10 thoughts on “I need to wipe data but not programs from an old iMac”

  1. I don’t have any specific knowledge of MacOS or whatever tools may be available to restore the machine to factory state, but the only way to be really safe, regardless of the machine and operating system, is to completely wipe the hard drive(s) (with a tool such as Linux shred, which overwrites data), then re-install the operating system and programs from their original distribution media or online sources.  While it’s generally relatively easy to delete everything in the directories belonging to users, which will get rid of most of their private data, the system and various applications may have all kinds of information squirreled away in their own private storage which this won’t clear.  Examples of such information are browsing history for Web browsers, saved login credentials of Web sites you use, and passwords for WiFi networks to which you connect.  A clean re-installation on “bare metal” will ensure there’s nothing like that left around.

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  2. How secure do you need this?

    John’s post covers most of the bases, but there’s not anything particularly sensitive, you can get away with deleting your user account from the system preferences menu.

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  3. It’s an older computer that I replaced when it could no longer be upgraded, so I’m not sure if the operating system would still be available.  The recipient is my best friend, so it doesn’t have to be that secure.

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  4. RB49:
    It’s an older computer that I replaced when it could no longer be upgraded, so I’m not sure if the operating system would still be available.  The recipient is my best friend, so it doesn’t have to be that secure.

    You are giving a computer to your cat. Well, they do like mice.

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  5. Excuse me, my Cat is my Owner/Boss, not my best friend.  My best friend is a person who works with me, and has never owned her own computer.

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  6. RB49:
    Excuse me, my Cat is my Owner/Boss, not my best friend.  My best friend is a person who works with me, and has never owned her own computer.

    This is nice of you, RB. How is your Boss doing? Any pictures?

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  7. RB49:
    Excuse me, my Cat is my Owner/Boss, not my best friend.  My best friend is a person who works with me, and has never owned her own computer.

    This is nice of you, RB. How is your Boss doing? Any pictures?

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