Leopard to Snow Leopard without an optical drive

Discussion in 'macOS' started by uncleMonty, Feb 27, 2013.

  1. uncleMonty macrumors regular

    Jun 8, 2012
    Hi, it's time I updated to Snow Leopard on my late 2009 MacBook Pro 17", before Apple stops shipping the 10.6 CDs. But the CD won't actually help me, because the optical drive is borked on my MBP, and the lovely shiny external superdrive that Apple sold me is deliberately crippled on hardware that is supposed to have an original optical drive, hence it won't work on my MBP.

    So how do I get the SL update on there? I also have a Mac mini running Mountain Lion and that machine will talk to the superdrive.
  2. Sky Blue Guest

    Sky Blue

    Jan 8, 2005
    Either user the remote disk from the mini, make a .dmg on the mini or put the MBP in target disk mode and install it from the mini if you have a FW cable.
  3. blueroom macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
  4. gr8tfly macrumors 603


    Oct 29, 2006
    ~119W 34N
    Use Disk Utility to Restore from the CD to a flash drive partition (>7 GB, iirc). The drive must be partitioned using the GUID map type (Options… on the Partition tab), and formatted as Mac OS Extended (journaled).

    You might need to create a DMG image of the CD first, then use that to restore. I just did it the other day, and can't remember… (Memory is the 2nd thing to go - I can't remember what the first is, though.)

    After restoring to the flash drive partition, you should have a bootable volume you can use on your 17". (Startup up with "Opt" key to select.)

    Btw - the 17" will run Mt. Lion just fine. I was running it on my Early 2009 2.66 up until last week (upgraded to maxed out 15" Retina - yay!). Unless you need to run PPC apps, that is...
  5. uncleMonty thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 8, 2012
    Thanks for the details gr8fly. I just want to make sure I get this right - can you bear with me and confirm that I've got all the steps right:

    I back up everything on my MBP by cloning it to an external HD

    I format and partition a flash drive the way you described.

    Then I put the Snow Leopard CD in my superdrive connected to my Mac mini.

    On the Mac mini using Disk Utility I create a disk image of the SL CD on a partition of the flash drive.

    I connect the flash drive to the MBP and boot up while holding the option key.

    I guess next my MBP, working from the dmg on the flash drive, will ask me whether I want to do a fresh install on top of Leopard, or an upgrade from Leopard? And if I do the upgrade, my data and apps will all remain in place and hopefully just work, and I won't need the clone I made earlier.

    As for upgrading all the way to ML - I think I want to hold onto the Leopard/Snow Leopard paradigm as long as I can. I've also heard ML gobbles up a lot of RAM. And the added cognitive load of things being slightly different on the two OSs will keep my mind nimble, I think :)

Share This Page