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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Mar 25, 2013
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    3
    Reformatting iMac (Lion)
    Hi,

    I recently purchased a mid-2011, 27-inch, 2.7 GHz iMac from a private party seller (Craigslist). My intent with this purchase was to buy and then reformat to have a fresh install (getting rid of all data from previous owner). I'm used to Windows, so I got good at the reformat process with a Windows machine reformat. I'm having a little trouble with my MAC though. This iMac currently has Lion installed on it.

    Long story short, I want to reformat this machine and ultimately get to Mountain Lion, while still being able to take advantage of iLife 2011 (will I use lose this with the reformat?). What is my best bet in order to do so? Will I have to start with Lion and then upgrade to Mountain Lion, or can I skip Lion? I do not have a disk for either at this time.

    Any thoughts?

  2. #2

    chscag's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 23, 2008
    Location
    Keller, Texas
    Posts
    49,393
    Specs:
    Late 2013 27" iMac, iPad 3, iPhone 6s+, iPhone 6+, 3 iPods, Sierra
    Macs no longer come with an install disk. Both Lion and Mountain Lion are installed from a download (Lion is no longer available) and are installed with a recovery partition in place.

    By booting to the recovery partition and accessing utilities, the machine can be erased and reformatted. However, everything will be lost; all installed software and any third party software the previous owner put on the machine.

    Since you do not have license to either the operating system or any of the installed registered software (iLife 2011), you would need to start over. You'll need to obtain an Apple ID and purchase Mountain Lion. After Mountain Lion is installed you'll have access to the Mac App Store with your own personal Apple ID and you can further purchase the iLife apps or any others that you might need.

  3. #3


    Member Since
    Mar 25, 2013
    Posts
    3
    Thanks for the reply chscag. I'm not worried about any of the third party software or previous owner installed software; however, I guess I assumed that iLife came bundled in the OS install. Is this an incorrect assumption?

    And are you saying I can bypass a Lion install and go right to Mountain Lion? Any descriptive information on how to do so?

    I noticed in Disk Utility that my HD is listed, then the Macintosh partition and then a Base MAC OS partition. Will I be able to completely overwrite [U]everything[U] in order to erase any possibility of anything malicious on any part of the previous install?

  4. #4

    chscag's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 23, 2008
    Location
    Keller, Texas
    Posts
    49,393
    Specs:
    Late 2013 27" iMac, iPad 3, iPhone 6s+, iPhone 6+, 3 iPods, Sierra
    I guess I assumed that iLife came bundled in the OS install. Is this an incorrect assumption?
    That's right, iLife is no longer included. I have a copy because it was included with a previous version of OS X. (Snow Leopard) However, you can purchase the iLife applications separately from the Mac App Store.

    And are you saying I can bypass a Lion install and go right to Mountain Lion?
    Yes. Actually, you have no choice since Lion is no longer offered as a download from the Mac App Store. The procedure is as I outlined in my first reply. You'll need to obtain an Apple ID first.

    I noticed in Disk Utility that my HD is listed, then the Macintosh partition and then a Base MAC OS partition. Will I be able to completely overwrite [U]everything[U] in order to erase any possibility of anything malicious on any part of the previous install?
    You should "see" three partitions: 1st will be the EFI partition where the boot sector is. (Macs do not have a BIOS.) This a small partition of around 450 MB.

    The 2nd partition is the Macintosh HD partition where the base operating system is installed along with applications.

    The 3rd partition is the Recovery partition. By booting to the Recovery partition you can access utilities which can erase and format the hard drive. The utilities are similar to the Windows Disk Manager in that they can create and remove partitions, erase, format, verify, etc.

    The installation of Mountain Lion will overwrite all three partitions with new ones. There is no chance of anything malicious there (this is not Windows).

  5. #5


    Member Since
    Mar 25, 2013
    Posts
    3
    When I reformat and purchase Mountain Lion, will I have an opportunity to save the OS to a USB?

    Also, if I purchase iLife and Mountain Lion, and hypothetically speaking the need arose to perform a reformat again, will Apple have a record of my purchase I can continue to reinstall whenever I please?

  6. #6

    harryb2448's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 28, 2007
    Location
    Nambucca Heads Australia
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    22,378
    Specs:
    Imac 27", 3.3GHz, 512 flash storage, 16GB memory, macOS Sierra.
    Ue Liondiskmaker to make a bootable copy of Mountain Lion to a USB thumb drive. This then will be bootable the same as a DVD, but many times faster. Do this before running the Installer.

    http://liondiskmaker.com
    Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!

  7. #7

    chscag's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 23, 2008
    Location
    Keller, Texas
    Posts
    49,393
    Specs:
    Late 2013 27" iMac, iPad 3, iPhone 6s+, iPhone 6+, 3 iPods, Sierra
    Harry posted the link which shows how to make a bootable flash drive with Mountain Lion on it. (You'll need a flash drive of at least 8 GB in size.) I highly recommend you do that first before installing it on your iMac.

    Also, if I purchase iLife and Mountain Lion, and hypothetically speaking the need arose to perform a reformat again, will Apple have a record of my purchase I can continue to reinstall whenever I please?
    Yes, once you have your Apple ID on record with the Mac App Store (Apple), Mountain Lion can be re-downloaded without cost. The same applies to any application which you purchase direct from the Mac App Store.

  8. #8


    Member Since
    Jan 22, 2010
    Location
    Victoria, BC
    Posts
    20,911
    Specs:
    Mid-2012 MBP (16GB, 1TB HD), Monoprice 24-inch second monitor, iPhone 5s 32GB, iPad Air 2 64GB
    Everything mentioned above is correct, however I just wanted to add for the record that the three iLife apps (iPhoto, Garageband and iMovie) **ARE** preinstalled on all Macs, but as mentioned above they are NOT included in the OS purchase (but of course the OS is preinstalled as well) so you don't automatically get them "back" if you wipe the HD.

    Each one is available separately from the Mac App Store for $15 each.

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