How best to wipe my hard drive clean before giving my machine in for service?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Whackintosh, Mar 29, 2012.

  1. Whackintosh macrumors 6502

    Whackintosh

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    Location:
    Montreal, Quebec
    #1
    Could anyone tell me if there are any tricks for wiping my drive before giving my machine in for repair? I'll restore via time machine after. Would just prefer that my mail, contacts etc not be accessible to everyone.
     
  2. negativzero macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
  3. William.Mantle macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2011
    #3
    You trust them to service a £1000+ machine but not with its contents?

    Go elsewhere
     
  4. Whackintosh thread starter macrumors 6502

    Whackintosh

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    Location:
    Montreal, Quebec
    #4
    I'd be leaving my machine with Apple for repairs. I trust the company but do I know the individual technician that will be having access to all my emails etc? Better safe than sorry is what I'm thinking here.
     
  5. hajime macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    #5
    I am in the same boat. Is time machine really a good way to store the data? Isn't cloning the drive using SuperDuper better?
     
  6. henry72 macrumors 65816

    henry72

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2009
    Location:
    New Zealand
    #6
    If you're going to the Genius bar, don't worry about it bro
    You should trust them :)
     
  7. Whackintosh thread starter macrumors 6502

    Whackintosh

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    Location:
    Montreal, Quebec
    #7
    I already went to a genius bar and was told they would need to send the machine in for repairs. I decided to bring it back in a day or so in order to secure my machine's contents first.
     
  8. ixodes macrumors 601

    ixodes

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2012
    Location:
    Pacific Coast, USA
    #8
    You're being very wise.

    Use the restore discs that came with your Mac to wipe the drive & do a clean install. Instructions can be found on Apple.com
     
  9. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #9
    After backing up the drive, you can always create a new admin account and delete the old one.

    In the past, I've reformatted the drive and then reinstalled the OS, so apple has a clean OS to work on. I think its a wise move to protect your data btw.
     
  10. hajime macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    #10
    I also have a bootcamp partition. Could anybody please check the steps for backing up both the Mac and Windows partitions?

    1. Use Winclone to backup the Windows partition
    2. Use SuperDuper to clone the drive (which also includes a backup image of the Windows partition)
    3. Use whatever tool (iPartition or disk utility) to erase the Windows partition and recombine it with the Mac OS partition (i.e. 1 partition in 1 drive).
    4. Use the Mac OS disc to reinstall Mac OS (Snow Leopard)
    5. Send the computer in for repairing
    6. After receiving the computer, use SuperDuper to clone back the original drive image to the drive which only has Mac OS reinstalled
    7. Use whatever means to partition the drive (I use iPartition)
    8. Use Winclone to extract the Windows image to the newly created partition
     
  11. Ccrew macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2011
    #11
    Make sure you do a secure erase since you're so concerned about it. If not only takes minutes to recover the data
     
  12. lamboman macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2011
    #13
    So if someone used the system to manage their personal finances, had personal photos on there, you would just give it to virtually anyone in order for them to snoop around unrestricted? Don't be ridiculous. It's people with your attitude that post thousands of customers' personal data through the mail on CDs, only to never reach their personal destination for a suspicious reason.

    As stated by others, zero out and reinstall.
     
  13. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #14
    ^^^ I've worked in computer stores where technicians repaired computers. I can say without a doubt that some techs very well snoop around on the hard drive. I never saw anyone do it for nefarious reasons but snooping nonetheless.

    To that end, I think its a good idea not to give them any temptation, back when I was working in the computer store, ID theft was not really a huge problem, today it is. Lets not hand the keys to your kingdom to someone just because you think it someone won't be looking
     
  14. hajime macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    #15
    On the Genius Bar Work Authorization, the customer has to agree that: "Apple is not responsible for any loss, corruption, or breach of the data on my product during service; and" and sign. Better safe than sorry.
     
  15. heisenberg123 macrumors 603

    heisenberg123

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2010
    Location:
    Hamilton, Ontario
    #16
    well if you have a time machine backup i would assume that means you have an external drive, for me the easiest advice is make sure you have a full backup, i prefer Carbon Copy Cloner that way you can boot off to test its a working backup. than format the internal, and clean install osx
     
  16. hajime macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    #17
    I agreed. Have a look at:

    http://securityphile.com/posts/5-things-to-remember-before-bringing-your-computer-in-for-repair/

    There is an interesting story about a movie star sending his computer for repairing and ending up in big troubles for himself and his girlfriends.
     
  17. squeakr macrumors 68000

    squeakr

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    #18
    I would love to live in your carefree world. I stand to lose a lot more than the initial cost of the machine. Heck I have several software suites on my system that the cheapest one is $10,000 per copy. I have at least 2 versions of this suite, and 3 of another suites that start out at close to $15K-$20K per copy. That is just the software I stand to lose and not including the company and personal data that I have ready access to (it might not be completely confidential but could reveal enough to be detrimental). Some of us actually use these machine for business purposes and not just personal usage.

    Having said that, I rarely ever use the stock drive (replace with faster drives), so I usually just set the OEM drive on a shelf untouched, and then I can just place into the system and swap out my memory (to make sure I get my 16GB back) and ship it that way. Saves me time making copies as it is a < 10 minute job to swap (I can even do it in the store if need be). My policy is that if it has to stay overnight ad be out of my sight for extended periods, then it goes back to original configuration.
     
  18. Mojo1 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2011
    #19
    I simply encrypt sensitive data and don't worry about it when I send in a Mac for service.

    I use GoSecure because it is the easiest way to encrypt individual files and folders. $20 and worth every penny.
     
  19. heisenberg123 macrumors 603

    heisenberg123

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2010
    Location:
    Hamilton, Ontario
    #20
    holy smolly without being nosey im interested in what kinds of software have that price tag

    and totally agree with the putting original HD and RAM back in before sending off, not only does this eliminate apple using your HD and RAM as the colprut to the problem you dont have to worry about geting you MBP back without those upgraded RAM and HD
     
  20. Bear macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Sol III - Terra
    #21
    With Lion, the full disk encryption that is part of it is even easier and no extra cost.

    And I too would wipe a disk on a machine left at Apple (or anyplace) for repair.
     
  21. Mojo1 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2011
    #22
    How does full disk encryption work if a service tech needs to access the drive?

    The problem with whole disk encryption is that you must encrypt the entire disk. I have used it in the past but the reality is that I don't need to encrypt my entire drive, just certain files, much less than 1%. And I can easily transport individually encrypted files and folders.

    So it is easier and faster to encrypt individual files as I need it. GoSecure is also easier and faster to use than Apple's option for encrypting files/folders.

    I think that going to the trouble of wiping a drive for a service call is over-kill and a serious waste of time and effort.
     
  22. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    #23
    Are you interesting/important enough that someone would feel inclined to snoop through your computer? My guess is that you're not. Apple techs have actual work to do, and wouldn't bother.
     
  23. chilly7 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2012
    #24
    Year i am too intresting wat kind of software is that, can he put his software on the torrent so we can take a look at it?:)

    just kiding

    p.s.
    the guy is either a high end proffesional musician or he is working for CIA

    this is software for musicians
    http://www.vsl.co.at/en/211/442/1797/1883/1881/305.htm

    $ 12.380 price tug is...
     
  24. squeakr macrumors 68000

    squeakr

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    #25
    Specialized QA software for testing entire operations (hardware, and software). It is made by HP and the prices are outrageous I agree, but it is an industry standard software used by most of the fortune 500 companies and they will pay the price. I am a Support Engineer, so I have to use this in my portable lab to recreate issues for customers.

    And no, I am not that important, nor do I think I am, it is just my job. ;)
     

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