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  1. #1

    Member Since
    Mar 10, 2012
    Need to "wipe" personal info from MacBook
    I need to help sell a relatives older MacBook. I don't have install disks for it, he bought it at a pawn shop, God knows what's on it. Please, can you tell me how to wipe the personal info, plus the computer and admin passwords without having to re-install the OS ? It only has 512 mb memory, won't load my SnowLeopard install disks. And it will cost more to upgrade memory & buy used older system disks than he'll probably get from the sale.

  2. #2

    chscag's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 23, 2008
    Fort Worth, Texas
    27" iMac i5, 3.2 GHz, iPad 3, iPhone 5c, iPhone 6+, 3 iPods, El Capitan
    You're going to need a disk, preferably an install disk with the same version of OS X that came with the MacBook. It sounds like that particular MacBook may have come with Tiger. You need the disk in order to boot from it and wipe the hard drive plus reinstall the operating system.

  3. #3

    XJ-linux's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jul 02, 2007
    Going Galt...
    Personally, I usually su to root (why not enable root if you are nuking the system anyhow?) and cp -pr the contents of the /bin directory to a new directory I create called /zzz in Since commands like rm generally run from 0-9 & a-z, the /zzz directory will likely be one of the last directories removed and thus run for much longer than if you run it from /bin. The rm command and it's dependencies will theoretically be some of the last files deleted from the disk. Anyhow, from there I run /zzz/rm -drf /* (or to be really thorough: rm -drfP, though it sometimes just dies with the P flag). You can do other variations, like rm -drf /*.* or whatever. Eventually, after a really long time, the system will just quit running and will be pretty tough for anyone to recover without some serious effort. Some folks like to boot off a Linux flash drive and just format over the whole disk or write out the contents of /dev/random to the disk, but that's a bit more involved sometimes.

    You can also just go old school and use the manual zero method:

    dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/disk0s2 bs=1M

    The dev/disk0s2 is whatever your boot disk is when you type df:

    Filesystem 512-blocks Used Available Capacity Mounted on
    /dev/disk0s2 235298960 123042408 111744552 53% /
    devfs 370 370 0 100% /dev
    map -hosts 0 0 0 100% /net
    map auto_home 0 0 0 100% /home
    Never judge a man, untill you have walked a mile in his shoes...
    That way you'll be a mile away from him, and you'll have his shoes.

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