How Do I Erase Everything off my mac.

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by spongeee, Mar 10, 2011.

  1. spongeee macrumors newbie

    Mar 10, 2011
    I was reading up on how to erase everything off my macbook, but it all requires using discs, but my problem is but cd driver is broken. Is there anything else I can do to clear off my macbook?

    I want to clear this one & buy a new macbook!
  2. msjones macrumors 6502


    Oct 18, 2007
    Nottinghamshire, UK
    There are a few things you can do.

    Do you have access to an external cd drive? If you have access to another mac you can image the OS X install dvd to a USB key and boot from that.

    Also you could remove the hard drive and using another computer wipe the drive.
  3. eman macrumors 6502a

    Nov 5, 2007
    In the great white north
    You can also use "target disk mode" or "network sharing" and use a shared cd rom.
  4. Peterpot macrumors member


    Jan 13, 2011
    Another thing that you can do, which I did for selling my computer, is set up another user account on the computer. Once you've done that, log into the new user and delete the previous user account. It will save everything from the first user in a file called 'Deleted Users' (It tells you this when you delete a user), so if you want to remove everything from the original user just delete that file.

    That's what I did as it allowed my computer to keep the programs/apps it had on it without leaving any of my personal information (which helped with selling the computer). I hope this helps
  5. akhbhaat macrumors regular

    Sep 30, 2010
    Actually, your information was still there, and most (or even all) of it was probably left intact. When you "delete" a file within the operating system, all you're really doing is deallocating that space on the platter (i.e. telling the drive and the rest of the system that the space is "free" for use). The actual data will remain there until overwritten.

    In the future, it would be best to reformat the entire drive and perform at least a zero pass overwrite (i.e. deallocate the space and then overwrite every sector on the drive with a string of zeros) when transferring control/ownership of a drive to somebody else.
  6. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    If what you really want to do is erase everything, open a Terminal window and type

    sudo rm -rf *
    You'll need the administrator password.
  7. Peterpot macrumors member


    Jan 13, 2011
    I'm meeting with the buyer to sell my computer tomorrow morning - What would you suggest that I do before then to remove all my personal info? I have office and Pixelmator on the computer currently since I used the new acccount way of setting it up, however I can't reinstall office since I don't have the disc any longer. Also, I've used the serial code 3 or 4 times now so I couldn't reinstall it even if I had the code. Is there still any way to remove that info?
  8. Peterpot, Mar 10, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2011

    Peterpot macrumors member


    Jan 13, 2011
    Double post, sorry about that. Please see above post.
  9. mr.steevo, Mar 17, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2011

    mr.steevo macrumors 65816


    Jul 21, 2004
    You'll also have no operating system!

    I think the poster wanted to delete private information but keep the software intact. This is a late post but someone else may be interested in this method. Disk Utility has an erase option called Zero-Out Free Space. Create a new administrator account and delete your other accounts. Then open Disk Utility and select the Zero-Out Free Space option. I haven't done it since 10.4 so there may be increased flexibility in regards to how many passes the zero out will do.


    I see there is info on this at and it looks like you do have several erase free space options.

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