selling my MBA what di i need to do???

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Paul191, Feb 28, 2011.

  1. Paul191 macrumors newbie

    Feb 28, 2011
    Hi all

    I'm selling my MBA 11.6" edition and i need to know what to do before its sold i dont have a dvd drive or a copy of the OS on dvd but i do have the MBA software reinstall usb drive, so i need to know how i can delete everything using just the usb drive apart from iworks ect.

    all help appreciated,


    apologies for the tittle spelling!!!
  2. rugox macrumors regular

    Oct 16, 2008
    Have your USB reinstall drive in, and reboot your MBA while holding down the C button. Follow onscreen options to install OS X and choose erase and install.
  3. Cap41 macrumors 6502

    Nov 19, 2008
    Or you can go into accounts. create a new account, i named it admin, then login with that account. Now delete the old account (presumably your name). it will then delete all your personal information, music, movies, everything except installed software.
  4. UnseenLlama macrumors 6502a


    Jul 27, 2007
    Indianapolis, IN
    I would not recommend this way as your personal data could still be accessed.

    If you really want to make sure everything is erased before selling, do as the first rugox suggested and boot from the USB drive. When it's booted up go into DiskUtility (under Utilities). You'll see your SSD listed and also an erase tab. In the erase tab, you can select to have secure erase which will overwrite the data with zeros (zero'ing out).

    Once you have erased/formatted the drive, you can then exit out of the DiskUtility and install MacOS X. This will ensure a more secure restore in the end.

    Here is an Apple support doc explaining the procedure as well
  5. abnospam macrumors regular


    Jul 17, 2008
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

    Except that there is now evidence that zero'ing out on SSD is not sufficiently effective.
  6. UnseenLlama macrumors 6502a


    Jul 27, 2007
    Indianapolis, IN
    True, but at least it would provide a better solution than just deleting a bunch of folders. :eek:
  7. igmolinav macrumors 65816

    Aug 15, 2005

    Thank you : ) !!!

    That will also be helpful for me in the future.

    Kind regards,

  8. Paul191 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 28, 2011
    This is brilliant, thank you all so much i wouldn't have had a clue other wise.


  9. matelot macrumors regular

    Aug 16, 2010
  10. spacepower7 macrumors 68000

    May 6, 2004
    I saw an article on macworld's website on Feb 22nd about this. It was cross-posted from their sister publication techworld.

    The long story short... besides being the worst researched story of last week.

    A test at Univ of California with 12 SSD

    They don't name brands, but they are a combination of thumb drives and 2.5" drives which are different than an MBA

    4 drives were erased

    4 didn't "support data erasure" except 3 of these were thumb drives and the 4th was only described as encrypted so they could not verify it was erased.

    Then they say.... of the four other drives....

    "Three drives failed, two because of bugs in the firmware, and one reported success despite the fact that all data on it remained intact and accessible."

    They never mention what happened to the 12th drive!!

    Horrible article but we don't have any real (free) sources on erasure of SSDs so you should do what you can with Disk Utility or any other utilities that you may have.
  11. Paul191 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 28, 2011
    Good question, short answer new macbook pro. I've loved my mb air but it's not quick enough and has too small a harddrive to be my main laptop and now i've got a dslr i need more space and for it to be quicker

  12. GekkePrutser, Mar 7, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2011

    GekkePrutser macrumors 6502a


    Aug 18, 2005
    Basically the main reason why Secure Erase leaves traces on SSD's is because SSD's have more capacity than they're showing to the OS. The rest is spare blocks that are being used for the wear levelling, so each cell is written to as randomly as possible even if you're constantly updating the same file. It uses the spare space randomly all the time so the same blocks aren't always spare.

    But anyway, there is no way to read from the spare blocks through the OS. If you zero out the whole drive, the OS will only read back zeroes from then on. The spare blocks will be marked invalid and will be overwritten again before it ever tries to read them again.

    Only by actually unsoldering the NAND chips and connecting them to another controller could you get any old data left on the spare blocks. Mind you, this will only be fragments of what was originally on the drive, most likely not even complete documents.

    The way I understand it, is that it will take a team of forensic investigators or data recovery professionals days to scrape any useful data of whatever's left. So yes, you could get some data off it but it's not practical, and requires destroying the SSD. There might be some SSD controller hack to do it while it's in the computer but I don't think these are common.

    It all comes down to who you want to protect your data from. If it's just some family photos you want to hide from the next buyer, you should be fine with a secure erase, and if you're still worried you could use the multi-pass one because that has a good chance of hitting most of the spare blocks as well, especially when writing random data. (I wouldn't do too many passes to avoid wearing out the SSD though! I'd say not more than 3).

    So it only matters if you want to protect yourself from a criminal investigation, and in that case I don't even want to provide advice to you :)
  13. fordprefect macrumors newbie

    Mar 4, 2011
    If it's not already sold...

    I happen to be in the market for one of those
    you want to post the stats and asking price?

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