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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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RavingMac

 
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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.

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

 
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This is great information for newbies and very clearly laid out. I could have used this chart a couple months ago. Thanks!

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Razormac...you must have had some spare time today!!! Great job...I especially like the photos of all the OS install disks!

- Nick

p.s. The tough part is getting folks asking the questions to read these threads first! But certainly a GREAT thread to direct folks to.

- Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
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Well done. A fine post highlighting the differences between machine specific and retail discs.

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Thanks! I appreciate the comments.

And, yes, Nick. I did have some free time on my hands.

I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .
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And it's not "pinned" yet, because... ?
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+1 rep and it is a must to be pinned!

Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harryb2448 View Post
+1 rep and it is a must to be pinned!
!00% agreement there.

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Somebody pin this incredibly useful thread!!
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Great job. Your post should avoid a lot of head scratching. Keep up the good work.
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thankyou!thankyou!!thankYOU!!!
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Funny I missed this thread! VERY good job Razor! Very helpful.
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cheers, razormac...
i'll give it a whirl. Apple say the no longer stock the leopard 10.5 and said to get it from a third party stokist any idea where i can purchase it cheaply...as its still expensive on amazon?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quimley38 View Post
cheers, razormac...
i'll give it a whirl. Apple say the no longer stock the leopard 10.5 and said to get it from a third party stokist any idea where i can purchase it cheaply...as its still expensive on amazon?
Unfortunately it isn't cheap anywhere. eBay may be your cheapest unless you get lucky and you'll probably have to pay around $100 USD for a retail disk

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

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