reformating

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by stag, Aug 5, 2006.

  1. stag macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2006
    #1
    Hi,

    I need to reformat my Mac and basically wipe everything. What is the best method to do so? Would I have reinstall all the stuff you get when u first purchase a mac? As u can see, i have never done this so advice very welcomed...

    Cheers
     
  2. slooksterPSV macrumors 68030

    slooksterPSV

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    Nowheresville
    #2
    Need and Want are 2 different things, but here we go:

    Reformatting a computer wipes everything out on the hard drive - or in Macs case, destroys the part that contains information regarding files in the file system. It reformats that part so that you can throw new data (overwritting old data) onto the drive. So in essense, yes you have to reinstall everything from the OS down to the specific apps you want.

    I recommend backing everything up first to a DVD/CD or External or Networked drive that you want or need.

    Next boot up from the OS X CD/DVD and choose utilities->disk utility
    Click on the hard drive and choose erase (format = erase) and click the Erase button. This will take about 15-30 seconds. Afterwards, continue on installing OS X and all your utilities/apps you need.

    If you need a deep clensing, erase the drive then Erase Free Space... and do it just a one time pass - depending on the drive size this coudl take anywhere from 30min - 24+ hours. Depending on HDD size.
     
  3. stag thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2006
    #3
    Reformating

    Thx for the advice - just one further point, is there a method to deep clean without reformatting, and is this as good an opition?
     
  4. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #4
    I'm assuming you're transferring / selling the computer and want security, right? (The prev poster's comments I think were more about reformatting being an unnecessary step when you have problems with the OS).

    The thing about deep clean without reformatting is that it is predicated on the notion that you have deleted all files that contain privileged information. I think if you do the following, this is a fair assumption, but it will not be that much faster than a reformat and re-install.

    1) Create a new admin-level user account.

    2) Delete all old user accounts and make sure that they are not still in the Users folder (trash them and empty trash).

    3) Make sure the /users/shared is empty

    Now you should not have any personal data on there, because OS X does not store personal data outside of the user directory, unlike some ill-behaved operating systems we won't discuss here. ;)

    4) In Disk Utility, you click on the disk (e.g. Macintosh HD), the Erase tab, and then Erase Free Space. The options are analogous to the options you get when you reformat the disk from the install DVD. And they take just as long, scaled down by the amount of space used by files you still have (OS and apps).

    That's where the time issue comes in -- if you have a 200GB HD and 6 gigs are used by files you're keeping, it will take you a long ass time to zero out 194 GB. Not that much shorter than the amount of time it would take you to do the reformat. So you might as well just clean install.
     
  5. stag thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2006
    #5
    Well yes, I would like to keep all essential programmes and files (is there a neat programme or utility that will aid rather than having to do this manually?), and clean the machine up. I am "thinking" of selling the machine, but its cluttered so would like everything completely zapped, with nothing retrivable and fresh as it were new.

    So I guess reformating would be my answer then?

    Cheers
     
  6. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #6
    Are you selling it with additional software beyond what Apple installed? If not, then just put in the system install / restore DVD, open system preferences -> Startup Disk, select it in the list, then click the restart button in the window. When the system boots off the disc, follow the prompts to re-install OS X. After a couple of screens, I think, you will see an Options button (I think lower left). Click it, and you will get options on how to install, including the option to erase the hard drive first. What I would personally do is the one pass overwrite (because the 7 and 35 will take a LONG time) reformat.

    The system DVD will also let you install iLife, etc, assuming this computer is new enough to have come with iLife....
     

Share This Page