Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

A colleague of mine just got his new MacBook Pro and he ran through the set-up process. But as it turns out, he got the wrong MacBook Pro, so now, he needs to completely erase the already present data and account...

How can he completely erase all the data including the admin account? He already tried to boot from the recovery disk and to boot with Command-R. But all he gets is the new set-up assistant. He wants the MacBook Pro in its original state, so that when you open it you see the initial setup steps, and not the account he just created.

share|improve this question
up vote 4 down vote accepted

He could format THEN REINSTALL the OS and power off before the initial setup.

Also there is a way to force setup assistant to run without reinstalling the system (some unix knowledge required and yes, this works in Lion):

Boot to single user mode

mount -uw
rm -rf /Library/Preferences/
rm -rf /Users/username
rm /var/db/dslocal/nodes/Default/users/username.plist
rm -rf /var/db/.AppleSetupDone

(Note: replace username with whatever account short name you’ve created)

share|improve this answer
Great! This did the job! Thanks a lot! – Michiel May 19 '12 at 21:31

Formatting and Reinstalling the computer and turning it off when the Admin account Setup pops up should do the trick.

share|improve this answer
Is this a guess or are you sure about this? – Michiel May 18 '12 at 12:50
It may have changed with Lion, but I've done it a couple of times already. – Thecafremo May 18 '12 at 12:58
And you format the computer by using Disk Utily on the Recovery Disk? – Michiel May 18 '12 at 12:59
I haven't tried this specificaly with Lion, but I guess it has not changed. Either way, with Recovery Disk or with an image of Lion in a USB flash Drive, should work, as it has nothing to do with the installation itself, but with what happens next. – Thecafremo May 18 '12 at 13:14
Reinstall is not equal to format! – mspasov May 18 '12 at 14:44

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.