I would like to clean up the hard disk of some macs before donating them. Can I just drag the disk to the trash can and then empty the trash? I realize this will cause the machine to no longer boot – but will the drive be erased? Is there a better way?

Spent some time researching how to wipe your hard drive…sounds like what you’re interested in is just how to format your hard drive. However, if your intent is to eliminate the data from the computer so that it’s no longer readable (a difficult thing to do) by folks with malicious intent, you might consider using a program like ShredIt X available online at http://www.mireth.com/pub/sxme.html

Since so much “personal” data might be stored in the System Folder, I would boot off a Mac CD, run ShredIt X from a USB drive (e.g. Pendrive) and wipe the System Folder as well.

To satisfy the “Mac must have an Operating System,” you could download UbuntuLinux for the Mac. Start up off that Linux CD and reformat the hard drive. Then, since no computer should be without an OS, install Ubuntu Linux on the Mac. You can get UbuntuLinux for PowerPC ISO file online at:


or they can send you a CD for free at:


That way, you’ve not only wiped the hard drive with a special utility, formatted the computer with Linux, but also loaded another completely different OS on the Mac.

So to review, take these steps:

1) Get Shred It X and wipe the hard drive, including the system folder. Purpose: Wipe data in such a way that malicious individuals can’t obtain it.

2) Reformat the drive using UbuntuLinux for Mac. Purpose: Add another layer of “data” on top of the wiped hard drive.

3) Load UbuntuLinux for Mac as a free Operating System to give away without sacrificing your OS licenses. Purpose: Ensure that you give away a working Mac sans operating system.

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