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OS X - Operating System General OS operation information and support

"What OS Disk Do I Need?" A Brief Overview


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pendlewitch

 
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Just came across this and thought I'd drop you a line to say excellent info.

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thetinman101

 
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What a great chart. You saved me from asking the dumb (asked and answered 1,000,000,000 times already) question. I just bought a used Mac Mini G5 and was wondering what the newest version I could run would be. Thank you for your time.
okie1211

 
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thanks for this posting, was just looking for this very information due to purchasing an old IMac G5
baljitkarwal

 
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Thanks for this info..I am new to mac and now trying to start work on iphone apps..So I was looking why I am unable to get editors from apple site for my mac..and was looking for under which category my mac comes..finally got it..version-10.5.8 comes under leopard..thanks again for info..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Razormac View Post
We get an enormous number of posts asking these, or similar questions:

1) I lost or never received the OS Disks for my Mac and now I need to reinstall the OS. What OS can I use?

2) I want to upgrade my Mac, what is the latest OS version I can run?

3) My Mac came with OS X 10.2, how can I upgrade to 10.7 Lion?

4) I just bought a new Mac. Can I use the OS Disk to upgrade my old Mac?

Rather than attempt to directly answer these and all the different variations of the above we see, I want to provide some basic background on the subject.

OS X Release History and Requirements Table


The important things to note from this table are:
1) Tiger is the FIRST OS version to support Intel CPUs
2) Leopard is the LAST OS version to support PowerPC CPUs (G3. G4 & G5)
3) Only Snow Leopard and Lion are currently available for new retail purchase (as of this original posting date 1/1/2012)
4) Lion (OS X 10.7) is ONLY available on USB FlashDrive or as an Electronic Download through the Mac APP Store. Note: the Mac APP Store requires Snow Leopard OS X 10.6.8 as a minimum


RETAIL vs MACHINE SPECIFIC OS DISKS

These are Machine Specific Disks




These are Retail Disks


As the name implies, Machine Specific Disks (the gray to silver gray disks) will only install and run on the Mac model they originally shipped with.

Retail Disks, on the other hand, will install and run on any Mac that meets the minimum system requirements.

PLEASE DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME AND MONEY BUYING MACHINE SPECIFIC OS DISKS ON eBAY!
They will almost certainly not work (unless you get extremely lucky).

As you can see from the photo above, Retail Disks (and their boxes) are either Black or White, not Gray.

I may add more to this post later, if warranted. Hopefully this will help.
bringitondown

 
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Very helpful, cheers, much appreciated
cycleguy2112

 
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my girlfriend just bought a powerbook g4 and we are looking to upgrade the operating system to leopard. it is my understanding that there were two versions of leopard released. the end of the powerbook era and the beginning of the macbook era. the macbook runs on intel so those install discs won't work on a powerbook. am i correct?
technologist

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cycleguy2112 View Post
my girlfriend just bought a powerbook g4 and we are looking to upgrade the operating system to leopard. it is my understanding that there were two versions of leopard released. the end of the powerbook era and the beginning of the macbook era. the macbook runs on intel so those install discs won't work on a powerbook. am i correct?
Any boxed Leopard disc (the type sold at retail, which were black in color) will have a universal version of Leopard that would work on any Mac that supports Leopard.

The restore discs shipped with Macs (which were all gray in color) include only the software needed to support that particular Mac; none of those would work with a PowerBook.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cycleguy2112 View Post
my girlfriend just bought a powerbook g4 and we are looking to upgrade the operating system to leopard. it is my understanding that there were two versions of leopard released. the end of the powerbook era and the beginning of the macbook era. the macbook runs on intel so those install discs won't work on a powerbook. am i correct?
Not correct. There were three versions:

1. Gray disks that shipped with new computers (you don't want these).

2. An OS 10.5 "Drop-in disk"...which was "dropped in" the box of a new computer when OS 10.5 was first released (the computer in the box still had OS 10.4 installed on it).

You probably don't want this disk...since it requires a previous version of the Mac OS be installed on the HD BEFORE the OS 10.5 "drop-in disk" will work.

3. The full install retail version of OS 10.5. Black disk...no limitations...will install on any Mac computer capable of running OS 10.5. Will install fine on a blank HD (no previous OS version needs to be installed).

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gregorgr8

 
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I have a dual USB, white iBook G4. It is running 10.2.8 Can I buy an install disc for 10.2 for it? I see them on eBay, but not sure if that is ok. Can I get and use 10.3 on that machine?

Thanks in advance . . .
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregorgr8 View Post
I have a dual USB, white iBook G4. It is running 10.2.8 Can I buy an install disc for 10.2 for it? I see them on eBay, but not sure if that is ok. Can I get and use 10.3 on that machine?

Thanks in advance . . .
You can probably run Tiger (10.4) or even potentially Leopard (10.5) depending on your iBook specs, but regardless make sure you get Retail disks.

I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .
MnHotRod

 
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FYI - You can call 1-800-MY-APPLE and order Snow Leapord Retail (10.6) for $19.99 shipped. Someone on another forum mentioned this so I tried it. My MacBook Pro and iMac are 2007 models so we will likely upgrade again to Lion (10.7) but stop there. Upgrading to Lion will require another call to Apple so we can get a code in order to install the upgrade online.
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The price for Snow Leopard is $29.99 shipped not $19.99. The $19.99 price is for Mountain Lion.
Cableaddict

 
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What's missing here is the backwards compatibility of Mac hardware.

For instance, Can you run Snow Leopard on a new Mac that came with Lion or Mtn Lion? (or for those that don't know, can you run Snow Leopard on a G5?) etc...

Still, a good reference.

Does anyone know WHY apple no longer provides the OS on a DVD? It's a major PITA for a lot of people. Infuriating, actually.
wfor1pilot

 
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I recently purchase a MB Pro (2009) 2.8Ghz w/o the original (snow leopard) disks. I then up-graded (through apple store download) to Mountain Lion. My MB still shows files and folders of the previous owner (if I go to iTunes it still gives me his name as the primary d/l user). I'd like to do a complete re-install w/o his info in the notebook. Is there an easy way for me to do this w/o the original disks? Thanks, (Mac noob) -Davis
Fujitsu1522

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GameGuru View Post
This is great information for newbies and very clearly laid out. I could have used this chart a couple months ago. Thanks!
Hi there, just purchased my first ever Mac, iMac 27, and done the update to the newest available i believe, This must have been asked by everyone who purchased one, but having a disability that gives me short bursts on any computer, so sorry if its right in my face, reading this on Backup discs, i believe there is a partition possibly with a backup on, i have made the file on a pen drive for a boot disc, question, if there was a total hard drive fail, where would i get the full system backup from? would the file on pen drive send me there, there were no discs in with the box, but i know HDD can just go anytime, thanks for any replays in advance, and i really do look forward to using the forum as much as i can, and who knows one day i myself might be answering someone this very question. I love the feel so far, and know doubt purchase a book on the mac, and might get some answers there...speak soon.
Peter

Peter

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