Can/should I reformat my Mac?
June 14, 2006 4:02 PM   Subscribe

Similar to a previous question, but for a Mac: how do I reformat my hard drive if I don't have the correct system disks? see inside for further details

Really all I want to do is break down the partitions that the previous owner of this computer put up. (there were valid reasons to make three equal size partitions then, but no longer) I have some system disks (iMac Applications and iMac Software Restore) but I don't think they are what I need, and I believe the OS has been updated since those disks were last used. (it's running 10.2.8 right now, which is also the latest that this hardware will support) There are also occasional 'ownership' issues that I think only a reformat will take care of properly. (I can't completely remove the previous owner's profile and my attempts at editing it won't take)

Please note: my technical skills are not top of the line. I can follow directions, and even understand the implications most of the time, but I won't get anywhere but lost if I don't have a map. What I'm looking for here is not that map, but more a sense whether what I am asking (a) makes sense and (b) is possible and (c) directions as to where to find more complete help.
posted by schwap23 to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you needed to repartition and you can't reformat the hard drive, you would need to buy and use a third-party utility like Drive Genius.

If you need to repartition and can afford to reformat the hard drive, you can repartition by starting from a system disc, pulling down the Utilities menu and selecting "Drive Utility".

If you need to remove an old user folder, open the Terminal application, type sudo -s, enter your password, and type rm -R /Users/oldprofilename. Make sure that you name the right folder — and you'll want to make a backup if you can.
posted by Mr. Six at 4:10 PM on June 14, 2006

It's easily possible to do what you want to do. You need a disk that contains an OSX installation. My guess, from when I had a G3 iMac, is that the System Restore disk that you mention is the one that you need. If so, stick it in the CD drive, and reboot. Follow the onscreen prompts from there. The options are fairly self-explanatory as far as disk partitioning is concerned, once you get to that part of the install.

If you can't reinstall the OS from the System Restore disk, you'll need to get hold of a an official copy of OSX. Jaguar (which is what 10.2 is) is a few years old now, but you may be able to pick a copy up on eBay.

As a side issue, my old G3 iMac (600Mhz,768MByte) easily ran Panther, the latest iteration of OSX. It probably is still running it, since I gave it away. In many ways Jaguar is far less optimised than Panther, and may stress ancient hardware more.
posted by veedubya at 4:21 PM on June 14, 2006

"which is also the latest that this hardware will support" ... which leads me to belive that this is *not* an iMac.

What kind of hardware is this, anyway? That's a critical detail you left out.
posted by drstein at 10:50 PM on June 14, 2006

"which is also the latest that this hardware will support" ... which leads me to belive that this is *not* an iMac.

10.3 = Built-in USB ports required
10.4 = Built-in FireWire ports required

So all iMacs support 10.3, and all but the earliest support 10.4.

In any case, I'd recommend getting hold of 10.3 install disks. It's much less obsolete then 10.2, runs just as well and a boxed copy costs like $30. There's no way to start from scratch without them.
posted by cillit bang at 2:54 AM on June 15, 2006

Interesting. I'm getting everything from "there's no way" to fairly complete directions (thanks for those, btw!)... Somewhere in the midst of this lies an answer, I'm sure! What I guess I should do is some *more* research...

Incidentally, the notion that I can't upgrade the OS came from the previous owner, my girlfriend. She's much sharper than me about these kinds of things, but she's not infallible. I can assure you however, that the machine is, in fact, an iMac. Unless of course, the label on the front of the machine is lying. And the box that it came in was also lying. And the "About This Mac" is also lying. Possible, I suppose, but not likely. Perhaps *I'm* lying and I just made this whole thing up just to vex you...
posted by schwap23 at 3:15 PM on June 15, 2006

Ok, schwap. Fine. I get it. It's an iMac. Since you have the box, how about telling us the detailed specs?

If it'll run 10.4, get 10.4, but if it lacks built-in Firewire, go for 10.3.

If it's 10.2.8, and you have an iMac, then your girlfriend is wrong because the operating system can be upgraded.
posted by drstein at 7:06 PM on June 16, 2006

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