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Mac OS X can't be installed on this computer - Mid 09 Mac mini

Rafael Daniel

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 3, 2020
5
2
There may be a thread on this but I haven't found it yet or found a solution to the issue. I guess I can start off with the specs of the machine;

-Mac mini A1283 Mid 09
-MacMini3,1
-Intel 2.26 Core 2 duo, 4GB RAM

I purchased the item from someone on eBay that said it had Snow leopard on it. I sat on it for awhile because I was going to use it to load Pro Tools 9 and I was waiting on an audio interface to arrive. By the time I got all of the other items I needed and booted the computer I saw that it was El Capitan and I was outside of the return window. So, I bought a 10.6.1 (gray) install disc and tried to use it to reload Snow Leopard. Of course that didn't work because El Capitan wouldn't allow it. So, I erased and formatted the hard drive (MacOS Journaled/ GUID) thinking that since this model originally had Snop Leopard on it that I could just completely wipe it and reload the OS X. Well, then I rebooted and tried to load Snow Leopard, I got the "Mac OS X can't be installed on this computer error and am yet to get past it. Things I have tried are;

-used terminal to change the date in an attempt to trick the system into thinking that the install disc was correct. This did absolutely nothing.

-tried to do a network install using all of the key commands to either get the newest OS, the highest OS that it can support or the original OS that came with the build. Apparently this model doesn't support network installs. This again did absolutely nothing.

-made an install USB from a Snow Leopard download. When I option restarted, it failed to recognize the drive. This again did absolutely nothing.

-made a bootable external drive from a Snow Leopard download image. When I option restarted, it failed to recognize the external drive. Again, nothing.

-I opened up the unit and switched out the original, wiped HDD for a HDD that I cloned a copy of Catalina from my MBP and restarted. It didn't recognize the drive. Again, nothing.

-I made an image of the gray installation disc on my MBP and tried to go in and change the list of computers that weren't supported (per a Youtube video), in an attempt to burn another copy to disc that I could use for the install. the image was created, but the tutorial was from 2013 and I guess due to running Catalina, the options that had to be chosen were no longer available.....NOTHING!

The good thing is that I haven't sunk a ton of money into this build, but I have sunk some time into this troubleshooting. Can anyone out there please give me some pointers on if I am not creating the bootable drives correctly, or not creating the install USB correctly, or if the gray disc just won't work, or if there are some steps that I have missed. At this point, I either boot from the disc and get the message or I turn it on and it goes to the gray flashing folder with the question mark...PLEASE HELP!
 

barbu

macrumors 6502a
Jul 8, 2013
791
826
wpg.mb.ca
The grey disc, what does it say on it? Unless it’s for your exact machine, it probably won’t ever work.
The retail Snow Leopard disc has art on it. That’s the one you wanted.
 

EmlynDewar

macrumors regular
Aug 17, 2011
139
69
Chengdu, China
For your installer media created from the Snow Leopard download, is it set as GUID partition?
I wouldn't bother with the physical DVD you have, it's probably not for your system.
 

avz

macrumors 65816
Oct 7, 2018
1,169
1,310
Your machine was sold with Leopard, so that's the one you want.
 

Rafael Daniel

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 3, 2020
5
2
The grey disc, what does it say on it? Unless it’s for your exact machine, it probably won’t ever work.
The retail Snow Leopard disc has art on it. That’s the one you wanted.
It says "Mac OS X Install DVD," "Mac OS version 10.6.1."
[automerge]1586088241[/automerge]
For your installer media created from the Snow Leopard download, is it set as GUID partition?
I wouldn't bother with the physical DVD you have, it's probably not for your system.
Yes, it is setup as GUID partition.
 

CooperBox

macrumors 65816
Nov 28, 2010
1,356
1,378
France - between Ricard & Absinthe
Your machine was sold with Leopard, so that's the one you want.
This reply is somewhat ambiguous and may be confusing to the OP or other newbies.
Leopard 10.5 is not necessarily the one required, as there were two 2009 MacMini3.1 models, and it appears that the early one was sold with Leopard, and the later 2009 with Snow Leopard. Indeed the OP has stated he wishes to install Snow Leopard 10.6 which is possible on either mid or late 2009 models.
From memory, both Leopard and Snow Leopard retail disks are black with a large 'X'. The grey disks are model specific and normally shipped with a new Mac. There are ways to use a grey disk as a 'retail' disk, and there's an interesting video from The 8-bit Guy that details the procedure.
 

Rafael Daniel

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 3, 2020
5
2
This reply is somewhat ambiguous and may be confusing to the OP or other newbies.
Leopard 10.5 is not necessarily the one required, as there were two 2009 MacMini3.1 models, and it appears that the early one was sold with Leopard, and the later 2009 with Snow Leopard. Indeed the OP has stated he wishes to install Snow Leopard 10.6 which is possible on either mid or late 2009 models.
From memory, both Leopard and Snow Leopard retail disks are black with a large 'X'. The grey disks are model specific and normally shipped with a new Mac. There are ways to use a grey disk as a 'retail' disk, and there's an interesting video from The 8-bit Guy that details the procedure.
I believe that the copy of snow leopard that I need is white with the picture of the snow leopard on it. I agree that the Leopard disc was black with the X. I tried the method that the 8-bit guy used but when I made the cloned copy of the retail OS X gray disc, I went in to modify the files that he stated but wasn't able to find them. His video was from like 2013 and the interface (when you click to view the contents of the disc) are different on my Catalina MBP. As such, I went through everything and wasn't able to find any of the folders that held the information that would block this disc so that I could remove the "MacMini3,1" from the text edit.
 

barbu

macrumors 6502a
Jul 8, 2013
791
826
wpg.mb.ca
I believe that the copy of snow leopard that I need is white with the picture of the snow leopard on it.

this is correct and what I was trying to say. The universal retail version of the 10.6 disc has the big cat printed on it. I have one around here somewhere. PM me if you can’t find a copy anywhere.
 

avz

macrumors 65816
Oct 7, 2018
1,169
1,310
This reply is somewhat ambiguous and may be confusing to the OP or other newbies.
Leopard 10.5 is not necessarily the one required, as there were two 2009 MacMini3.1 models, and it appears that the early one was sold with Leopard, and the later 2009 with Snow Leopard. Indeed the OP has stated he wishes to install Snow Leopard 10.6 which is possible on either mid or late 2009 models.
From memory, both Leopard and Snow Leopard retail disks are black with a large 'X'. The grey disks are model specific and normally shipped with a new Mac. There are ways to use a grey disk as a 'retail' disk, and there's an interesting video from The 8-bit Guy that details the procedure.

You got me here as I was just guessing. This is why I usually like to open with "I'm not an expert".
 
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Rafael Daniel

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 3, 2020
5
2
***RESOLVED***
So I got a copy of the white Snow Leopard disc yesterday and the installation went through smoothly. Got the Mac Mini up and running and my Pro Tools is working just fine.
 

stinkhorn9

macrumors member
Mar 29, 2020
51
23
Hi - I wouldn’t have been able to help any, but just wanted to say props to you for running pro tools 9 on a 2009 snow leopard Mac mini 😀 I certainly am!
 

Rafael Daniel

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 3, 2020
5
2
Hi - I wouldn’t have been able to help any, but just wanted to say props to you for running pro tools 9 on a 2009 snow leopard Mac mini 😀 I certainly am!
I used to own a recording studio and my 2009 Mac mini I was using to run the studio crashed back then. Because we had clients I went out and bought the updated Mac mini. When I did my pro tools wouldn’t work so I had to upgrade from PT 8 to PT 9. Once I did that my wages plugin package didn’t work, so I just broke down and had the old Mac mini replaced and somehow kept PT 9 and got it to work
 

BrianBaughn

macrumors 604
Feb 13, 2011
7,098
1,200
Baltimore, Maryland
It's either an "Early 2009" or a "Late 2009" Mini. The former came with Leopard and the latter came with Snow Leopard.

You might want to put El Capitan on a partition if you think you'll need to access anything on the internet.
 
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