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Old 2nd March 2017, 23:08
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Default Deleting a partition in El Capitan

Hi Guys,

I was recently given a pre-owned 2012 Macbook Pro, running El Capitain. It belonged to the donor's deceased sister, and he doesn't now any of her passwords.

It is full of the previous owners' stuff, so I decided to make a fresh start of it and created a new partition with all my stuff, but am unable to delete the old (original) partition: when I try in Disk Utility the - (minus symbol) is greyed out.

Can anyone help with this?
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Old 2nd March 2017, 23:22
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Is the partition you cannot delete called "Macintosh HD"?
If so, you cannot delete it. I'm not sure whether there's a way to get around it by renaming it somehow, but the Disk Utility will not allow you to delete the "primary" Macintosh HD, only any secondary ones.
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Old 2nd March 2017, 23:25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gwynd View Post
Is the partition you cannot delete called "Macintosh HD"?
If so, you cannot delete it.
Hi Gwynd,

Yes, it is.

Could there be some kind of workaround, such as a clean install of the system software that deletes all previous content?
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Old 2nd March 2017, 23:31
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Hi Alexora.

Bare with me, I'm getting this information second-hand.

Bro-in-law says read this:
Code:
http://apple.stackexchange.com/questions/221688/how-do-i-remove-unused-partition-el-capitan
He thinks that's where he got the answer - he had to do it on an ex-work Mac.

Hope it helps.

Gwynd
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Old 3rd March 2017, 01:10
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Try booting the Mac in Recovery with Command-R at startup. Select the Disk Utility from the options. You should be able to reformat the drive from here before doing a clean install.

My personally prefered method is to wipe the whole drive through the terminal which is available from the menu in this recovery mode. diskutil coreStorage list will display the drives logical volume group. Copy the group identifier and then type diskutil coreStorage delete xxxxxx with the group ID in place of the "xxxxx". This will reformat your entire drive and allow you to reinstall the OS.

This method will wipe everything including the recovery partition and will even split up a fusion drive into seperate volumes which is what I have used it for personally. You can also use Option-Command-R to boot from the internet instead of the recovery particion. A heads up though as reinstalling through Internet Recovery instead of booting into the recovery partition will probably install Sierra instead of El Capitan.
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Old 3rd March 2017, 03:04
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Thanks Gwynd and Grumble: I'll give your suggestions a go tomorrow, and report back.
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Old 4th March 2017, 17:41
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OK, I tried this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grumble View Post
Try booting the Mac in Recovery with Command-R at startup. Select the Disk Utility from the options. You should be able to reformat the drive from here before doing a clean install.
I wasn't offered a choice to reformat the drive, but was able to erase (not remove) the original partition and reinstall El Capitan.

That worked, but now I can't remove the partition that I had originally created...
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Old 5th March 2017, 01:32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexora View Post
I wasn't offered a choice to reformat the drive, but was able to erase (not remove) the original partition and reinstall El Capitan.

That worked, but now I can't remove the partition that I had originally created...
Hmmm. Weird. Using control-option-R to boot from the internet might do it. The terminal method (in Recovery mode) I mentioned definitely will.
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Old 5th March 2017, 17:56

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I guess there may be work arounds for removing a partition...
But nobody should or would recommend it.
While the Terminal work around may work, Terminal is a tool reserved for advanced users and shouldn't be used by those less educated.

Make a backup of your own data to another drive.
If your own data includes the operating system, then you will need to use either Super Duper OR Carbon Copy Cloner to backup your data, as a simple drag/copy will not be bootable.

After backup
Go to System Preferences -> Disk Utility
Select the entire drive that both partitions are on and choose ERASE.
You will wind up with a single volume that has no data on it
And you can then either
Install a clean system and then drag you data to a folder within your newly created user folder
OR
Use Super Duper or Carbon Copy Cloner to copy back YOUR data.
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Old 5th March 2017, 21:20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Name-Hunter View Post
I guess there may be work arounds for removing a partition...
But nobody should or would recommend it.
While the Terminal work around may work, Terminal is a tool reserved for advanced users and shouldn't be used by those less educated.
Thanks Name-Hunter, it is for this reason why I am kind of apprehensive about using Terminal for this task.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Name-Hunter View Post
Make a backup of your own data to another drive.
If your own data includes the operating system, then you will need to use either Super Duper OR Carbon Copy Cloner to backup your data, as a simple drag/copy will not be bootable.
No need for that: I have no files or apps on that machine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Name-Hunter View Post
After backup
Go to System Preferences -> Disk Utility
Select the entire drive that both partitions are on and choose ERASE.
You will wind up with a single volume that has no data on it
And you can then either
Install a clean system and then drag you data to a folder within your newly created user folder
OR
Use Super Duper or Carbon Copy Cloner to copy back YOUR data.
I'll give that a go, and report back.
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