Uninstall OS X without reformatting?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by cactusleaf, Apr 6, 2011.

  1. cactusleaf macrumors newbie

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    Almost NYC
    #1
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_6 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8E200 Safari/6533.18.5)

    So I just recently installed Snow Leopard on an external drive to defrag my main drive. I've been having issues with partitioning my drives (hence the defragging) so I didn't make a separate partition for the OS, I just installed it into the main partition on the external. I use the external for bulk storage.. It's huge and I don't have space among my three drives to keep it backed up.

    I'm done and I don't need it on my external anymore. So my question is: how do you completely uninstall OS X from a drive when wiping it isn't an option? Is it as simple as trashing the folders in the root directory it creates (Applications, Library, Users, System)? I sure hope so. Thanks.
     
  2. sotiredofsoup macrumors member

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    Feb 1, 2010
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    Santa Monica, CA
    #2
    If you're familiar with Unix command lines, you can navigate to the partition and issue "rm -r <directory>" with caution. It will remove the directory and all its subfolders, so make sure you specify a directory you can afford to delete. You could delete the folders you see, but there are a bunch of hidden files too. Unix command to see all files in a directory, including hidden files is "ls -la", or you could take the easy way out and download the widget that show hidden files for you.
     
  3. cactusleaf thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #3
    Thanks Soup. Command line deletion sounds reasonable. Just to confirm because I'm the confirmin' type, the rm -r command does indeed remove the specified directory permanently, including hidden files? As I believe was your point. As long as there's nothing I'm missing, I suppose I'd still have to remove each folder one by one that OS X put in the root directory, and then search out any hidden files on / by hand.. because keep in mind I can't just rm -r the root directory because that's where everything lives on the drive, both the OS and all my stored files.

    Hey mods, if you wanna move this to the OS X forum, I'd greatly appreciate it since I didn't realize there was an OS X forum until about a minute ago.
     
  4. P Mentior macrumors regular

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    Sep 20, 2008
    Location:
    Ohio
    #4
    Wouldn't your install of OS X be in its own separate partition on the external. If that is the case and all your other stuff is in its own partition too then you could just delete the OS X partition and everything else is the same. When you plug the external in does it show up as multiple 'drives'?
     
  5. cactusleaf thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 2, 2008
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    Almost NYC
    #5
    Thanks for the input but you missed the whole point of my little conundrum! And you apparently assume very little of my competence. If it were that easy I would have done it and I wouldn't be here! I've already made clear at least twice that no, I didn't install OS X into its own partition on the external. That was the stated reason for my whole question. I installed it into the main partition of the drive, since Disk Utilities wasn't letting me partition it at all due to 1. tons of huge files and 2. not enough contiguous space. My internal disk had the same problem. It's all fixed now.

    Again: OS X is installed in the same root directory of the main partition as all the rest of my stuff. Wiping or deleting the partition containing OS X is not an option because it's the same partition as where all my other stuff is.

    I just want to make sure I'm not missing lots of stuff if I just delete all the obvious folders OS X installed along with any hidden files I find on the root. Any other places I should look or changes I should reverse?
     
  6. Mal macrumors 603

    Mal

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2002
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    Orlando
    #6
    Nope, everything should have been in /System, /Library, /Applications, and /Users, plus the hidden folders at root. It's impossible to have missed anything if you got all of that. Should be in good shape!

    jW
     
  7. cactusleaf thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 2, 2008
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    Almost NYC
    #7
    Sweet! I just kept being super incredulous because when questions like this arise I default back into my Windows mindset.. and in a case like this, I just assume Windows would have been way more complicated to remove all traces of, haha. Thanks for the help!
     

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