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  1. #1
    Administrator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    MacBook Pro 2012 new to me

    I bought a second-hand MacBook Pro (MBP) recently with a 500GB HDD. As I also had a 500GB SSD spare I decided to swap out the HDD following this tutorial. I also decided to take Nathan Parker's advice about carrying out a clean install of High Sierra on the SSD.

    The physical swap only took 14 mins in total. Unfortunately, when I powered the MBP back on to install the operating system from macOS Recovery I was presented with this screen:

    mac-firmware-lock-icon.png

    Never having done this before, I assumed the MBP was asking for my user password. Nope! It turned out that the previous owner had set a firmware password. After an online chat with Apple support it turns out that the only two options available to me were to put the HDD back in again or visit an Apple store, together with my purchase invoice. Here's where it gets murkier...

    I bought the MBP via Groupon UK. I screenshot the transaction (just in case) and thought no more about it. However, Groupon didn't provide an actual purchase receipt and passed the purchase order on to a third-party. The third-party duly delivered the MBP to me by courier but didn't include a receipt/invoice, just an A4 sheet about warranty.

    I've bought LOADS of second-hand kit (via Groupon, authorised refurbishers and at auction) and this is the first time ever that I've ever actually needed a receipt or invoice to show that I haven't just nicked it.

    It gets better... my email to the actual vendor - marked 'High Priority' - has not resulted in a reply... even though I've now booked an appointment at my local Apple store's Genius Bar for tomorow.
    Last edited by Rick Corbett; 2018-05-17 at 10:27.

  2. #2
    Administrator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    Just me being impatient...

    After booking an appointment at my local Genius Bar, I was very pleasantly surprised to receive an email from the company I had bought the MBP from, not with an invoice but with the firmware password itself.

    After downloading and installing High Sierra then restoring my account and data (~30 mins in total) the MBP now boots in 14 seconds. Not bad for a 6-year-old laptop.

  3. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Rick Corbett For This Useful Post:

    mrjimphelps (2018-05-18),Nathan Parker (2018-05-19),satrow (2018-05-18)

  4. #3
    3 Star Lounger
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    Great! With the original hard drive in there, you might have been able to boot into the Recovery Partition and remove the firmware password, although you still might have needed it to remove it. I'm glad they sent over the firmware password so you can get in there! It's a good security measure in macOS, but it's an option people should disable before handing off their Macs to someone else.
    Nathan Parker

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  5. #4
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    By the way, in terms of overall Mac security, here's my current recommendations:

    macOS includes out-of-the-box GateKeeper enabled (the Allow Apps Downloaded from option in System Preferences, Security, General). I recommend "App Store and indentified developers". Enabling FileVault (also under System Preferences, Security) is a good option for full-disk encryption (think BitLocker in Windows). I also recommend enabling the built-in macOS Firewall (also under System Preferences, Security). Setting a Firmware Password is a good security measure as well (as you learned firsthand!).

    In terms of malware protection, macOS includes built-in malware protection with XProtect (it works behind the scenes and automatically updates). I also recommend keeping macOS updated and applying security updates. Apple also recommends Malwarebytes (the free edition), which I run a Malwarebytes scan once a week to ensure everything is OK. Malwarebytes for Mac does not protect against Windows malware (and doesn't have all the features of the Windows version), so I also run Webroot to protect against spreading Windows viruses and malware and for real-time protection. I tried Intego, Avast, Thirtyseven4, and Webroot, and so far, Webroot has offered good protection and fast performance. There is a version of Kaspersky anti-virus on the Mac App Store, but I haven't tried it yet.

    Another good security app that extends the firewall is Little Snitch. While the macOS firewall handles inbound connections, Little Snitch handles outbound connections. The latest version includes some neat features to see where on a map you're connecting to a server for any process.

    People also like the tools here: https://objective-see.com/products/oversight.html. I haven't decided which tools I should use on a regular basis though.
    Nathan Parker

    Visit my blog at http://weathertogether.net

  6. #5
    Administrator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan Parker View Post
    By the way, in terms of overall Mac security, here's my current recommendations:

    macOS includes out-of-the-box GateKeeper enabled (the Allow Apps Downloaded from option in System Preferences, Security, General). I recommend "App Store and indentified developers". Enabling FileVault (also under System Preferences, Security) is a good option for full-disk encryption (think BitLocker in Windows). I also recommend enabling the built-in macOS Firewall (also under System Preferences, Security). Setting a Firmware Password is a good security measure as well (as you learned firsthand!).

    In terms of malware protection, macOS includes built-in malware protection with XProtect (it works behind the scenes and automatically updates). I also recommend keeping macOS updated and applying security updates. Apple also recommends Malwarebytes (the free edition), which I run a Malwarebytes scan once a week to ensure everything is OK. Malwarebytes for Mac does not protect against Windows malware (and doesn't have all the features of the Windows version), so I also run Webroot to protect against spreading Windows viruses and malware and for real-time protection. I tried Intego, Avast, Thirtyseven4, and Webroot, and so far, Webroot has offered good protection and fast performance. There is a version of Kaspersky anti-virus on the Mac App Store, but I haven't tried it yet.

    Another good security app that extends the firewall is Little Snitch. While the macOS firewall handles inbound connections, Little Snitch handles outbound connections. The latest version includes some neat features to see where on a map you're connecting to a server for any process.

    People also like the tools here: https://objective-see.com/products/oversight.html. I haven't decided which tools I should use on a regular basis though.
    ROFL... many, many thanks but I'm now at information saturation point. It's going to take me a while to work through...

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  8. #6
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    I know the feeling. The Mac Missing Manuals are good too, but also information overload.
    Nathan Parker

    Visit my blog at http://weathertogether.net

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    Rick Corbett (2018-05-21)

  10. #7
    Administrator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    Great tip, thank you! I had a look at macOS High Sierra: The Missing Manual on Amazon and used Look Inside to read some of the content. I learned several useful nuggests of info already and I'm toying with the idea of ordering it.
    Last edited by Rick Corbett; 2018-05-21 at 15:37.

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    Nathan Parker (2018-05-21)

  12. #8
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    They're good manuals, albeit information overload. The ones from Robin Williams (that's a female whose been a longtime Mac user) are also good if you want something more basic to start learning then graduate into more.
    Nathan Parker

    Visit my blog at http://weathertogether.net

  13. #9
    Administrator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    It doesn't look like Robin Williams has written anything recently. However, I've just bought macOS High Sierra: The Missing Manual from the iBooks Store. Thanks again for the tip.

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