10 Replies Latest reply: Apr 23, 2013 9:42 AM by Alberto Ravasio
markdw Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

I have a 2011 iMac that shipped with Lion. I have upgraded this to Mountain Lion. However I want to sell it, and restore it to factory settings with Lion and shipped software. How do I do this as no software install discs came with the machine?

  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (255,890 points)

    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.

  • John Galt Level 8 Level 8 (41,045 points)

    First ensure you have a reasonably fast Internet connection. It will take a couple of hours for your iMac to reinstall OS X.


    If you have previously authorized your Mac for iTunes or Audible account purchases, "deauthorize" it from the iTunes Store menu.


    Restart your iMac using OS X Recovery. There are no System Installation discs and you do not need any.


    When you see the following screen, select Disk Utility





    Erase the iMac's disk. If you are concerned about the presence of personal information than select "secure erase free space" but just select the single pass (fastest) method. This is sufficient for all but the most expensive and time - consuming data recovery techniques.


    Quit Disk Utility, then select "Reinstall Mac OS X" from the Mac OS Utilities screen.


    When it is finished, your Mac will restart. Setup Assistant will appear. At that point just shut off the iMac.

  • markdw Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I have completed the steps oulined above however when I come to choose "Reinstall Mac OS X" from the Mac OS X Utilities menu I am required to add my Apple ID which of course I do not want to do.


    Also I do not have the option to install Lion (the OS it came with) only Mountain Lion, which I assume will not be licensed for the new user.


    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (255,890 points)

    You must enter your Apple ID. If you can't then you had an illegal copy. Otherwise, if you had Lion installed it will be reinstalled. Why would you not want to enter your Apple ID?

  • markdw Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I am selling the iMac and therefore don't want the details to be assocaited with the computer. It came with Lion but it only seems to want to install Mountian Lion.

  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (255,890 points)

    Your Apple ID is requested to verify legal ownership. It is not embedded in the installation. When the purchaser has need to reinstall he/she will have to purchase their own license. Don't be concerned.

  • Ahope2012 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    When i'm on the erase menu the options are there but are faded out , so i can't press them, any advice, please?

  • idvic Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    In the DU option, should I choose Macintosh HD or the option on the top of it?

    what would happen if you choose the physical hard drive above Macintosh HD and select erase for this option?


  • deerob1 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)


  • Alberto Ravasio Level 4 Level 4 (3,700 points)

    It is not necessary if you are reinstalling the original OS that came along with the computer. In the case of markdw, it was Lion.


    User ID and password are required if you install an OS that you bought at later time.


    Because markdw has a Recovery Partition that was updated and/or created when he installed Mountain Lion, the download process is getting Mountain Lion and not Lion.




    You must completely erase the disk, including Recovery partition and perform an OS X Internet Recovery or, if you have another Mac running Lion, use OS X Recovery Disk Assistant v1.0 to create a boot USB drive to restore Lion from Apple servers.