    could be given to the prospective new owner for them to later install. In a
    few cases, this may be legal if the only existing copy was on a backup
    disc and then not distributed. Each software company has a variety of
    rules and laws to help protect their intellectual properties.

    When you "buy" software, you often just get a limited user license to use it
    and do not actually own rights to the software beyond the end user license;
    so when you do not include the disc media an original software shipped on
    the actual license is not conveyed to the next user. In some cases, to just
    possess the installer disc and password/serial number may not be enough.
    To actually get a permission to transfer ownership may be required, since
    you only purchase a limited license to use the software & do not own it.

    This is the reason why I mention the usual path to preparing a computer
    for resale or gifting to a non-household member where the license is not
    in the same name anymore and actual responsibility has changed.

    I've tried to include many extra discs of freeware in .dmg or .zip files on
    DVD and CD media with the few computers I've given to individuals or
    sold; and included original disc media only with those I've gave/sold or
    when that was not possible, the Salvation Army stores only received a
    basic boot system in HD to prove those given them did in fact operate;
    and included everything I had (sometimes scavenged from other Macs)
    found to make each system as full as possible. Over dozens, donated.

    So, there are reasons why one is careful, and if you had personal info
    on your computers, it is a good idea to secure erase/reformat and do
    the fully new installation route. Old info, unprotected, is not difficult to
    gain access to off a computer left with most things on it. While you
    may trust the first new owner after yourself, the hard drive may outlast
    that relationship in the hands of others. And, user licenses are limited.

    The ability to erase free space can help make some of your old files
    more secure than just a simple drag to trash action. In any case, it
    is important to use the options you have in their best perspective.

    Good luck & happy computing!
  • Maria Folsom Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
    Hello, Adrian,

    It didn't work. I changed the Login Options to log in with my 'new account' and then restarted the computer. Upon Restart it asked me for my name and password. I enter my NEW name and NEW password - so I must be logged into the New Account.

    When I go into System Preferences>Accounts, the New Account is listed on top. I "unlock" the little icon on the bottom of window. That minus sign is ALWAYS grayed. If I click on my Old Account, the minus sign remains gray. There seems to be nothing I can do to make this minus sign active.

    Stumped again. Sorry I am so dense.

  • Maria Folsom Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
    Hello, K Shaffer,

    This was a good reminder and lesson for me - I understand the implications of passing on such software. As it turns out, I am not having any luck with deleting my old account on this computer for a new user, so I will probably end up making a 'clean sweep' without all the extra software.

    Thank you!
  • Maria Folsom Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)
    Forgot to mention: this happens whether I DESELECT "Automatically log in as . . ." or SELECT it with the New Account.
  • Adrian Clarke1 Level 4 Level 4 (3,580 points)
    Hi Maria,

    Did you make the new account Administrator? If you didn't then that would account for your being unable to delete the original account. From my first post:

    "Click the '+' sign at the bottom and create a new admin account."

    If it's not that then, like you, I'm stumped. I used this method when I passed my iBook on to my daughter back in June so I know it should work. If you didn't make the new account Admin you'll need to log into the old account to change the new account's privileges in System Preferences>Accounts, then do the log-out-of-old, log-into-new routine. (Don't use Fast User Switching)

    Have fun and post back.

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