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
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.
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.
When software came on disks, the above was MUCH easier.
Thanks for your help.
Still stuck on this problem. Getting back to it after attending other issues.
A couple of clarifications:
a) It's a new machine (15" MacBook Pro later 2011 model).
b) As far as I can tell, no disc for the OS
c) It came with Lion, and a voucher (which I immediately applied) to upgrade to Mountain Lion
d) I am not giving/selling the machine to anybody else. I am trying to have it revert to Lion (even if I have to reformat disks/partitionc, I don't have anything on the machine yet).
The reason for d) is because I am having issues when using an external display.
Looking around in the support forums, it seems a number of people at least had similar problems only with Mountain Lion, after upgrading from Lion.
Which is why I am trying to see if there is any (easy?) way to get back to Lion.
I need the external monitor more than I need Mountain Lion.
That said, I went through your steps. Twice. In one instance I did the "slow" reformat of the Macintosh HD partition - it took many hours, which was fine since I had to do something else.
Still, every time I get back to Three.B.7, I am only allowed to install Mountain Lion (over the network, no less, it will stop if I don't get the network connection).
So at the moment I am back to Mountain Lion (and the problem with the external display)
Like I said in the original post, the hard disk does have a OS image. I don't know if it is the original Lion or that, too, has been upgraded.
All I want at the moment is to get back to the original Lion that came with the machine, if possible.
You need to boot into internet recovery...this is the important part that isn't being done. Hold OPTION + command + R and turn the machine on. After booting into internet recovery, you'll notice the OS X Utilities will show Lion, instead of Mountain Lion. Then, you can repartition the drive. Select disk utilities >> the main drive in the upper left (the one showing the size of the drive) >> partition to the right. For layout, choose 1 partition. Click option, and make sure GUID partition table is selected. Close that little window. Make sure the format type is mac os extended journaled. Then Apply it.
When that's done, you can close disk utilities an install Lion.