View Full Version : How do I wipe my internal hard drive?

04-26-2010, 12:40 AM
Hi all,

I have an eMac from 2003 that is starting to have some issues (anything that runs off the USB ports freezes, Firewire stopped working, DVD's that play are freezing, discs won't burn properly sometimes).

I realise that these sound like logic board problems, but since the problems are only intermittent, I would like to try wiping the internal hard drive and starting again. I've never done this for the life of the computer, and would like to give it a try to see if it will improve things.

How do I do it?

Cheers in advance,
Cryssie )

04-26-2010, 01:05 AM
First, you'll want to back up any files or non-Apple applications you'd like to keep which are on the machine. Next, you'll need to boot from the CD (or DVD) which came with the computer, or the retail OS discs which you may have purchased later to upgrade the machine.

Once you've booted off the disc, you'll need to navigate through the first screen or two until you have a menu bar at the top of the screen. Once the menu bar is present, there should be a menu titled Utilities. From this menu, select Disk Utility.

After Disk Utility opens, select your hard drive on the left. To the right, there should be a section called Erase. Select that, then set the format of your drive to Mac OS Journaled (HFS+). Click the Erase button, and in just a moment your hard drive will have been erased.

When the erase process is done, quit Disk Utility. You'll now be back to the OS installation process. You can then complete that to put the OS back on to the hard drive.

When the OS install is complete, you should have a clean installation of the OS on the just-erased hard drive, and you'll have to restart your computer to boot off of the internal drive. First thing you'll probably want to do is run Software Update (from the Apple Menu) to put your system and software to the latest available versions of everything. You should also re-install any files or applications you backed up.

After that, test away to see how things are working.

04-26-2010, 02:23 AM
I know this sound ridiculous, but how do I boot off the disc?

04-26-2010, 02:29 AM
Not ridiculous at all. I probably should have included that, rather than presume it was obvious.

If the computer is running, put the disc into the computer, restart, and once you hear the startup chime, hold down the "C" key on the keyboard. If the computer is off, just turn it on and immediately slide the disc in, then hold the "C" key.

Just don't be surprised that startup is slower than usual. This is common since the computer is booting off the disc. Once you see the spinning gear on the screen, it should be safe to let go of the "C" key.