How to Use System Restore on a Mac

By Brendan O'Brien

Those who use computers know all too well that there comes a point in time where is it time to start fresh. Whether it be software malfunctions, corrupt applications or viruses that has brought your Mac to a halt, rest assured there is an easy way to return the machine back to normal. With a System Restore CD that typically comes packaged with the Mac, users can replace the software that originally came on the computer.

Things You'll Need

  • Mac computer
  • External drive or server
  • System Restore disk

Prepare the Mac

Step 1

Backup all data onto an external drive or network server. This includes all files such as documents, contacts, pictures and videos.

Step 2

Write down or make a file with all of the internet connection information for the Mac. You can find this information in your Internet control panel. This is important since this information will be lost during the process.

Step 3

Run Disk First Aid to check for any hard disk issues. Go to the Utilities folder and run the Disk First Aid application. Pick the hard drive volume to be checked and click the "Repair" button. Quit the application.

Restore system

Step 1

Place the Restore System disk in the CD drive. Restart the computer and verify that you booted to the Restore System disk. The Restore Disk icon should be in the upper right of the desktop.

Step 2

Disable the system folder on the hard drive. Locate it on the drive. Open the folder and find the system icon (a suitcase) and drag it into the preferences folder. Rename the system folder to "disabled system folder."

Step 3

Start Apple Software Restore application from the disk. Select "OK". Select the destination where you want to install the new system folder. This is typically where the old system folder was located. Put a check mark in the box associated with Restore in Place. Hit the restore button and a status screen will appear.

Step 4

Click "Quit" when the process is complete.

Step 5

If a Startup Disk control panel appears, reselect the hard disk as the startup source.

Step 6

Test restoration by restarting the computer and completing the setup steps. Re-enter the Internet settings.

References & Resources