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MysticCow

macrumors 68000
Original poster
May 27, 2013
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macOS

High Sierra (10.13) can be downloaded directly from the Mac App Store.

To create an installer USB and you're in High Sierra or later, go to Terminal and type:

sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ High\ Sierra.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/MyVolume

You can either rename your USB stick MyVolume to save some trouble or substitute the name of your volume for MyVolume.

For earlier versions of the macOS, here is the command you need (10.12 Sierra or lower):

sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ High\ Sierra.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/MyVolume --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ macOS\ High\ Sierra.app

These commands will erase your USB stick and create a macOS High Sierra installer. Due to invoking sudo, you will need your admin password.

Some are simply not available any more from the Mac App Store. They will be listed below with links. MODS--If this is not legal within the MR forum rules, please chime in and edit this post.

Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger
Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard
Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard (this is just a Google search to purchase)
Mac OS X 10.7 Lion (must be purchased)
OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion (must be purchased)
OS X 10.9 Mavericks
OS X 10.10 Yosemite (This is a direct link to a .dmg from Apple)
OS X 10.11 El Capitan (This is a direct link to a .dmg from Apple)
macOS 10.12 Sierra (This is a direct link to a .dmg from Apple)

NOTE: Internet Recovery cannot be done on the early Intels.

See this thread for more info on running unsupported versions of macOS.

Linux

If you feel instead you want to go down the Linux Road...

Arch
Arch for 32 bit systems
Debian
Debian for 32 bit systems
Fedora
Ubuntu
Lubuntu (Very low system requirements)
Most other i386/x86_64 distros (check DistroWatch and Distrochooser for more recommendations)

Berkeley Software Distributions

FreeBSD
NetBSD
OpenBSD

Windows

Early Intel Macs will officially support versions of Windows from Windows XP to Windows 7. They tend to not officially support 8 or 10.

About unofficial Windows 8/10 without BootCamp's Dual-Boot support:
(the easiest way to have a macOS/Windows DualBoot-machine is to install macOS and Windows 8/10 onto two separate harddrives)
First get Boot Camp 4 and Boot Camp 5 drivers from Apples support pages in order to install specific drivers after the Windows installation. (Note: The one-click BootCamp-setup-routine (= setup.exe in the main folder) is not reliable for all early intels, so better take the steps mentioned below - especially the SnowLeopard-BootCamp3 option!)
Procedure for a single-boot Windows-drive:
- boot and install Windows 8 from the installation-DVD.
- Partition and re-format the whole drive (MBR/MasterBootRecord; NTFS) / delete all existing partitions left over from GUI/HFS+ partitioning, otherwise Windows won't install.
- Install Windows onto the erased hard drive.
- Start Windows, go to the Windows "Device-Manager" to install/update drivers manually by using the BootCamp4-folder/subfolders as a source for drivers (Note: There's BootCamp3 on SL-DVD and BootCamp4&5 for download at the Apple support pages. BootCamp3 is the version, that should be run first, since it matches the then available hard- and software...)
For the BootCamp-SystemTray-AddOn go directly to the .../drivers/Apple/BootCamp(64).msi (Important: for 2008/2009 machines better try BootCamp3, located on the SnowLeopard-DVD. Copy the DVD's BootCamp-folder to your hard drive, change BootCamp(64).msi to compatibility mode for "earlier Windows-versions" and run it with admin-privileges. BootCamp4 might also work for the Books, but not for the iMacs).
Disable automatic driver-update to prevent Windows 8/10 from overwriting the driver of the graphic-card (that's most important for the "Late Early intel" early-2010 i3 21,5" iMac and similar - the Core2Duo in this respect are quite sturdy)
Windows 7/8 (as the starting point to upgrade to Win10): install flawless from DVD.
Windows 10 Upgrade: the free upgrade from Win 7/8 to Windows 10 is still working.
After Windows 10 installation/upgrade is complete check again the Windows "Device Manager" to upgrade drivers (source is either BootCamp4 or BootCamp5 folder). Don't allow automatic driver-update.
After the Win10 Upgrade is complete don't forget to save "Product Key" and "Digital Licence" (Read out and save with "ShowKeyPlus" from MS Store). Combine & save Key and Licence with your MS-account (!!!) to keep the licence active even after major changes in hardware, e.g. moving the drive into another Mac.

For earlier versions of Windows,use a Virtual Machine (e. g. VirtualBox or VMware). Speed is pretty fast and ressources are low.
 
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retta283

Suspended
Jun 8, 2018
3,180
3,478
Mavericks is impossible to get from Apple now. I have contacted support numerous times attempting to redeem it but they no longer do so.

I did find this though: https://archive.org/details/install-os-x-mavericks.app This would seem to be 100% official, I assume I can post this here because Mavericks was free to begin with. This can also be used successfully with the NetPostFacto method to install Mavericks with GPU acceleration on 2006 Macs with ATI GPUs.
 

Project Alice

macrumors 68020
Jul 13, 2008
2,014
2,081
Post Falls, ID
Just wanted to add a couple things about Windows
Windows 10 will basically install without hassle on all Intel Macs. The ones without T1/T2 chips are more or less just PCs. Windows uses a BIOS emulator when running on early Intel Macs, which effectively makes it so we don't have to fiddle with sub-par mess that is EFI.
Apparently some people have issues with the 32bit EFI models, but I only have a couple of those and I haven't really played with them much. I do know it is very possible to run Windows 10 on them. Even Core Duo and Core Solo Macs.


Also, people should know that bootcamp software is highly unnecessary. I personally don't recommend it. Just pop in the install DVD and install like a PC. Drivers are available from the actual device manufacturers, such as Intel or ATI.
Boot camp can be installed for the control panel, and any specialized hardware like some of the trackpads. But most will just work.
 

AL1630

macrumors 6502
Apr 24, 2016
482
576
Idaho, USA
You have to be careful with boot camp, especially on technically unsupported computers - one time I ran an update and it bricked my windows 7 install. I think the best way to use it is open up the installer file and extract only the packages you need, don't bother with the rest.
 
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Wowfunhappy

macrumors 68000
Mar 12, 2019
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Mavericks is impossible to get from Apple now. I have contacted support numerous times attempting to redeem it but they no longer do so.

Please feel free to PM me (or email me) if you need a Mavericks installer. I created an image a while ago that isn't tied to an Apple ID, by running createinstallmedia and setting the target to a virtual disk instead of a real one. I've sent it to a lot of people on here at this point.

Of course, if there's now a copy in the Internet Archive which works, even better—but I'm frankly a little confused as to why it wouldn't be tied to an Apple ID.
 
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Wowfunhappy

macrumors 68000
Mar 12, 2019
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That may be the case with newer OS's, but I have personally experienced Mountain Lion and Mavericks ask for an Apple ID when installing.

It may be because the upgrades were previously paid—Mountain Lion cost $20. Mavericks was free, but since it was the first free one, maybe Apple hadn't made the switch yet.
 

rampancy

macrumors 6502a
Jul 22, 2002
648
866
I've also stumbled on a site that hosts downloads for the installers for OS X from OS 9 through to 10.15; it may not be relevent for recent versions of OS X but it may be helpful for people who need 10.6 or 10.7 to do a reinstall on an old Intel Mac.

Also, Matt Gadient hosts a how-to on how to get modern Linux running on Intel Macs that have a 32-bit EFI, and hosts downloads of Linux ISOs modified to install and run on those Macs too.
 

reukiodo

macrumors 6502
Nov 22, 2013
412
216
Earth
However, Windows 10 runs quite well even on the oldest Core Solo Macs. It may be cumbersome to initially get it installed and get the correct drivers from Apple installed, but it opens the door to much more modern software, since both Apple and now Linux seem to have left 32bit behind.
 

Applicator

macrumors regular
Jan 20, 2021
118
252
Germany
I've tried out elementary OS 5.1 on my first gen MacBook Air today. It looked quite promising because of the familiar looking GUI, but in todays state its not worth it. First install process failed, second went fine and everything seemed to work out of the box, but the fans were spinnig faster than unter 10.7 and after installing all the updates, OS 5.1 refused to boot. Next up: Pop! OS
 
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Amethyst1

macrumors G3
Oct 28, 2015
9,247
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Anything before the 2011 Mac mini. So, anything with Core Solo, Duo, or 2 Duo.
The 2010 iMacs and 15"/17" MBPs have I-series (Nehalem) CPUs though. So they're in a bit of a weird spot in terms of that rule.
 
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Wowfunhappy

macrumors 68000
Mar 12, 2019
1,553
1,960
I've tried out elementary OS 5.1 on my first gen MacBook Air today. It looked quite promising because of the familiar looking GUI, but in todays state its not worth it. First install process failed, second went fine and everything seemed to work out of the box, but the fans were spinnig faster than unter 10.7 and after installing all the updates, OS 5.1 refused to boot. Next up: Pop! OS
Yeah, I've tried out Elementary OS a few times over the years. I want to like it, because they clearly have an eye for design and UX, and an attention for detail—but the performance is lacking, IMO. (Although, I've never had install issues.)

When I have to use Linux (and I prefer not to), I usually end up using Debian stable with stock Gnome.
 

Applicator

macrumors regular
Jan 20, 2021
118
252
Germany
@Wowfunhappy Well, the UX und GUI could't convince me either. I know: GUI depends on personal taste, imo it looks like a cheaped out OS X 10.5 skin. And regarding the UX: I often felt like they missed on the last mile. Like, how can there be an AppCenter without an office suite? Well, never mind. I didn't intend to start a new Thread.
 

otetzone

macrumors regular
Jul 12, 2019
157
16
That may be the case with newer OS's, but I have personally experienced Mountain Lion and Mavericks ask for an Apple ID when installing.

It may be because the upgrades were previously paid—Mountain Lion cost $20. Mavericks was free, but since it was the first free one, maybe Apple hadn't made the switch yet.
I had it as an option. Meaning, I could login to Apple ID "later". I have to add that I was making a clean install with internet turned off. I might have stuck with ML but for some reason I couldn't login to iMessage and FaceTime while I had no problem doing so in Mavericks. Go figure..
 

Jack Neill

macrumors 68020
Sep 13, 2015
2,264
2,291
San Antonio Texas
I've also stumbled on a site that hosts downloads for the installers for OS X from OS 9 through to 10.15; it may not be relevent for recent versions of OS X but it may be helpful for people who need 10.6 or 10.7 to do a reinstall on an old Intel Mac.

Also, Matt Gadient hosts a how-to on how to get modern Linux running on Intel Macs that have a 32-bit EFI, and hosts downloads of Linux ISOs modified to install and run on those Macs too.
Thanks for that site, it has a Intel Tiger Restore DVD I had been looking for awhile back.
 
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bobesch

macrumors 68020
Oct 21, 2015
2,121
2,188
Kiel, Germany
I've added additional Windows 8/10 information to the first posting:
so far I've installed Windows 10 through the (still working) Windows10Upgrade from either Windows7 or Windows8 onto three c2duo Early Intel Macs and onto two "late" Early i3/i7 preRetina Macs (21,5" iMac and 15"MBP).
(This happend because I'm urged to upgrade my office-network from a Windows2008 Terminal-Client-Server with attached 5 Macs for RDP-Sessions to a simple Windows10Pro machine, meant as a files server with then attached 5 Windows10Pro clients, because my office-software will stop to support Win2008Server and Win7).
Installation of Win7 or Win8 and Upgrade to Win10 has been somehow tricky and time consuming on the way to find out how to make progress, but it was finally successfull:
1.Install Win7/8. 2.Upgrade Win10. 3. Run Driver Update BootCamp4/5 manually. (I have been successful to install the BootCamp-SystemTray-Icon on a c2duo 15" MBP, but not on two early-2009 24" iMac and a 21,5" mid-2010 i3 iMac.)
Since I failed to find out how to install macOS an Windows onto a single drive for a DualBoot-option, like BootCamp does offer, I finally let go of macOS on those Macs (which is still an option after installing an additional drive).
It's important to disable the automatic-driver-installation within Windows-Update. I had much trouble with the 21.5 mid-2010 iMac, because during my initial attemps the automatic Driver-update for the graphic-card-driver did always stopped the iMac from working.

Update 2021-02-28:
- BootCamp3 (from SnowLeopard-DVD) to install BootCamp-SystemSettings onto 2009-iMacs.
- StoreKey-App to get information about Digital Licence and Licence Code
- info about importance of storing/registering Digital Licence and Product-Key with your MS-account in order to keep licence active after major hardware-changes.
 
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MysticCow

macrumors 68000
Original poster
May 27, 2013
1,558
1,735
I need a hair of help. Which Ubuntu variant (Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Lubuntu, etc) would work the best for the hubs' 2009 white MacBook? RAM is maxed out (8 GB).
 
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