I intend to sell my old iBook and upgrade to a MacBook Pro. What do I need to do to make my old Mac ready for sale? I don’t want any of my personal information to remain on it.
Charles Boone

First, of course, you need to get all your data off the iBook and onto your new MacBook Pro. The easiest way to do this is to use Migration Assistant, which will make its presence known when you set up your new Mac. To transfer data between the two laptops, you must have either a FireWire connection (you’ll need a FireWire 400-to-800 cable to accommodate the old FireWire 400 port on the iBook and the FireWire 800 port on the MacBook Pro) or a network connection. FireWire will be faster.

If you have used your iBook to purchase any content from the iTunes Store, be sure to fire up iTunes on it and choose Deauthorize This Computer from the Store menu. That way you won’t lose one of your five authorisations when you wipe the iBook’s drive.

Once your data is ensconced on the new MacBook and your iTunes account is clear, you can wipe the iBook’s drive by inserting your original installation disc, booting from it (restart and hold down the C key), and choosing Disk Utility from the Installer menu. Within Disk Utility, select the Erase tab and, in the resulting pane, click on the Security Options button.

In the pane that appears, you have the option to wipe your drive’s data in a number of ways, including Zero Out Data, 7-Pass Erase, and 35-Pass Erase. Zero Out Data will nicely wipe your drive, but if it will help you sleep better at night, feel free to choose one of the other options (note that they can take quite a long time to do their thing).

When Disk Utility finishes wiping the data from the drive, run the installer again to install a clean copy of OS X. When the Mac reboots and prompts you to set it up, just press C-Q to quit the installer. This ensures that you leave no traces of yourself on the iBook and that the new owner can set it up to their liking. Don’t worry about installing any operating system updates on the iBook. The new owner can check for available updates via Software Update.