How to clear user information from OS X before selling?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by hohohong, May 11, 2009.

  1. hohohong macrumors 6502a

    Jun 1, 2007
    Someone is offering to sell me Rev B high end for $1700 sealed. I need to sell my uMB to be able to afford this MBA.

    I have questions about restoring to factory setting, deleting my info password etc etc. I googled and found 2 options:

    1) if you have the original OS X disc that shipped with the machine, you can use it reformat the machine and re-install the OS -- that's probably the best way to ensure that everything is the same way as it was when it shipped form the factory.

    Put the DVD disc in the drive and reboot your computer - press C when rebooting to boot from the DVD drive -- now proceed to reformat and reinstall OS X.

    2) the other option is to create a new user account with your name, make it a administrator. Log out and log back in with your new account, now proceed to delete the old user account -- this will delete all of the personal files from the original account -- note: this will not un-install any system wide applications or restore other OS X setting that may have been modified by the original owner.

    Which one is better? I know option 1 is fully clean, but takes 2 hr? Is option 2 good enough to clear my info?

    And is $1700 sealed high end MBA rev B a good deal?
  2. SilentPanda Moderator emeritus


    Oct 8, 2002
    The Bamboo Forest
    It'll probably take an hour tops to reinstall the OS. Go for that.
  3. rdowty macrumors 6502a


    Oct 5, 2008
    I would reformat the harddrive and do a secure erase of at least one pass then reinstall the OS. I don't like the thought of someone snooping through my files.
  4. angelwatt Moderator emeritus


    Aug 16, 2005
    I'd go option one even if it'll take a little longer. Only you know what you had on your machine so it's up to you to decide how much precaution you need to take.
  5. QuantumLo0p macrumors 6502a


    Apr 28, 2006
    You could do it quickly by making a new user account and toast all the old accounts but then you would still have to know where to look, other than the users folder, to toast your old tracks.

    IMO, by far the simplest method for the average user is to do a multi-pass erase and reinstall. There is software that can extract data from disks that have been wiped with only one pass. If you have time I would do a seven pass wipe then sleep on it.
  6. Jethryn Freyman macrumors 68020

    Jethryn Freyman

    Aug 9, 2007
    Boot up from the system DVD, open Disk Utility, and do a 7 pass secure erase of the hard drive. Then reinstall the OS.

    Data overwritten once (sometimes even more, depending on the drive) can be recovered by magnetic force microscopy. Solid state memory must be completely overwritten to make sure all data cells are cleared.
  7. toolbox macrumors 68020


    Oct 6, 2007
    Australia (WA)
    Safest bet buy a new drive, reinstall the os. That way no trace of any information is left.
  8. mmulin macrumors 6502

    Jun 22, 2006
    #2 is definitely better. You also can shutdown the uMB after it displayed the welcome movie. This way the new user will be greeted with it and can continue to create his own profile. For added security you may choose the mentioned 7 pass disk erase option before proceeding to install.

    #1 just would leave too much of your own data, which is not related to your user account, left

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