How to Set a MacBook to Factory Reset Without Disks

by Jen Cordwainer
Photodisc/Digital Vision/Getty Images

When Mac OS X Lion 10.7 was released in October 2010, it introduced the OS X Recovery tool, which is stored on a separate partition of your computer's internal hard drive. Apple has never released restore disks for Lion and the current operating system, Mountain Lion 10.8, because those operating systems have been distributed through the Mac App Store as digital downloads. If your Mac is currently running Lion 10.7 or later, then you can restore your computer to factory settings with the OS X Recovery tool .

Step 1

Restart your computer and hold down "Command-R" as your Mac boots up.

Step 2

Click on "Disk Utility" and select your computer's hard drive from the sidebar.

Step 3

Select the "Erase" tab and click on Erase" to remove all of your personal data from the computer.

Close Disk Utility and click on "Reinstall Mac OS X" and your computer downloads the operating system, then restarts and begins the installation.


  • When you erase your hard drive using the OS X Recovery utility, all of your personal files and data will be wiped from the computer. Make sure that your information is backed up to an external hard drive beforehand.


  • If your hard drive is failing or if you plan to install a new hard drive on your MacBook, then you will not be able to boot into OS X Recovery from a local hard drive partition. In these instances, you will need to load the Recover tool onto an external USB drive before attempting to reset your Mac to factory settings. You can download the Recovery Disk Assistant from the Apple website (link in Resources), which allows you to store the OS X Recovery Utility on an external USB drive.


Photo Credits

  • Photodisc/Digital Vision/Getty Images

About the Author

Jen Cordwainer has been writing technology, business and entertainment articles for seven years. She has three years of experience working in enterprise technology. Cordwainer has a bachelor's degree in English.

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