reformatting an old mac

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by tbraun, Apr 28, 2008.

  1. tbraun macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2008
    #1
    Okay, this is really old school; have a very old Performa 6116CD running system 7.5.1, vintage about 1996. I am trying to wipe the hard drive so that I can safely get rid of it somehow. I tried to reformat using the optical drive and a program called "Apple HD SC setup" on an Apple CD that came with the computer. It gives me an error message: "disk could not be initialized. unable to unmount drive. A file on the disk may be in use." I tried running the same program from the floppy drive, same result. I have tried deleting any possible files that would be in use, I unlocked some files I could not delete, and then was able to delete them, but I still get the same error message. At this point, I have deleted all files on the computer with the exception of the system folder, which I am afraid to do. Any thoughts? Is there another way to format the hard drive? Some sort of uber command that will overcome this blockage? Thanks, Tom:apple:
     
  2. zaney macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2008
    Location:
    Middle of a field, UK
    #2
    Have you tried using Linux to boot? Older versions of Ubuntu can boot from PPC machines, and you can then use a command such as
    Code:
    dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda
    To wipe it (repeat depending on how secure you want it to be).
    The alternative would be to take the drive out and wipe if from another machine, unfortunately it's a SCSI drive, so you can only do this if you have another machine with SCSI.
     
  3. tbraun thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 28, 2008
    #3
    reformatting an old mac

    Zaney, thanks, but I am somewhat embarrased to say that I only understood part of what you wrote. I have used and loved Macs since 1985, but I have never delved too deeply into their guts, and I know nothing about Linux. Sorry to be such a novice. Specifically I don't understand "Ubuntu", is that a type of Linux software? I know that there is a button on the back of the CPU, and if you push it, a new window opens up on the screen with a cammand line. Are you saying I could just enter that code you gave me and it might reformat? If so, where would I be after it had reformatted? Would I still need to use Linux, or could I reinstall the Apple system software? I guess a lot depends on what I plan to do with this. I would be surprised if anyone still wanted this old computer, but I contacted one of the companies in the back of MacWorld magazine, a place in Louisiana, and it seemed they might be interested in taking it. It has always been a great machine for me, and I hate to destroy it, especially is someone else could use it. Perhaps they ship them to third-world countries?...Thanks
     
  4. zaney macrumors regular

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    Apr 6, 2008
    Location:
    Middle of a field, UK
    #4
    Ubuntu is a particular distribution of Linux, but after some more googling, it seems the performa may be too old to boot it.
    I've never used a mac that old (My first was a PowerMac 7200), so I have no idea about this button on the back. But I do seem to recall some keystroke on the PowerMac that bought up a command line, which is possibly the same thing.
    The command I gave will not work in that window though. Using that from a Linux command line would completely erase the first SCSI drive (sda).

    You are correct, it would depend on what you want to do with it, and also how sensitive the data was that you had on it. To clarify though, the programs that you tried to erase the drive with, did you just insert the CD and run it from there, or to you actually BOOT from the CD, and then run it. If you boot from the hard drive you won't be able to erase it, you have to boot from CD (try inserting the disc in the drive and holding 'C' when you turn it on).
     
  5. tbraun thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 28, 2008
    #5
    Formatting an old mac

    I think you just hit the nail on the head, I think I was trying to reformat improperly. I had not been reading the correct page of the manual. It looks like you are supposed to insert the CD, Choose Control Panels from the Apple menu, double-click the Startup Disk icon, then click the CD icon to select it as the startup disk, and choose restart from the Special menu. I will try this tonight and let you know how it works. Thank you very much, Tom
     
  6. zaney macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2008
    Location:
    Middle of a field, UK
    #6
    Yep, that'll do the same as holding C at startup. Once you've booted you should be able to format normally, and you can reinstall the OS too if you want.
    Good luck, and you're quite welcome.
     
  7. tbraun thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 28, 2008
    #7
    Format an old mac

    Yep, that did the trick. I never had to format this machine before, it always worked very well for me. Now comes the hard part, getting rid of it. Sadly, it seems most likely to be discarded. Thankfully, my city takes electronic refuse and disassembles it, recycles all of the metal and as much of the plastic as it can, so I don't feel too bad about that, but is is still a waste of a good computer that served me well. Thanks again and take care, Tom
     

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