How to wipe clean an iMac so it is like brand new again?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by iMacBoy, Dec 31, 2010.

  1. iMacBoy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2009
    #1
    Hi,

    So i want to restore my iMac so it was just like it was when i got it.

    If i put the snow leopard cd in and re-install it, will it wipe EVERYTHING and i mean everything from my computer as it is now, and have no traces of the stuff i have on it now (such as MSN, Skype etc..)

    Obviously i know i will still have all the stuff that came with it like, safari and iTunes etc.

    Please answer!

    I want my computer to have literally no trace of the third party software i have now.
     
  2. iMacBoy thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Dec 24, 2009
    #3
  3. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

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    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #4
    If you want to get rid of EVERYTHING (including your personal files such as photos, music, videos...), then there is no need to backup. It's always good to have a backup in case you need something later on
     
  4. DELTAsnake macrumors 6502

    DELTAsnake

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    Jul 18, 2008
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    Australia
    #5
    Use Disk Utility from the restore disk and wipe the drive.
     
  5. iMacBoy thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Dec 24, 2009
    #6
    I do need to get rid of literally everything, i am sending it away and i need all info gone!

    Does this also mean that there will be like no hidden traces of say 'microsoft office' hidden anywhere once i've restored it?
     
  6. DELTAsnake macrumors 6502

    DELTAsnake

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    Australia
    #7
    If your really that paranoid about it just use the secure erase setting in the Disk Utility tool on the restore disk. that will wipe the hard drive then you just need to install OSX and not put any of your "stuff" on it from a backup.
     
  7. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

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    #8
    There will be no traces of anything, it's like a new one
     
  8. iMacBoy thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Dec 24, 2009
  9. Torrijos macrumors 6502

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    Jan 10, 2006
    #10
    If you truly want it completely wiped you need to zero the disk out.

    Due to the way hard drives work the erasing process usually only removes the redirection information leaving the files intact until some other file overwrites it.
    So if you're selling your machine or giving it to someone else (or afraid something you did in the past is going to come out ^^) you need to clean install the system, update everything (just to be nice and that will overwrite some files in the disk quickening the zeroing process later) then use disk utility "erase free space" option on the drive...

    Zero out everything, if you're just a common Joe, since to recover information after that it would need magnetic analysis of the drive.

    7-passes overwrite if you had some pretty secret information, the overwrite process (not just zeroing) is going to render magnetic analysis more difficult.

    35-passes overwrite if you're some top secret operative that is just too lazy to destroy the hard-drive and then replace it with a new one ;)


    By the way some study was made a few years back that second hand computers hard drive and old PDAs a lot of times still contained recoverable traces of secret industrial and personal documents.
     
  10. 87vert macrumors 6502

    87vert

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    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    #11
    If you really want it clean remove the hard drive and install a new drive.
     
  11. rkaufmann87 macrumors 68000

    rkaufmann87

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    Dec 17, 2009
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    Folsom, CA
    #12
    Totally unnecessary!
     
  12. IndustrialSpace macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 31, 2009
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    somewhere
    #13
    I remove my HDD and soak it in salt water for a day or two. Then throw it away. The rest of the CPU just gets left curbside.
     
  13. d88co88 macrumors 6502

    d88co88

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Location:
    MN
    #14
    Well he really doesn't want anyone getting ahold of his information. So that is an option because it leaves ABSOLUTELY no trace of whatever has been on it. If you just wipe it, I think there is some way to retrieve that information. Correct me if I'm wrong, I just read that somewhere.
     
  14. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

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    #15
    By using zero-pass or 7-pass erase, the data will be unrecoverable.
     
  15. johto macrumors 6502

    johto

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    Jan 15, 2008
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    Finland
    #16
    Unbelievable how long this simple thread has gone :rolleyes:


    Disk Utility, Erase (zero out), DONE !
     
  16. DarthMoops macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2010
    Location:
    Baltimore MD
    #17
    "How to wipe clean an iMac so it is like brand new again?"

    A damp, soft cloth works well. :cool:
     

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