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How do you permanently delete all info on a Mac OS ?

by pbbt / January 1, 2007 3:06 AM PST

My sister has a Mac OS 9. She is thinking about getting a newer computer and is wondering how she would go about making sure that any and all info on the computer is destroyed.

Thanks and Happy New Year.

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For instance.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 1, 2007 4:02 AM PST
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and I was going to suggest
by boya84 / January 1, 2007 5:39 AM PST

removing the hard drive and taking a sledge hammer to it...

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And I would suggest
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / January 1, 2007 5:59 AM PST

following answer # 1 but include the original installations disks with the sale.
This would not necessarily be the OS 9 disks.


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For OS 9 Permanent Delete
by cyberpoet / January 5, 2007 5:16 AM PST

There are three good solutions that I aware of for OS 9 wipes.

The first one is to use the original boot disks (which give you the option of launching disk utility once you get to the installer screen) and reformat the drive repeatedly, with the option "writing zero's to the drive" turned on. Multiple passes are recommended.

The second option is to use a third-party solution that does a hard wipe AND can boot the Mac, such as older copies of Norton Utilities or Norton SystemWorks (you can still get version 1 of SystemWorks for under $20 on the market if you search -- or send me an email). This has the advantage of providing a true DES-strength 7-pass erase with garbage written out to the drive (guarantees the chances of anyone aside from the NSA getting the data back is about zero).

The final option is to physically retain or destroy the drive. We recommend this to many of our clients with equipment that is of that age simply because it doesn't significantly affect the resale/donation value of the rest of the hardware (which is already minimal due to age-related depreciation). Hard drives, once opened, make great ashtrays, clock faces, and/or (with a bit of grinding) throwing stars...

=-= The CyberPoet

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For OS 9 Permanent Delete
by pbbt / January 5, 2007 7:45 AM PST

Sorry it's taken so long for me to get back here. I've been dealing with migraines and a maimed toe. Grin

I thank you for your help. The computer in question was given to her to use, but they want it back (so there goes destroying the hard drive). She just wants to make sure that all info is unavailable before giving it to them. I'll have to ask if she has the original boot disks. She's not very computer savvy and I know almost nothing about Macs.

Thanks again to all of you.

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Norton Utilities can be used to permanently delete all info
by russher / January 5, 2007 9:31 AM PST

If the computer has Norton Utilities on it, she should delete all personal info, applications, etc. by dragging them to the Trash. Then run Norton Utilities. It has a Wipe or Erase program (I forget the exact name). The program overwrites everything in the Trash three times. I have used this often as a consultant. My clients often rented Macs for me. I always brought along my Norton Utilities disk. When finished, I deleted all the client's info and ran Norton Utilities. I usually ran the Wipe program twice even though they say once is enough. Nothing is retrievable after running it. Norton Utilities is very common in older Macs, so there's a good chance it's on the computer.

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OS9 permanent delete
by NeilFiertel / January 5, 2007 1:38 PM PST

Use any OSX installer disk other than one specifically supplied with with a particular Mac model..Start the computer with this disk by holding down the C key and using the disk utilities application apply the secure delete on the specific data such as the user files, preferences and so forth if you wish to leave the computer with a working OS otherwise, just do a complete zeroing format of the drive. Usually old computers have tiny hard drives not worth using and so pulling it from the computer and hitting it with a hammer twice is enough to call it dead..If you want to sell the computer, throw in an old but bigger drive and install OSX on it. OS9 is as dead as a dodo.

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It's an old unit - OS X may never boot it!
by cyberpoet / January 5, 2007 1:57 PM PST
In reply to: OS9 permanent delete

>> Use any OSX installer disk other than one specifically supplied with with a particular Mac model..

The problem with that particular solution, depending on the processor, memory and age of the machine in question, may be that no version of OS X will ever boot it, much less be able to format it.

=-= The CyberPoet

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Missing the big picture
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / January 5, 2007 10:27 PM PST

Since the original post, the goal posts have moved.

The machine in question is only a loaner so the destruction of the HD is not a runner and neither is the total wipe, securely or not, of the HD.
The machine was lent as a working machine and should not go back to the original lender as a non-working machine.

As already mentioned, this machine is running OS 9 and may not be capable of booting into OS X. What ever utilities are used, they will have to be old ones. OS 9 may have gone the way of the Dodo but there are still plenty of people who are happy to use it. It suits what they do.

Securely wiping the Trash, using Norton, is a decent idea as long as the borrower actually knows where all the data that they do not want seen, is actually stored. Hopefully they do.


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Permanently Erase File
by jonthansmith / January 19, 2010 7:06 PM PST

I trust in SafeDeleter <a href="">safedeleter</a>

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Not Windows
by Mr. Gregg / January 20, 2010 12:45 AM PST
In reply to: Permanently Erase File

I see nothing on the Safe Deleter web site referencing use with a Mac, much less OS9.

To the OP: What utilities are installed on this computer? Another one that can wipe the hard drive is TechTool Pro.

Is the OS9 installation disc available? (Sorry, I don't recall if that was mentioned.) If so, wipe the drive, then install the OS.

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Old Thread
by Kevin M. Dean / January 20, 2010 1:01 AM PST
In reply to: Not Windows

FYI, This thread is 3 years old.

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by Mr. Gregg / January 20, 2010 10:20 PM PST
In reply to: Old Thread

I figured a warning was in order.

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