Reformat Macbook Pro to make brand new again

Reformat Macbook Pro to make brand new again
Update! I have updated this tutorial to include MacOS Sierra which is a free download from Apple for all Mac users.

I’ve owned many Macs. And thanks to my endless knack for figuring things out on my own, I’ve clogged up the majority of them with useless software, damaging commands, adware, duplicate files and just about anything else you can add to a hard drive to slow it to a crawwwwl.

If you want to reformat Macbook Pro and get it back to what it was like right off the shelf, you’ve come to the right place. I just applied this process a few days ago and my laptop is running like I just opened the box from Apple. This step-by-step guide will help you preserve what’s currently on the drive (for safety sake), wipe it completely clean, reinstall OS X Yosemite (or Mavericks) and make it run like the champion it should be.

This post serves as the table of the contents of this series: Reformat Macbook Pro to make brand new. You can always refer back to this table of contents for each step.

  1. What you need to reformat Macbook Pro (this post)
  2. Back up your Macbook hard drive with Time Machine
    1. Create an OS X Mavericks boot drive
    2. Create an OS X Yosemite boot drive
    3. Create a MacOS Sierra boot drive  Just Added! 
  3. Erase Macbook Pro hard drive securely
    1. Reinstall OS X Mavericks with boot drive
    2. Reinstall OS X Yosemite with boot drive
    3. Reinstall MacOS Sierra with your boot drive  Just Added! 

Are you ready? Grab the coffee. It’s go-time.

What you need to reformat Macbook Pro

Disclaimer: Just be careful. Make a backup and you can rest-assured if you blow anything up you have your files. Don’t force it. I’ll make this as easily to understand as I can.

So here’s what you’ll need:

  1. A Macbook Pro (Duh.)
  2. Make sure your Mac has the juice to handle Mavericks (H/T to Neil Gee for this breakdown if you’re unsure)
  3. Time Machine (included on all Macs)
  4. An external hard drive (300GB or more) with power cord and Firewire cord (or USB, Thunderbolt, etc.)
  5. An 8GB flash/thumb drive
  6. A cup of coffee (or beer, water, what have you).
  7. About 4 hours of your life

Once you’ve gathered up these things, or borrowed them from a friend, coworker or man on the street, then you’re set. Keep in mind, this tutorial works for any Mac per se, it’s not just a guide for Macbook Pro since the rules are generally the same. But for the sake of simpicity, and for the sake that I desperately needed to clean up my Macbook Pro, that’s why we’re focusing on it.

Collect the following items and you’re ready for success:

Some final added notes before we begin…

WARNING: A part of the following process will not work with Snow Leopard. It works only in Lion, 
Mountain Lion, or Mavericks. If you need to create a Mavericks install drive while booted into 
Snow Leopard, you should use Disk Utility instructions found here.

Thanks, MacWorld…here’s a hat tip.

Okay. I think we’re ready. Click on this link to start in by backing up your data with Time Machine. It’s time to make your Macbook Pro brand new again. That new computer smell? I can’t help you with that. But we will make it sing like the birdies. See you on the other side.

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Josh Benson

Josh Benson writes about the web, technology, TV News and life in general. He's a self-admitted geek and loves being a Dad. He covers the day's news on WFLA-TV in Tampa, Florida. He struggles to learn code and work out but loves all things tech and web!

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