Does a fresh OSX install erase your drive?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by ndriver182, Jan 22, 2009.

  1. ndriver182 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 26, 2007
    I'm actually about to sell my mac mini and made an attempt to install a fresh copy of OSX for the new owner. Unfortunately the disc drive went kaput with 8 minutes left in the install (long story). The new owner will have to install OSX with a new disc drive of their choosing (internal or external), but I'm just curious if anybody knows whether or not the install got far enough into the process to consider the drive "clean". Any thoughts?
  2. EricNau Moderator emeritus


    Apr 27, 2005
    San Francisco, CA
    Can you provide more specific information about the install process and how much was completed?

    Realistically, even a complete fresh install does not "erase" your hard drive; your data is still there, but marked for deletion.

    I suspect the drive will appear empty, however, if your drive contains sensitive information you may want to consider a more secure way to overwrite (i.e. erase) the data.
  3. ndriver182 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 26, 2007
    All I know is before the disc drive gave out the install had "8 minutes remaining" and it just hung there for almost an hour doing nothing.

    What about this thought. Can I buy any brand external USB disc drive to install OSX with or does it have to be "mac compatible"?

    Is there an option to choose to "erase" the date when installing OSX? I guess I didn't look that closely.
  4. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    A "clean install" won't erase any data on your hard drive. What it does: It will completely ignore whatever system folder you had on your hard drive previously and install a brand new system folder, all the other data will remain unchanged.

    As long as you can boot from the MacOS X DVD, you can switch to "Disk Utility" and it has options to erase the drive.
  5. ndriver182 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 26, 2007
    Picked up a USB drive at Staples this morning. I'm off to the races. Erasing the HD now and will install a fresh copy of OSX when it's done.
  6. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    Just to be clear, there's no such thing as either a "fresh" install or a "clean" install. The options are "Erase and Install" and "Archive and Install." The former erases your hard drive, the latter just replaces your System folder.
  7. solaris macrumors 6502a


    Apr 19, 2004
    Oslo, Norway
  8. ndriver182 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 26, 2007
    Well, in the OSX install I went into utilities and "wrote zeros" to the entire hard drive. Then when I installed OSX itself I told it to do an erase and install. I think it's probably good enough.

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