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A friend wants to return an iMac with Lion in it. I have a pre-Lion Mac, and it seems like a lot has changed with Lion so I don't know how to help him.

I told him that doing a clean install will make it like new, but he says you can't download a bootable disk image from the AppStore to do this. He doesn't want to torrent it because he thinks the store will know it's a ripped version.

Is there a way for him to remove his Admin account so that none of his personal info remains on the machine?

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There is no way to do this 100% without reinstalling the machine.

See this answer of mine for a few options. During setup, you can select to erase the hard drive and zero out all data on it.

If the iMac came with lion, maybe he has a bootable (rescue) disk? He can also try doing what e other user in the linked topic suggested and do an internet recovery after erasing the disk from a pre OS x lion boot disk.

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Just to add, Apple don't have the strict anti-piracy mechanism like M$ does because OS X is only designed to run on Macs. The files you torrent is likely to be exactly the same as the recovery DVD shipped with the machine. I guess even if you don't have a working system, Apple Store will still accept the machine because they have to reinstall the OS again anyway. – Nov 26 '11 at 0:17
His came with Lion installed. He says doing an internet recovery still means his Apple ID will be tied to the computer. He wants to return the computer a blank slate. — I've not used Lion so I don't know if this is true or not. It seems weird that apple would make it IMPOSSIBLE to disassociate yourself from your computer :/ – iDontKnowBetter Nov 26 '11 at 0:22

Here is how I would do it.

Turn on filevault. Do not log your keys with Apple. Make sure your password is (relatively) strong.

That will prevent the machine from being used and at the Apple store the apple people will wipe the machine as part of their normal clean up procedure, and his data will be protected because it was encrypted prior to handing it back.

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