Reinstalling an older Macbook Air via Remote Install Mac OS X

I have an older MacBook Air that I want to get back to its factory-fresh state. The trouble is that the Air doesn’t have a DVD drive and the older Airs came with a couple of DVDs. So, Remote Installing to the rescue. See the exact instructions on this older blog post:

After the long setup, wouldn’t it also be nice if you installed all the iLife software that came with the Mac too? Well, you can! You’ll need to:

  1. Create a test user with a short test password. (You MUST create a password.)
  2. Skip through the registration process just to get by the prompts.
  3. When you’re back at your desktop, use the Remote Disc to get back to your other computer and pop in the Applications Install DVD. Install all the apps.
  4. Now to erase that test account and bring back the fun startup video, thanks to MacWorld:
    1. Restart the computer.
    2. Hold down Command+S during boot to enter single-user mode.
    3. Set the mounted root disk back into write mode: mount -uw /

      Note: You might note that the instructions printed on the screen say you should fsck. You probably should. I haven’t and it has still worked fine.

    4. Remove the system configuration (leaving the iLife apps plist files alone): rm -rf /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration
    5. Remove your test user account: rm -rf /Users/TESTUSER
    6. Remove the usernames plist: rm /var/db/dslocal/nodes/Default/users/TESTUSER.plist
    7. Remove the setup info plist: rm /var/db/.AppleSetupDone
    8. Restart the system with a command: reboot

(If you don’t want to bother installing the iApps you can just Command+Q at the welcome screen. See Hivelogic’s article.)

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