What to do about data on computer going into the shop?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by wilfried, Jan 22, 2008.

  1. wilfried macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    #1
    I may have to take my iMac in for repair :(. I've never had to relinquish my computer to nameless, faceless technicians, so I've never considered this question before, and was wondering what folks usually do. When you take you're computer to the Genius Bar, what do you do with the data on on the hard drive? Do you wipe your disk before you go, and restore later from disk image? Or do you just trash particular files and folders? I'm not entirely sure my Mac requires repair. Do you delete stuff before you go, or on the spot in the store? I don't have a free external drive big enough to image the whole HD, but I do back up with Time Machine. I don't think I have anything extremely sensitive on my machine, but then I don't know that I want someone rooting through my underwear drawer, as it were.
     
  2. xUKHCx Administrator emeritus

    xUKHCx

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    Location:
    The Kop
    #2
    Personally I back up and then back up again, then I wipe the machine. After all they have full access to all you files.
     
  3. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #3
    The last three times I have taken my computer into Apple's retail stores I have setup a new admin account called 'Apple' with no password, I haven't given the retail staff access to my user area at all.


    Even though with the Mac OS X DVD they could reset my password this means that it would be really obvious that they had done so.

    If you want to do a wipe, then that will improve security more. However you'll need to do a 7-pass wipe for it to be worth it as the data can otherwise still be recovered and possible malicious workers will have easy access to data-recovery software.
     
  4. xUKHCx Administrator emeritus

    xUKHCx

    Joined:
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    #4
    FYI with an admin account they can very easily change permissions on your admin account and get access to your user area, change it before you pick it up and you would be none the wiser.
     
  5. wilfried thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    #5
    Thanks for the tips. The temporary admin account sounds like a good idea. I think I'll do a simple trash on folders with personal files in them, and restore with Time Machine (lovely how time machine make that so easy). Like I said, they don't contain anything truly compromising, I just don't want someone rooting around just cause they're bored. I suppose they're free to listen to my music if they really want to. :rolleyes:

    One more thing, what do I about the self-installed RAM? Do I remove them before I go, or just leave them in place?
     
  6. xUKHCx Administrator emeritus

    xUKHCx

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
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    #6
    In my experience it is best to take it out as they will see it and then tell you it is the RAM's fault.

    Could it actually be the RAM's fault?
     
  7. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #7
    Good to know, I feel we should take our tinfoil hats off though :p.

    You need to do a 7-pass wipe or securely empty trash for it to be worth your while otherwise it would be easy to recover the data, and it'll still take you time to recover it afterwards.

    Leave it, they won't touch it, but make sure you tell them its yours. Of course you should have checked that it isn't a RAM issue before taking in as if they find that it is you will be charged.
     
  8. macdave121 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2008
    #8
    is there some way to check the ram like by running a software test?
     
  9. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    Nov 3, 2005
    Location:
    UK
  10. pulsewidth947 macrumors 65816

    pulsewidth947

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
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    squarefrog.co.uk
    #10
    Even easier than this, they can just boot up your mac in firewire mode and copy anything that isn't filevaulted.
     
  11. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #11
    So the only thing I'm doing is not giving them my admin password, nice.
     

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