6 Replies Latest reply: Feb 9, 2013 5:56 AM by scottfromboalsburg
scottfromboalsburg Level 1 (0 points)



I am having a very hard time. This is my first mac (have ipad iphone etc, first deskptop) I still have my pc workstation but

my mother offered me her imac which she got rid of for a laptop, and i got to liking it a lot.


Anyways It was a pain having her login etc. So i wanted to erase the HDD and start with a fresh IOS install. On a pc this is very

easy because all i do is format the HDD and boot a fresh windows.


However, i erased the HDD with the apple utility (apple+R during startup) and then i went to install a fresh OS  (no disc needed on lion)

but it says "couldnt partition drive error: couldnt unmount drive"


i get the same error trying to do anything basically. I have read that this can be an error if files are still in use. I believe some of her files are locked. She could not remember some sort of password needed. I used the terminal to reset the password and was able to change the p/w in order to change the associated apple ID but some files were still locked and would not allow me access. something about the old keychain still locked? im not sure why she had a different password from her apple ID password. The hint is no help.


I have tried everything and now the computer is not bootable since i erased the old OS. There is no timeline backup. The disc may be around but i have no idea

where and i doubt she does either.


Any suggestions? My father has a mac at home so if i need to create some sort of boot on a USB that may be possible. i of course have my PC as well but i am not familiar with Linux


I consider myself OK with PC, am able to handle most things, but macs are so new to me i dont even understand a lot of the utlity things (such as mount, unmount, what images do etc)


Thank you in advance for any help, and especially links that are noob friends



p.s. everyone has been pretty helpful so far but i expect the usual backlash to be "you must have stolen it if you want to erase without password"

which is not true. Im sure i could find a purchase record and credit card used for apple if necessary, but prefer to solve on my own instead of sit on the phone for hours

  • BDAqua Level 10 (122,286 points)

    Hi, real shame you erased it before asking, there's far easier ways to get YOU on that Mac, oh well.


    See if any of these help...








    If not an Apple Store could help you.

  • scottfromboalsburg Level 1 (0 points)

    Yes i was a real idiot and just dove in thinking i new how the boot system worked.


    I have read the articles you provided, the last one is what i was trying.


    Thank you for your time! will search for disc and then go to apple support

  • Shootist007 Level 6 (16,660 points)

    Right that system was built before Lion was out so it came with an older version of OS X and the system came with System Reinstall discs. Since it has Lion installed on it then your Mother bought Lion and it is Tied to Her Apple ID. You need the original system discs.

  • scottfromboalsburg Level 1 (0 points)

    that is not correct. i did not state anywhere when the system was built. It is 100% original she would not have known how to or had any desire to install a new OS

  • Shootist007 Level 6 (16,660 points)

    Then if the system Came from the factory, from Apple, with Lion Pre-Installed you can use the Apple Online Internet Recovery system.


    That is where the system is booted from Over the Internet to the Online Lion Recovery HD system. Allowing you complete access to the internal hard drive to Re-Partition the drive and or Erase the Complete drive, Not just erase one partition.


    To access the Online Internet Recovery system you hold down the Command+Option+r keys at startup until you see a Spinning Globe in the center of the screen. It is best to have the system Wired to your internet router, Ethernet cable from Mac to Router, as if you use WiFi and it drops out you will need to start over from the beginning.


    Good Luck & Best Wishes.

  • scottfromboalsburg Level 1 (0 points)

    hi thank you so much for the help. I wish i could say i figured it out but i have no idea what i did. kept trying to partition, and finally when i went into the "reinstall lion" it had a partition that i could use. Where it used to only show a partition of 600mb which i think is the recovery or disc utility


    So not out of the woods yet but at least its doing something


    thank you again, appreciate the help