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Apple Notebooks Apple's notebook computers including MacBook Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, PowerBook, and iBook.

How to permanently delete browsing history from a macbook?


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wurlitzer

 
Member Since: Sep 22, 2010
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I have a 3 year old macbook laptop that I'd like to donate to a cousin who just started college, but before doing so I would need to PERMANENTLY delete all of my browsing history, assuming that's even possible. Since my cousin has a reputation for being very computer/internet savvy, I cannot risk him digging around to find certain sites I've been on, because I need to keep that private.

If it is possible to permanently delete all browsing history, sites, and such, could anyone instruct me on just how to do this? Thanks in advance for any advice and guidance.
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rman

 
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The best thing to do is wipe the system clean and reload the OS.

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wurlitzer

 
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Could you kindly instruct me on how to wipe the system clean? Or perhaps point me to a link or somewhere that has instructions on how to do this? Thanks a lot!
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cwa107

 
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Not sure that I'd go that far. I would create a new User in System Preferences => Accounts. Then, log in with the new account and delete the old one. Then click the Finder menu and choose "Secure Empty Trash".

That should do a reasonably good job of purging all of your personal data. If you are super-paranoid, then you might want to go with the wipe and reinstall method, which would be done by booting from your System Disc 1. Then, open Disk Utility from the Tools menu and erase the disk (be sure to use the Zero Out method, which will take several hours). When finished, close Disk Utility and proceed with the Mac OS X installer.

Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!
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RiDE

 
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Rman and cwa gave you solid advise.


What sites don't you want him to know about? Interfacelift? ESPN? Mac-Forums?




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.








lol!!!!
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wurlitzer

 
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I cant thank rman and cwa enough for their advice!

I want to follow through with the wipe and reinstall method, but no longer have any of the system discs. Therefore, how else can I proceed to wipe and reinstall? Again, advice and guidance is very appreciated.
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empty_noise

 
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If you no longer have the original install/restore discs than use any full retail copy of Mac OS X, all of them have a copy of Disk Utility on them.

Just boot to the disc and then copy cwa107's instructions to zero out the disc and afterwards install a fresh copy of of the OS.

If you want/need the original install discs then call Apple and have your serial number handy.


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wurlitzer

 
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Would a copy of iMac, rather than Mac, OS X work as well?

Also, hate to sound so stupid, but how exactly do you boot to the disk?

Thanks again to everyone for all the help!
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cwa107

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wurlitzer View Post
Would a copy of iMac, rather than Mac, OS X work as well?

Also, hate to sound so stupid, but how exactly do you boot to the disk?

Thanks again to everyone for all the help!
No. The gray System Discs are model-specific. You will need either your original discs or a retail copy of Snow Leopard (about $30) if you intend to reinstall the OS.

Unfortunately, discarding the System Discs that accompany your machine is an all too common mistake that people tend to make. Not having those discs to sell with your machine also devalues it. If I were you and wanted to get maximum value for the machine, I'd contact Apple and get a set of replacement discs.

Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!
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wurlitzer

 
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OK, thanks again!

At this point, I can't worry about re-installing the OS, I just need to wipe the hard drive, or in my own english lol, just erase everything!

Is there any way I can just go ahead and wipe my system clean, erasing everything now? If so, please let me know. Thanks everyone!
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empty_noise

 
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Booting to the original gray install discs or a retail copy of Mac OS X is the easiest way.

Insert disc, restart and hold down "C" immediately at the gray screen, this forces the Mac to look for a bootable CD or DVD and, if it finds one, will use it as its startup device.

Or if you wanna make it hard for yourself you could take the harddrive out, connect and mount it to another Mac and use Disk Utility on the second Mac to Zero Out the disk.


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So you're going to give someone a Mac with a wiped out hard drive and no OS? I guess that's one way to do it. Really, the OS X disk is not that expensive, and reinstalling the OS is a cinch. Just boot the computer up with the disk in the drive and hold down the Option key as soon as you hear the chime. After awhile a setup screen will appear and at the top will be a Utilities menu. Choose Disk Utility, select the hard drive on the left and click Erase on the right. Then just follow the instructions.
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You don't need to do all of this. Just reset the OS and Delete the old admin account. Then, nothing should be accessible. I had to do the same procedure to my imac G3 as I didn't know the admin password "Only a user one" and I noticed that all old documents and history were deleted after the admin reinstall. Here are the instructions:

#1. Reboot
#2. Hold apple + s down after you hear the chime.
#3. When you get text prompt enter in these terminal commands to create a brand new admin account (hitting return after each line):

* mount -uw /
* rm /var/db/.AppleSetupDone
* shutdown -h now


After the computer has shut down, turn it back on and it will give you the intro movie, and prompts for you to create a new admin account. After creating this account, you can delete the old one making all old data inaccessible. Also I've only tested this with OS X 10.1 But I've seen people using this with success with 10.6 etc. Good Luck!
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chscag

 
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Quote:
* mount -uw /
* rm /var/db/.AppleSetupDone
* shutdown -h now
It'll work with Snow Leopard. Commands and files are the same.
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MacDude121

 
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@chscag That's really good to know that it works with all OS's. Now I know it'll work if I ever have to do it to My iMac G4 or iBook G4. Both running 10.4 Tiger.
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