4 Replies Latest reply: Jun 29, 2006 7:36 AM by Dave_K.
Dave_K. Level 3 Level 3
Hey gang-

Is there a way to get a Mac to redo the new machine setup dialogs the way a Mac does the first time it is started out of the box? I'm selling my iBook and it would be nice for the new owner to be presented with that. I know I could do it by erasing and reinstalling the original CDs, but I'd like to include the various incremental Software Updates that I've done to save the new user the trouble.

Is there a way to get a Mac to do this?



iMac G5 20, Mac OS X (10.4.6)
  • Allan Sampson Level 10 Level 10
    Hello Dave.

    Tough one to do since you must go thru the computer setup assistant after performing an Erase & Install and create an admin account in order to install all available OS, Security and Apple application updates and/or 3rd party software if included with the sale.

    I understand wanting to do so but unless the buyer has a dial-up internet connection, using Software Update to install all available OS, Security and Apple application updates is not a major task or issue IMO.
  • John Child Level 4 Level 4
    Hi Dave,

    This isn't so hard. Get the computer to the state you want it to be for the new owner -- software & updates installed; your files erased (Secure Empty Trash would be wise unelss the buyer is a family member or close to you); everything set.

    Then follow the recipe carefully to delete the existing user(s)' files, reset the database that keeps track of users, and get the Setup Assistant to run as if it were a new install at the next boot, keeping installed applications and the system.

    1. Reboot into single-user mode (reboot the machine and hold down the Apple +s keys as soon as you hear the startup sound.)
    2. You'll get dumped into the terminal. Wait for the command prompt to appear and type: mount -uw /
    -- This mounts the boot volume so you can edit it.
    ** Be very careful from this point forward.**
    3. Type: cd /Users
    -- Moves into the Users directory
    4. Type: rm -rf *
    -- Deletes all of the User folders (Shared, etc.) in the Users directory. BE VERY CAREFUL with this command - make sure you're in the Users folder. If you're not positive, type: pwd - the output should be "/Users"
    5. Type: cd /var/db/netinfo
    -- moves into the directory that contains the account information
    6. Type: rm local.nidb
    -- Clears the netinfo database and all of the existing accounts on the system
    7. Type: cd ../
    -- Moves up one level
    8. Type: rm .AppleSetupDone
    -- Remove the file that tells the OS that setup has already been run - note the period in front of the filename.
    9. Type shutdown -h now
    -- Shuts down the Mac

    Good luck,

  • R C-R Level 6 Level 6
    John's method may work for the most part, but there are some things to be aware of that might cause problems for you or the new owner.

    First, it doesn't get rid of everything you have installed or caused to be created in /Library or any of the caches except those in the /User folder. Some of the /Library items are probably things you want to pass on to the new owner, such as plug-ins that support apps. Some aren't, such as many of the /Library/Preferences items set by an admin user. Some may even contain sensitive data.

    Second, you will be passing on a lot of clutter of dubious value to the new user, like logs, & any corruption of files that an Erase & Install would get rid of.

    Third, Setup Assistant may or may not be designed to work & play well with updated apps & system components. This is unchartered territory. It may "undo" some of the things you want the new owner to have, or not.

    Forth, if you have set up, for example, the Apache web server or any other UNIX-based service that required root or sudo access, these files will not necessarily be in their default state.

    Fifth, there may be support items in /Users/Shared for both Apple & third party apps. John's step 4 will erase them.

    Sixth, you need to consider OS 9 folders if you have used Classic, particularly if you have migrated anything from an older Mac. You may have user items, preferences, etc. that need to be purged.

    Seventh, I probably have forgotten other things that more knowledgeable folk can fill you in on.

    So, while it is possible to do what you want, it isn't really as easy as it seems. A better approach, & one that will serve both you & the new owner better in the long run, is to completely wipe the drive with a secure erase. Consider making a "bonus" CD or DVD for the new owner with all the latest updates, as a companion to the original installer set.

    Something else to consider: If the Mac that you are putting up for sale did not come with Tiger, you can't include it legally in your sale unless you include the retail DVD & license you used to install it. The same is true of any apps that you might have added to the used Mac, including shareware you payed for. Aside from the ethical implications, you do not want to run into problems because of "shared" registration codes should you need them for support or upgrades.
  • Dave_K. Level 3 Level 3
    Wow gang- great responses! I think I'll stick with the safest path for everyone. I'll erase and install from the original CDs that came with the iBook. That way the owner will get Setup Assistant and can apply just the Software Updates that they want.