Possible to reformat over firewire?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by mike1mike2mike3, May 29, 2013.

  1. mike1mike2mike3 macrumors newbie

    Jul 28, 2008
    Can I reformat an older macbook pro over firewire from a retina macbook pro, and if so how?

    What I have:

    Old (2009) MacBook Pro, with Mountain Lion. OS is in bad shape - that's as technical as I can get in saying it's slow, painfully slow and doesn't perform basic tasks. Needs to have the OS reinstalled. Can't get it to see the original install disk, or even recognize a dvd to burn a recovery disk.

    New (latest model) 13" retina. Gorgeous by the way. Have a copy of the
    "install mountain lion OS X" from when I upgraded the old machine.

    I also have an external HD and a time capsule, if that's necessary. My USB stick is only 2GB so seems this won't work?

    Can I reformat the machine? I want to wipe the old one clean securely and start from scratch with a fresh install.

    Thanks for any thoughts for my unsophisticated self.
  2. benwiggy macrumors 68020

    Jun 15, 2012
    If both machines have fireWire ports, then you can boot up the old Mac in "Target Disk Mode". If you hold down T at boot, it will behave like an external FW disk, and you can install the OS on that drive from the new machine.

    Generally, I would suggest that "slowness" is not necessarily a reason to reinstall the OS. While reinstalling may solve the problem, it is likely to achieve this only a bi-product of the caches being emptied, temp files being removed, and configuration/settings files being deleted or defaulted. All of that can be done more quickly than reinstalling the OS.

    However, if your Mac is ridiculously slow, then something serious may have gone awry which may call for a reinstall. I wouldn't do a secure erase if you are keeping the machine, as it's a major strain on an already ageing hard drive.

    If the old Mac is failing to boot to an installer disk, then that might indicate hardware problems, as the old hard drive is not involved in that process.

    If the rMBP doesn't have FW port, then your other option is using an 8Gb USB flash drive and restoring the disk image contained inside the OS installer app.
  3. mike1mike2mike3 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 28, 2008
    Figured it out - used an external drive to make a boot disk.
    I didn't mention, but I am selling it, so wnated to wipe it...

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