Does an 'Erase and Install' really erase everything?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by hamster, Jul 3, 2005.

  1. hamster macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2005
    #1
    I have an iMac G4 that I've just sold and I plan to do a clean install of Tiger for the new owner. I've already deauthorized iTunes on this machine - but before I choose the 'Erase and Install' option I want make sure it is going to do what I want...which is return the machine to like new condition -- leaving no hidden files, etc. behind that might contain sensitive data. You hear horror stories all the time about Windows machines that continue to hold on to data no matter how hard you try to erase it. So what's the concensus - will this get the job done? Is there anything else anyone would advise doing before sending the machine off?

    Thanks - Oh, and while I'm at it -- am I correct that there is no need to reinstall Panther before Tiger (the machine is currently on 10.4.1 - I just want a clean install)?
     
  2. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #2
    Erase and install means reformatting the drive. There should be an option to also overwrite it with random data several times, I think, in such a way as is usually considered to remove pretty much all traces of data. If that isn't enough, you're pretty much going to have to pull the hard drive out and jump up and down on it and then set it on fire.

    And, yes, whether you have an Up-to-date or a full install DVD, once you have Tiger on the computer, you can use the DVD to do an erase and install. :)
     
  3. Linkjeniero macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    #3
    It is erased in the sense that it doesn't show anymore in the file system, but it is possible for some person with the knowledge and the right tools to recover that data. You see, the computer file system keeps a "table" where it lists the files you have, and their "addresses" in the hard drive (if it wasn't done this way, imagine how long would take to get anythink from the disk!). The problem is, when you delete a certain file (really delete, not trash it), what really happens is that the OS erases the name and address of the file from the table, and eventually it will take that space to put something else; but until that happens, all the 1s and 0s are still there, and CAN be recovered (mind you, this is not hidden files I'm talking about; if someone were to recover the data, they'd have to directly read it from the hard drive). So, what you can do to delete really sensitive files is overwriting them with only 1s or 0s before you erase them, so that if someone were to look there, nothing could be found at all (Actually, it is STILL possible to recover the data, with analog methods... but unless you are searched by the government, nobody is going to be able to do it ;)). To do this, you can use the command "rm -P file" from the terminal (begin "file" the file you want to delete for good).
    And about your other question: no, there's no need for that. Hope it helps.
     
  4. QCassidy352 macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #4
    I thought the "erase and install" option did actually overwrite zeros on to the disk; is that not true? I know that doing a "secure empty trash" overwrites the space that those files took up with zeros several times, so if you have anything that you really want to keep out of others' hands, trash it and do a secure empty before you reformat.
     
  5. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #5
    I am pretty sure that it is an additional option within the erase and install, because it can take rather a long time to overwrite the drive. But yes, I believe it is capable of doing this while you're doing the E&I. :)
     
  6. Plymouthbreezer macrumors 601

    Plymouthbreezer

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2005
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #6
    Be advised Tiger doesn't include Classic or Appleworks, so you might want to use the original restore DVD and then upgrade to Tiger from there.
     
  7. fartheststar macrumors 6502a

    fartheststar

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2003
    Location:
    Vancouver
    #7
    I was going to ask this very question. I'm running 10.2.8.

    Going to upgrade to Tiger
    I want to do an Erase and Install
    I want Classic to work

    I thought that "Upgrade" was the worst way to upgrade the OS. Why would I "erase the drive", do a restore, and then "upgrade?"

    Isn't there a cleaner way to put on classic after you do an erase and install?
     
  8. Plymouthbreezer macrumors 601

    Plymouthbreezer

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2005
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #8
    Yes. But, you're not going to be messing around with the clean install of 10.2.8, so it will be a clean install that will take it back to original factory condition. Just boot back up into 10.2.8 after you've installed that, and then pop in the Tiger DVD and upgrade from there. This way, you have all your apps and such, as well as Classic.

    The other way is to just back up Classic and AW/other apps and reinstalled them, but it's a lot more work for you as you have to either burn to DVD/CD or an external drive (such as an iPod, which works fine for this). However, if you do it this way, be prepared to give up an afternoon if not longer. For what you're trying to do, I'd just erase and install with the restore disk, and upgrade to Tiger from there.
     
  9. public enemy macrumors regular

    public enemy

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2005
    Location:
    COLORADO
    #9
    if you go this route, please post pics of you doing it!
     
  10. killmoms macrumors 68040

    killmoms

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #10
    You don't have to do this either. Just do this:

    Step 1) Erase & Install Tiger.
    Step 2) Insert Restore DVD.
    Step 3) Run "Install Applications & Classic Support" on the DVD.
    Step 4) There is no Step 4.

    No "upgrade" needed.
     
  11. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #11
    Preferably, put it in iMovie, drop it into slow motion, with that Geto Boys song in the background that has the lyrics, "Back up in your *** with the resurrection!" :D :D :D
     
  12. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    Apr 24, 2003
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    Colly-fornia
  13. GodBless macrumors 65816

    GodBless

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2005
    #13
    Disk Utility has an option to do a write 0s to the whole disk either 1 time, 7 times or 35 times. This option is located when you press the "Security Options..." button in the "Erase" section in the Disk Utility application. This is probably the safest method. Erase and Install as far as I know doesn't erase anything otherwise you'd be waiting a while for it to do so. I've heard that zeroing out the data is a time consuming process.
     
  14. McApple macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2005
    #14
    I am currently in the process of writing zeros over and writing random data over my hard drive 8 times on my iMac G4. It is taking a very long time, probably goin on 5 days now...
     
  15. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #15
    FIVE DAYS???? :eek: :eek: :eek:

    Wow. :(

    I would've thought in the 5-10 hours range.... :eek:
     
  16. CubaTBird macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2004
    #16
    could your imacs hard drive go bust because of all the heat and stress put on the platters of the drive? :confused:
     
  17. fartheststar macrumors 6502a

    fartheststar

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2003
    Location:
    Vancouver
    #17
    Nice. Much better. Will do this. Easy.
     
  18. McApple macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2005
    #18
    Yeah I know, one of my friends told me if would take about 6 to 8 hours, maybe its just my computer. :confused:
     

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