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Old Jun 18, 2009, 04:20 PM   #1
AGSHender
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Difference between retail and OEM OS X discs?

I'm going to wipe my old MacBook and install 10.5 fresh on it to give to my girlfriend (since I just replaced it with a MacBook Pro), and I was wondering if there's a difference between the OEM disc of OS X that came with my MacBook Pro and the retail copy I could buy at the Apple Store. Can the disc be used on another Mac or is it somehow tied to my original system? I know I've had trouble using OEM copies of Windows on other systems in the past.

Keep in mind that I'm not committing piracy here--I've already ordered a Mac Box Set family pack, but I'd just like to do the work this weekend and my copy won't arrive until next week.
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Old Jun 18, 2009, 04:25 PM   #2
TwinCities Dan
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The retail will work on any recent mac, the OEM is tied to the computer model it came with.
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Old Jun 18, 2009, 04:31 PM   #3
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There is no such thing as an OEM MacOS X disc. What you are talking about is the System Restore disc. It is designed to returned a specific model Macintosh to its as-shipped state. It will restore one specific model Mac and no other. These discs are colored gray.

A retail MacOS X disc can be used to install the OS on most Macs that shipped with an earlier version of the OS. These discs are dominated by black.

The takeaway message has two points:
  • If you buy the System Restore disc for a 2009 MacPro with the intent of installing its OS on a 2008 iMac, then you are SOL. You have a new coaster.
  • If you want to use a 2008 version of MacOS 10.5 to reinstall the OS on your 2009 MacBook Pro, then again you are SOL.
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Old Jun 18, 2009, 04:36 PM   #4
TwinCities Dan
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If you want to use a 2008 version of MacOS 10.5 to reinstall the OS on your 2009 MacBook Pro, then again you are SOL.
Really!?! So my retail version of leopard DVD won't work on any of the newer 09 models? I had no idea, I thought the retail would work on any recent mac.
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Old Jun 18, 2009, 05:39 PM   #5
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Really!?! So my retail version of leopard DVD won't work on any of the newer 09 models? I had no idea, I thought the retail would work on any recent mac.
This is surprising. It is well known and has been so stated on this forum many times: You cannot install a version of MacOS X on a computer that shipped with a newer version.
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Old Jun 18, 2009, 05:59 PM   #6
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Really!?! So my retail version of leopard DVD won't work on any of the newer 09 models? I had no idea, I thought the retail would work on any recent mac.
Maybe the newer '09 models need something in firmware that's not yet on the retail disk? Code for the newer mobo?
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Old Jun 18, 2009, 06:39 PM   #7
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Maybe the newer '09 models need something in firmware that's not yet on the retail disk? Code for the newer mobo?
Newer OS drivers, not firmware.
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Old Jun 18, 2009, 06:40 PM   #8
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Maybe the newer '09 models need something in firmware that's not yet on the retail disk? Code for the newer mobo?
It is not firmware (since that is by definition included in the new hardware) but rather the old OS disks do not have the drivers to drive the newer hardware since they were produced before the disks were produced.
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Old Jun 18, 2009, 08:23 PM   #9
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Thanks for the answers, everyone. Looks like I'll just have to wait until next week when the discs arrive to get my old MacBook up and running with Leopard.
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Old Jun 18, 2009, 11:11 PM   #10
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This is surprising. It is well known and has been so stated on this forum many times: You cannot install a version of MacOS X on a computer that shipped with a newer version.
Sorry.
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