Help! How can I wipe personal mail data? Giving mac as gift.

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by AlohaGir1, May 9, 2008.

  1. AlohaGir1 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 9, 2008
    Location:
    Melbourne
    #1
    I've searched the forums, but nothing seems to answer my question specifically.

    I'm giving my computer to my mother and I wanted to permanently wipe all my data/documents for two reasons: 1. To allow her the maximum amount of space and 2. To clear up any embarrassing emails... etc. which I know I have.

    So,
    I diligently went in and erased all my mail from "Mail".
    I went into Users/MyName/Library -etc and found anything mail related and deleted that (as far as I could tell I was erasing all my folders, in box, out box, downloaded files etc.)

    I also hit "empty trash" after I deleted stuff.

    However, when I did a search using "spotlight" it was showing up old emails I thought I had permanently deleted. Eek! I found this by accident when I was teaching my mother about "spotlight".

    My mother's not computer savvy enough to even remember how to use spotlight... but nevertheless I don't want my stuff on there.

    Other than doing a clean swipe of my hard drive and reinstalling the operating system. (i had OS X 10.3.9) and a friend updated me to OS X 10.4 - yes for free... naughty me... I don't feel guilty coz I did buy a whole new computer coz my 3 1/2 year old couldn't do what I wanted anymore - ie burn dvds, video record, wifi, more than 40GB HD... so they made a lot of money out of me!

    Anyway...
    I also don't really want to wipe the applications just in case something happens to my new computer. I'd like to be able to use the old one as a back up.

    So where oh where is all the mail data stored so that I can permanently delete it? And is there anything else I should do to permanently delete stuff. There is only about 14GB of free space, and I suspect that it is filled with stuff I haven't deleted properly (not just applications).

    Any advice?

    Thanks!!!

    PS: Yes, I have backed-up my old HD.
     
  2. merl1n macrumors 65816

    merl1n

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    #2
    The easiest thing to do is give her a clean system by installing a new OS. You can boot off of the installation DVD, erase the hard disk and do a fresh install.
     
  3. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Location:
    キャンプスワ&#
    #3
    I would second this.

    Wipe the HD, and then do a clean install. This is the only way you can ensure there are no embarrassing files on your HD. Who knows where you might have placed one.

    Before doing so, backup the computer to an external via SuperDuper or Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC) in case you still need some apps or files.
     
  4. Shadow macrumors 68000

    Shadow

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2006
    Location:
    Keele, United Kingdom
    #4
    You can also 1, 7 or 42(?) pass wipe the HD using the Disk Utility on the installer DVD.
     
  5. merl1n macrumors 65816

    merl1n

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    #5
    Why would she want to spend the time doing this? It's not necessary. She stated that she is giving the computer to her mother as a gift, not selling it to a stranger. A simple "erase" should suffice.
     
  6. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Location:
    Georgia
    #6
    I am pretty sure that Shadow was joking. Shadow you may want to add a :p to sarcasm.

    Anyways to the OP definitely just do a clean install as previously mentioned. The computer will also simply perform better. Since it is for your Mother why not be generous and splurge for Leopard?

    If you are set against reinstalling I would say to create a new Admin account for your mother then disable and delete your old accounts. Then in your root directory simply delete all any folders that are not necessary, you need "Users", "Applications", "System" and "Library". You can also delete your e-mail program and any preferences in your root Library or System folders then reinstall. All of these steps ought to clear out just about any personal file.
     
  7. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Location:
    キャンプスワ&#
    #7
    I would still say a simple wipe once, with a clean install, is the safest way to go.

    You never know who might visit your parents or grandparents and play around with their computer. Searches can reveal some interesting files. Also, if the computer starts to act up, someone may run a common maintenance program like TechTools which might find some deleted files.

    If you wipe the drive and do a clean install you never need to worry about any of this happening.
     
  8. ppc_michael Guest

    ppc_michael

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #8
    Erase and install is what I did when I gave my mom my old iBook. Works good. ;)
     
  9. AlohaGir1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 9, 2008
    Location:
    Melbourne
    #9
    Thanks for all your suggestions. Genuine and sarcastic ones!:eek:

    I can't do a clean install coz I only have the disc for the old OS X 10.3.9... which is crapola... I mean I could, but then she wouldn't be able to use her new ipod.. coz the 3rd gen ipod won't run on 10.3.9... this is how this whole buy a new computer thing started! Grrrrr...

    The 10.4 OS was installed on my computer by a friend... as I mentioned... and I won't be able to borrow his disc again.

    I might go with the create new admin account (delete old admin account and related files) suggestion.

    The only embarassing data on there is a break up letter (I never sent) thank God! and some equivalent embarassing emails. I'm less embarassed by a stranger reading them than by my mother...

    Oh well... I should stick to my own motto of "Don't send anything by email you wouldn't mind the whole world reading".

    Oh - and I would have loved to have installed leopard... but that CPU can't run it apparently... it's only 3.5 years old... but that's old in computer years, right?
    I reckon 6 computer months = 10 human years.
     
  10. Freis968 macrumors 6502a

    Freis968

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2007
    Location:
    Winter Park, Florida
    #10
    I just found out how to solve this problem.

    Go to your Mail account and click on Advanced...then select DON'T KEEP COPIES OF ANY MESSAGES and this will delete and keep any sent emails from being stored or showing up from within spotlight.
     

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