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daniellaelizabeth Level 1 (0 points)

How do i restore my macbook to its original factory settings? I dont have a disk but to my understanding i don't need one, and i can do with out it. can anyone help with this?

MacBook, Mac OS X (10.5.8)
  • Kappy Level 10 (265,951 points)

    You cannot do what you want without the original installer disc that came with the computer or a later version of OS X installer, unless the computer came originally with Lion or Mountain Lion.


    Follow these instructions step by step to prepare a Mac for sale:


    Step One - Back up your data:


           A. If you have any Virtual PCs shut them down. They cannot be in their "fast saved" state. They must be shut down from inside Windows.

           B. Clone to an external drive using using Carbon Copy Cloner.


              1. Open Carbon Copy Cloner.

              2. Select the Source volume from the Select a source drop down menu on the left side.

              3. Select the Destination volume from the Select a destination drop down menu on the right


              4. Click on the Clone button. If you are prompted about creating a clone of the Recovery HD be

                  sure to opt for that.


                   Destination means a freshly erased external backup drive. Source means the internal

                   startup drive.


    Step Two - Prepare the machine for the new buyer:


              1. De-authorize the computer in iTunes! De-authorize both iTunes and Audible accounts.

              2, Remove any Open Firmware passwords or Firmware passwords.

              3. Turn the brightness full up and volume nearly so.

              4. Turn off File Vault, if enabled.

              5. Disable iCloud, if enabled: See What to do with iCloud before selling your computer.


    Step Three - Install a fresh OS:


         A. Snow Leopard and earlier versions of OS X


              1. Insert the original OS X install CD/DVD that came with your computer.

              2. Restart the computer while holding down the C key to boot from the CD/DVD.

              3. Select Disk Utility from the Utilities menu; repartition and reformat the internal hard drive.

                  Optionally, click on the Security button and set the Zero Data option to one-pass.

              4. Install OS X.

              5. Upon completion DO NOT restart the computer.

              6. Shutdown the computer.


         B. Lion and Mountain Lion (if pre-installed on the computer at purchase*)


             Note: You will need an active Internet connection. I suggest using Ethernet if possible because

                       it is three times faster than wireless.


              1. Restart the computer while holding down the COMMAND and R keys until the Mac OS X

                  Utilities window appears.

              2. Select Disk Utility from the Mac OS X Utilities window and click on the Continue button.

              3. After DU loads select your startup volume (usually Macintosh HD) from the left side list. Click

                  on the Erase tab in the DU main window.

              4. Set the format type to Mac OS Extended (Journaled.) Optionally, click on the Security button

                  and set the Zero Data option to one-pass.

              5. Click on the Erase button and wait until the process has completed.

              6. Quit DU and return to the Mac OS X Utilities window.

              7. Select Reinstall Lion/Mountain Lion and click on the Install button.

              8. Upon completion shutdown the computer.


    *If your computer came with Lion or Mountain Lion pre-installed then you are entitled to transfer your license once. If you purchased Lion or Mountain Lion from the App Store then you cannot transfer your license to another party. In the case of the latter you should install the original version of OS X that came with your computer. You need to repartition the hard drive as well as reformat it; this will assure that the Recovery HD partition is removed. See Step Three above. You may verify these requirements by reviewing your OS X Software License.

  • daniellaelizabeth Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for the response, I am very new with mac computers, but i dont have the disk, i bought the computer from a friend and i want to reset it to remove everything from the computer and im very lost. How can i find out if the lion or mountain lion is pre-installed on the computer? And if it isnt pre-installed, What are my other options to fix my problem? Please help!

  • Kappy Level 10 (265,951 points)

    First, why do you need to restore the computer to original factory condition? Second, to fully answer your other questions we need to know the model of your MB and the version of OS X currently installed.


    Click on the Apple menu in the left corner of the menubar and select About This Mac. You will find the installed version of OS X displayed in the dialog. Next, click on the More Info button which will open System Profiler. Report what you see displayed for Model Identifier in the opening display.


    What you want to do requires erasing the drive which cannot be done without an installer disc or another hard drive that contains a version of OS X that will boot your computer.

  • daniellaelizabeth Level 1 (0 points)

    Its not that i need to erase it i just want it to be like new, and because im not 100% mac savvy, i want it to be with out changes that the previous owner could of done. I dont need to reset it i just have no idea how to erase all of the stuff from the computer.

    Model Identifier:          MacBook5,1, MAC OSX Version 10.5.8

    Please let me know if you have any advice fr my problem. Thanks so much.

  • Kappy Level 10 (265,951 points)

    OK, what you need to do is purchase an OS X installer that you can use for your computer. I suggest you purchase Snow Leopard which is less costly that trying to buy Leopard. If you need to purchase Snow Leopard contact Customer Service: Contacting Apple for support and service. The price is $29.00 plus tax. You will receive physical media - DVD - by mail.


    Third-party sources for Snow Leopard are:


    Snow Leopard from

    Snow Leopard from eBay


    After you install Snow Leopard you will have to download and install the Mac OS X 10.6.8 Update Combo v1.1 to update Snow Leopard to 10.6.8 and give you access to the App Store.

    Be sure you meet the general requirements to install Snow Leopard:

    Snow Leopard General requirements


    1. Mac computer with an Intel processor
    2. 1GB of memory
    3. 5GB of available disk space
    4. DVD drive for installation
    5. Some features require a compatible Internet service provider; fees may apply.
    6. Some features require Apple’s MobileMe service; fees and terms apply.

  • DiNicola Level 1 (5 points)

    I called Apple and they said here's how you restore:


    1. Start computer up, holding OPTION key

    2. Select Recovery

    3. Select language (I'll choose English)

    4. Disc Utility

    5. Macintosh HD

    6. Select Erase tab

    7. Erase Disc

    8. back to OSX Utilities - Select Reinstall OSX (this makes it so your most recently installed operating system will be restored.  I bought my Macbook as a Leopard, but it runs Mountain Lion now.)

    9. Reinstall to Mac HD


    That's it.  I haven't tried it yet, but plan to when I get home.  Nothing to buy, and if I get stuck, they said I could take it into the Apple Store and a genius would help me.


    Hopefully this helps!


  • RW72 Level 1 (0 points)

    I have two imacs that need restoring to factory settings.  One worked perfectly usng the instructions above from DiNicola.  The other, however, only displays the main HD once started with the "Option" key held down.  It is not partitioned in any other way than updating/upgrading the OS. 


    Any ideas?


    Many thanks!


  • BrookeiMac Level 1 (0 points)

    DiNicola.. Unfortunately you do need a disc because mountain lion was not originally installed from Apple....

  • alfredrobinson1 Level 1 (0 points)


    Please i have a little problem with my Apple MacBook 10.5.2

    On the Start up, it accepts the Password, But when i want to update or download other program it refuses my password.
    Please, what I do about this, It has really made me not to be up tio date with the Software Update...
    Hoping to hear from you as soon as possible.


  • Meldeiry Level 1 (0 points)

    1 - Do you know if this process will work if I am currently running Mac OS X 10.5.8?


    2 - Do I need my original install disk? That disk is 10.5.6. If I use that disk, will I still be able to get the software updates from 10.5.6 to 10.


    I have a lot of junk on my mac and tons of software and data files and settings that I would like to get rid of (I backed up the data files I wanted to keep and have the install disks for the software I want to reinstall) and think this would be the best way to start clean.


    Any help you can provide would be a great help and thank you for the info you have already posted.

  • TSBN Level 1 (0 points)

    Hey DiNicola ...


    Worked like a charm! Thanks. Originally my old MacBook ran Leopard, but I upgraded to Mountain Lion last year; all went exactly as you described. Thanks again!

  • musiclover2013 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hey DiNicola,


    Thanks for the info that worked like a charm.  I am selling my Macbook pro and didn't want my information to be on the device.  I followed your steps and it erased all of my information off the Mac.  Thanks again it worked like a charm. 

  • mskbey Level 1 (0 points)



    Thanks for your tips. I had a MBP with retina display and needed to erase it to do an exchange since the line was updated 5 days after I received mine in the mail. Your instructions worked perfectly. I didn't need to purchase anything or deal with any discs. Thanks a bunch.

  • kayngel Level 1 (0 points)


    5. Upon completion DO NOT restart the computer.

              6. Shutdown the computer."


    Ummm... That doesn't make any sense.  Translation: Upon completion shut down your computer but don't restart it."

    So, like, what do you want us to do, keep our computers off for the rest of eternity?

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