I just bought a used MacBook and I want to wipe it clean to start fresh. It didn't come up a DVD or anything.

I tried following another post on here that said to push Option on start up and it sounded like it could do a fresh install using an internet connection. However when I did it the only icon I got was the hard drive in the laptop.

It looks like you can purchase the DVD on the apple website (http://store.apple.com/us/product/MC573/mac-os-x-106-snow-leopard) though here it looks like it offers a free upgrade to http://www.apple.com/osx/how-to-upgrade/ 10.10.1

But it's not clear if that applies to me since I'm not the original owner. It's also not clear if I'll run into complications in general since I'm not the original owner (eg is the laptop tied to someone else's iTunes account right now?)

It's also not clear if it'll allow for a "fresh installation". I'm more of a PC guy I'm not really familiar with Macs. What route should I go to wipe the laptop?

  • If the MacBook supports Yosemite (the latest OS version), then you could download the installer from the App Store. There are several tutorials on how to make a bootable USB drive; in which case you could boot in to the installer, wipe the disk, and install a clean Yosemite. If you want a clean 10.6 installation, you'll need a DVD. Booted from the DVD, you can wipe the internal HDD, and install from scratch.
    – Kent
    Nov 30, 2014 at 23:21

1 Answer 1


The Recovery HD (which is what holding down Option would enable you to access) didn't come into being until Lion. You should go to the App Store, sign out of the previous owner's Apple ID, sign in with your own, download and install Yosemite, and then you'll have the Recovery partition from which you can do a wipe/fresh install.

  • i just did the 10.10.1 upgrade, then i did the option+command+r thing to get the boot menu where i now see the recovery partition option. From there do i say to install OSX, or do i want to do the erase option with the disk utility? (im want to make sure i do the right thing since i dont have a dvd or anything to fall back to)
    – Danny
    Dec 1, 2014 at 2:17
  • If you want to totally start the computer from scratch, you'll want to go to Disk Utility, erase Macintosh HD (make sure "Macintosh HD" is highlighted in the sidebar), and then install OS X onto it.
    – user24601
    Dec 1, 2014 at 2:30
  • When i clicked on the Macintosh HD on the sidebar then push erase it said "disk erase failed, couldn't unmount disk"
    – Danny
    Dec 1, 2014 at 2:39
  • 1
    I thought Recovery HD could wipe the main HD, but apparently it can't. New plan: Go back to the main hard drive, make a bootable Yosemite USB drive, and then boot from that drive (hold down Option during the restart and select "Install OS X Yosemite"). You should be able to wipe Macintosh HD and reinstall OS X onto it from there.
    – user24601
    Dec 1, 2014 at 2:43
  • @user24601 you should append this to the given answer. This completes the details. Dec 1, 2014 at 5:14

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