I am going to be living in another country for a few years, I don't want to take my macbook, will it be ruined it if I leave it off for a few years? I've read in different places that you either need to let the battery drain, or that you need to leave it half full in order to store it for long periods of time. Are either of these correct?
If you won't be using the machine for years, erase and sell it or give it away before you move. Save your documents to a portable external hard drive, which will still be usable when you get back, or which you can take along if you want to. The MBP has some resale value now; in a few years it won't have any, and you'll have to replace it to run what will then be current software. The battery will inevitably die and be impossible to resurrect if it's left unused for years, and if left inside the computer it may damage the machine. Nothing you can do will preserve an unused, un-recharged battery for that long. Months, yes; years no.
We're on the verge of an OS and probably a hardware update. No way to divine what "a few years" will bring, except total obsolescense to the old computer and probably a dearth of service options. If unable or unwilling to take it along, follow eww's good advice: buy an external drive large enough to hold its contents, clone the drive onto it, wipe it clean and reinstall the native OS, sell it off and let someone else enjoy what life it has left.
I'll agree with what has already been said. Clone your drive, install a fresh OS, and sell it. For clarification on your question regarding leaving the battery partially charged vs. discharged. Normally, if you are going to be away for a while... weeks to a few months... you should leave your battery at about 80% (and your machine off... not sleeping). The reason for this is that lithium ion/polymer batteries have a safety feature that prevents them from charging if they should discharge to a critically low level. Under normal use, this doesn't happen, but if left discharged for a long period, it can happen. Leaving it fully discharged pretty much assures this will happen. That's why you leave it with a nearly full (80%) charge.
Now... when you're talking years... it's not going to make a difference what level you leave it at. Even unused, batteries will slowly discharge. Over the period of several years, even a fully charged battery will completely discharge and drop below that critical level. There really is no way to prevent it.
I contacted my local apple store and the genius bar said I should bring the battery charge down to 50%, bring the laptop in, and they would disconnect the battery for free. In a couple of years they would reconnect the battery, and if the battery was no good they would only charge me for a new battery. Go Apple!
So IF your computer is only a year or two old, so that there's a chance the battery might last two more, and IF you use it so little that you won't miss it for a couple of years, and IF you're willing to let at least two-thirds of its current fair market value evaporate away while you aren't using it, and IF you don't mind spending at least $129 for a battery at the end of that time to get it running again, and IF you'll be willing then either to use the same software that's on it now (with whatever security risks that entails) or to accept that it has become hopelessly insecure and functionally obsolete during the period of disuse, then having Apple disconnect the battery and leaving it at 50% charge is a reasonable option. If all of these conditions aren't met, it probably isn't reasonable to store the machine for two years, and you should sell it or give it away now.
Are you and Justinules the same person posting under different user aliases, or are you someone else who had a similar question?
If this post was dirrected at me, I can say that I only have one user account on this forum. The macbook pro that I am using now originally came with snow leopard installed. I updated through the app store to lion for $29. I will be able to update again, probably for the same price, to mountain lion. My machine will be two years old in late october of this year. If, after 6 months of owning my machine I was relocated overseas for a few years I would have been able to come back, update snow leopard, purchase lion, and purchase mountain lion. $129 for a battery, and $60 for operating system upgrades. How is that leaving my system insecure? $200 bucks to get me up and running again vs. $1299 for a new machine. I'd go with the $200 option.
Hi, victoryhat. The likelihood is that two or three years after the release of Mountain Lion, there will be no more Apple security updates available for it, just as there are have been none available for Leopard (10.5.x, released in Oct. 2007) since Lion was released in July 2011. Apple has accelerated the frequency of new OS X major releases recently, and Lion will be only about a year old (possibly even less) when Mountain Lion appears. After the recent spate of increasingly ingenious malware releases for the Mac OS, it appears reasonable to think there may, by two or three years from this summer, be malware against which Mountain Lion and today's anti-malware measures can't protect you. You may or may not be able to install whatever OS X version is then current, because your hardware may or may not meet its minimum requirements. (After two more years it probably will; after three or four more years it probably won't, if the past is any guide.) A lot of third-party advanced software will, two or three years from this summer, almost certainly require more powerful hardware than your low-end machine; your ability to upgrade to the software that is then current will be more and more limited the longer you are away. If you come back from your "vacation" to a computer that proves to be of little or no use to you any more, you will be lucky to sell it for $150, while if you sell it now or shortly after installing Mountain Lion on it this summer, you might get $700-1000 for it. That amount in the bank would be worth more to me than a machine sitting in a closet back home, bleeding its value away while nobody got any use out of it.
If this post was dirrected at me...
You can always tell who a post is directed toward in these forums by looking at the "(in response to...)" notation following the date and time of the post.
My humble opinion ...
You bought a laptop that is more expensive than most PCs for both its current and resale value if you needed to sell it.
In 3 years that resale will be far less than now, and you will have lost 3 years of its current value.
Sell it while you can, and invest the proceeds in a CD at a bank so it will be worth more in 3 years and you can buy the latest and greatest model then.
$200 bucks to get me up and running again vs. $1299 for a new machine.
If you don't need it, sell it.
When you return, that same used-computer money will buy a computer that is faster, better, and cheaper than the one you sold. Or maybe you will want a tablet by then. Or the super-duper deluxe iPhone. Or something that doesn't even exist now.
0MG. People seem not to be able to agree to disagree without getting personal. For all of you accused fools out there. I might be stationed in a combat zone. I might be volunteering for Engineers Without Borders. I might be going to prison (hopefully not). The last sofware update to snow leopard was mandatory because previous versions of the operating system did not support the Mac AppStore. A new machine that comes with lion installed will be able to upgrade through the App Store. As Eww pointed out there has been no updates to osx 10.5 since lion came out; leaving 5 years to update your computer. We shall just have to agree to disagree; no worries.