Got a MacBook from my brother

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by timiscute, Jan 14, 2013.

  1. timiscute macrumors member

    Nov 12, 2010
    So I got this old MacBook from my brother and I was wondering what I should do to get it running as well as possible. It says mac OSx version 10.5.8 and has about a 150GB hard drive but like 100 is used up. Is there an easy way to wipe everything off the memory without deleting any necessary files? Let me know what I should do to get this computer running as best as it can and I'll be very grateful. Thanks.

  2. minifridge1138 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 26, 2010
    I'd recommend upgrading to OS X version 10.6.8. That's the latest version of Snow Leopard and it works really well on older MacBooks (some people have had luck with 10.7, others have not).

    You say you want to wipe the memory without deleting files, so does that mean there is nothing (files, applications, photos, etc) on the MacBook that you want to keep?

    As for physical upgrades, you really only have 2 options: more RAM, a solid state hard drive.

    If you told us what model MacBook you have (System Profiler -> Model Identifier) then we can tell you how much RAM your computer can hold.

    Feel free to ask questions, its the easiest way to learn!!!
  3. timiscute thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 12, 2010
    How do I upgrade to 10.6.8 and how much does it cost?
    All the files and photos etc I can do without I don't need any of it really.
    My model identifier is MacBook4,1
    What exactly does more ram do? just make it load apps faster and run smoother? Thanks for the help I really don't know much about this kind of this.
  4. minifridge1138, Jan 14, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2013

    minifridge1138 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 26, 2010
    You can buy Snow Leopard from Apple for $19.99 here:

    You buy the DVD, put it in your MacBook and it will give you the option of installing it. If you need help with the installation, just ask us (I won't describe it here because it is sort of off topic).

    What does ram do... I'll explain it in lay man's terms (and I'm sure other posters will say I made mistakes, or forgot something, but this is a basic explanation).

    The CPU is fast. Really, really fast.
    The CPU has to work on data.

    Imagine that all of the data has to be in a bucket. It takes time to put data in a bucket and it takes time to get data out of a bucket.

    The fastest buckets are built in to the CPU. They are called registers. They are also the smallest buckets. I mean small like a thimble and as fast as a jet plane. The CPU can only use the data in the registers.

    The next bucket is RAM (sometimes just called memory). This bucket is still very fast, but not as fast as the registers. It is much bigger than the registers. This is more like a swimming pool, but only as fast as a Ferrari (which is fast, but not as fast as a jet plane).

    The last bucket is the hard drive. This bucket is HUGE. It is huge like a lake.
    But it is also a lot slower than RAM; this is a person riding a bicycle.

    You can NOT upgrade the registers.
    You can buy bigger, faster RAM (imagine going from an inflatable pool to an Olympic pool).
    You can buy bigger, faster hard drives (imagine going from lake Tahoe to lake Superior).

    If you're still reading this, then good for you.
    Here's how the system works: All data has to flow from the Hard Drive, to the RAM, to the registers.

    Because the hard drive is so slow, you really only want to get data from it once. After you've got the data into RAM, you want to keep it there.
    If you don't have much RAM, then it can't hold much data and you'll have to get things from the hard drive.
    If you have a lot of RAM, then you can hold a lot of data before it gets full.

    Good luck.
  5. timiscute, Jan 15, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2013

    timiscute thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 12, 2010
    Thanks for all this help minifridge. I think I'm going to hold off on the RAM for now because the about my mac says my memory is 2GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM and the apple site said that 2GB should be good unless I was doing some hardcore editing and 3d modeling and such which I don't plan on doing right now. I am thinking about upgrding to Snow Leopard if its only 20 bucks. Do i need to have a disc for it or are you able to download it straight from the site? Also what are the benefits of Snow Leopard as compared to what I have. Is it faster? More features? Like what? Also about clearing all the crap on the computer to free up space? Is there an easy way or do I have to go through each folder and delete each individually?

    Also this is probably a simple question but how can I change the username/pw to get onto the computer bc its still my brothers name and pw and I wanna change it.

    Sorry for so many questions
  6. timiscute thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 12, 2010
    So after a bit of research I decided I am definitely heading to the mac store this weekend to pick up a copy of Snow Leopard. As far as deleting the hard drive is this process good for me?:
    It seems this is a simple way to start my own Username/PW for myself and delete all these old files at the same time. Is this right?
  7. brop52 macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2007
    Honestly I'd recommend a new internal HDD since over time the life it has left runs out. It could die without warning. I know your computer is old based on the 667MHz RAM but would you happen to know which machine it is? You can see with About This Mac. Once you know that information I would get a backup hard drive (External) so you can use Time Machine that Snow Leopard would have. Snow Leopard is more refined than Leopard and is used by many people who want to avoid going to 10.7 or 10.8. For many machines it is also the end of the road in terms of upgrades.

    Going to 7200 RPM and installing double the RAM will help the speed of using things. 2GB on Snow Leopard goes further than it would on Mountain Lion. When you max out the RAM it has to use virtual memory which uses the HDD which is a bottleneck. If you have a slow HDD with too little space available it makes it even worse. Plus, the computer uses shared VRAM (uses the main memory for video RAM which will be limited if too little RAM is installed.

    However if your Macbook is one of the original ones you max out at 2GB. A 4GB set would be about $44. The HDD is going to run in the $40s-60s range depending on the size and whether it is 5400 or 7200 RPM. Higher RPM will have more heat which in the polycarbonate Macbooks can be an issue.

    As for changing the user. You can do it as discussed but definitely don't try to change the old name to a new name. You will have issues after that.
  8. minifridge1138 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 26, 2010
    You might want to call the Apple Store before you go there. I live in the SF Bay Area (where there are a dozen Apple Stores) and none of them have it in stock. So you may have to order it from their website.

    Since you said you don't want to keep any of the files on the MacBook, I would use the install DVD to erase the hard drive and do a new installation of OS X. That's going to be easier (and more thorough) then trying to erase users.

    BIG WARNING: make sure that you don't want any of the software that's installed (Photoshop, etc). The Snow Leopard DVD comes with the OS and the default applications. You won't have iLife, iWork, etc...
  9. timiscute thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 12, 2010
    I ordered the Snow Leopard disc and installed it. It says I'm upgraded but it didn't delete any of my brother's old stuff. Should I just delete his account in System Settings and that will free up the space? This won't cause any problems because his was the original account or anything?
  10. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    I assume from your post you can login to your bros account and it has admin access? If so, just go to System Prefs under Users & Groups and add a new admin account for yourself. Now logout of his account and login to your new account. Then go back to System Prefs under Users & Groups and delete his account. You will get a prompt asking if you want to delete all his data... say yes.

    This will give you a fresh account for yourself and delete all his data.
  11. bogatyr macrumors 65816

    Mar 13, 2012
    That is the best layman's explanation I've read.
  12. timiscute thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 12, 2010
    One last question. I created my own admin account and deleted his old one. Upgraded to Snow Leopard. Only problem I have left is when I log on and in Terminal and stuff it says "my brothers name's" macbook. Is there a way to change it to say "my name's" macbook?
  13. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Go to System Preferences and in the Sharing pane at the top you can change the "computer name" to whatever you want.
  14. ResPublica macrumors regular


    Jun 12, 2011
    It's a good explanation, though I prefer to talk about short-term memory (RAM) and long-term memory (Hard Drive). We humans can easily remember like five things simultaneously(for instance when reading a text). So the short-term memory is limited in capacity but very fast for storage. Our long-term memory can easily remember a hundred things that happend decades ago, but it's not as easy to get things into that part of our memory. RAM gets reset all the time, like our short-term memory, and a hard drive is stable and durable.

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