Whether you’re giving an old MacBook to a new employee or getting rid of one, resetting the computer removes your business’s sensitive information — such as client lists or financial sheets — from the hard drive. Restoring the MacBook also clears up space and makes your computer work more efficiently. The MacBook’s Mountain Lion operating system has a built-in recovery program, so you don’t need separate recovery media; however, the MacBook must be connected to your network — either via Wi-Fi or an Ethernet connection — for this process to work.
Method 1 of 2: Resetting the SMC
- Try to troubleshoot your computer before performing an SMC reset. The SMC reset controls the fan and power settings on your MacBook, and may be the only way to fix certain malfunctions. Before attempting it, however, you should try a few basic troubleshooting steps.
- Try to force quit unresponsive programs before attempting an SMC reset. Press Command + Option + Escape to force quit an application.
- Try to put your MacBook into Sleep mode by clicking the Apple menu and selecting Sleep. After it goes to Sleep, press a key to wake it up.
- Try restarting your MacBook by clicking the Apple menu and selecting Restart.
- Try shutting down the MacBook and then restarting it. You can shut down the Mac through the Apple menu, or if that doesn’t work, press and hold the Power button for 10 seconds.
- Check the symptoms. There are several symptoms that are directly related to the SMC. If your MacBook is experiencing these after you have triued the above troubleshooting steps, you may need to perform an SMC reset:
- The fans are loud and running at high speed even though the computer isn’t hot and it is well-ventilated.
- Indicator lights (battery, backlights, etc.) are not working properly.
- The MacBook doesn’t respond to pressing the Power button.
- The computer shuts itself down or goes to sleep unexpectedly.
- The battery does not charge properly
- Perform an SMC reset on a MacBook with a removable battery. If you have an easily removeable battery on your MacBook, follow these steps. If your MacBook’s battery is not easily removable, skip to Step 4:
- Shut down the computer and disconnect the power cord if it is currently plugged in.
- Remove the battery from the back of the MacBook.
- Press and hold the Power button for 5 seconds, then release the Power button.
- Reinsert the battery and connect the power cable. Press the Power button to turn the computer on.
- Perform and SMC reset on a MacBook without a removable battery. If you have a slim MacBook without an easily-accessible battery, follow these steps to reset your SMC:
- Shut down the computer.
- Plug the power cord into the MacBook and the power source.
- Press the Left Shift + Control + Option keys and the Power button at the same time.
- Release all of the keys and the Power button at the same time.
- Press the Power button to turn the computer back on.
- Verify that the problem has been resolved. If you are still having issues with your MacBook, you may need to wipe it and reinstall the operating system. You will lose any data that you have saved on the MacBook. Follow the steps in the next section to reinstall the operating system.
Method 2 of 2: Factory Resetting Your MacBook Pro
- Backup your important data. When you reset your MacBook, you will be deleting the data on your computer and reinstalling the operating system. This means you will lose everything that you had saved on your hard drive. Back up everything you want to keep, either by copying select files to an external drive or DVD, or by using the Time Machine program to back up all of your files.
- Boot to the Recovery HD. Reboot the computer and hold down the Command + R keys. This will load the Recovery function. Select the Recovery HD.
- Select the Disk Utility. Click the Continue button. When Disk Utility loads, you will be shown a list of your hard disks. Select the Macintosh HD disk and click the Erase tab.
- For some users, their primary disk may have been renamed and may not be called Macintosh HD. Select whichever disk is your primary hard disk.
- Select the disk format. You will see several options for the disk format. You should select Mac OS Extended (Journaled). Click the Erase button. The erase process may take a few minutes.
- Close Disk Utility. You will be returned to the Recovery menu. Select “Reinstall OS X” and then click the Install button. This will begin the installation process for OS X.
- You will need a working internet connection in order to download and install OS X. You can check your connection by clicking the connection icon in the upper-right corner of the screen.
- If you need to install Snow Leopard or earlier, check out this guide
- Begin the installation. Once the installation has started, you will be asked to read and agree to the Terms and Conditions. Once you have accepted them, you will need to specify the hard drive that you want to install OS X to. By default the Macintosh HD drive should be selected.
- Wait for the installation to finish. This could take between 30-60 minutes, depending on your computer. You may be asked to enter your Apple ID to verify the purchase of OS X (if you’ve upgraded). Once the installation is complete, your computer will be factory reset, and will act as if you had just taken it out of the box.
- You will need to reinstall your old programs and restore your backed up files to where you want them on your fresh system.
- If the restore process finds a problem, the MacBook connects to Apple’s website and begins Internet recovery. It takes longer, but can fix your computer if the recovery drive is absent or if the hard drive is damaged.
- Instead of a clean system install, you can choose “Restore from Time Machine Backup” from the Utilities menu if you want to restore a backup you’ve created and stored with Apple.
- You’ll have to go through the setup process once your computer is reset.
- Back up your MacBook before you reset if you don’t want to lose your files.
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