How do I wipe out an iMac (aka Fickle, fickle Sue)

I can’t do it. I know I said last night that I was going to keep it but I called to ask if I could return it for a new Vaio and they said “no problem!”

So now my problem is how do I remove all my info and preferences from it? It’s running OS X and I know nothing about macs.

Much obliged,

I’ve never used OS X, but I’ll bet that Apple hasn’t made this any harder.

You just put the system software disk in the drive, then restart while holding down the ‘c’ key. You can let go of the key as soon as the ‘Welcome to Macintosh’ message comes up. What that does is runs the system off of the CD, rather than from the hard drive version.

Then you double click on the CD, and there should be a program there to reinstall the system. Do that, and make sure to tell it to reinitalize the hard disk while it’s at it.

That’ll make it really clean, and shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes.

To elaborate on Saltire’s post:

In OS 9, the app you need on the CD is called Drive Setup. It used to be on its own, in a folder called Utilities, but in OS X it’s all been integrated into one disk utility application.

In the Utilities folder on the CD, there should be something called Disk Utility. Launch that. One of the tabs will say Erase. Click on it.

I’ve only partitioned and never erased a hard drive, and I’m running my OS 9 partition at the moment, so that’s the most I know and I can’t look anything up for you. But I’m guessing that there’s something in that panel that will tell you how to erase your drive.

If you want to return it to the store the way it came, with all the software installed on it, first initialize the disk, to remove all your info from it. Then use the “Software Restore” CD that probably came with the iMac to put it back the way it was when you got it.

With OS X, the initialization procedure is just a tad different. Since this was a brand-new flat-panel iMac, I’m guessing it was loaded with OS 10.2.

First, boot from the OS X CD. To do this, you put the OS X Install 1 CD in your CD drive and select “restart” from the Apple menu. When you hear the startup chime, hold down the “C” key on the keyboard. Keep holding it until you see the little “progress circle”.

When the computer’s done booting, you’ll see the OS X installation program. Go to the menu next to the Apple menu (should say “OS X Install” or something similar). Pick the option “Open Disk Utility”.

When Disk Utility opens, you’ll see a folder tab that says “Erase”. Pick that. Click your hard drive on the left side of the window. The options should be okay by default. Click the “Erase” button, and kick back for a bit.

When it’s done, restart again. This time, hold down the mouse button after you hear the chime; that will make the CD eject on startup. Replace that CD with the System Restore CD (you won’t have to hold “C” to make it boot from the CD drive, since there’s no system on the hard drive anymore). From there, it should be pretty easy to follow the on-screen instructions.

I’ve got it all taken care of. All it took was holding down the c and reinstalling. Thanks everyone!

BTW Have my new Vaio up and running and am very, very happy.