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I want to downgrade to Snow Leopard from Lion

20229 Views 22 Replies Latest reply: Jan 27, 2014 12:37 PM by Romendacil RSS
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MadFranko Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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Nov 9, 2012 11:38 AM



Can someone please tell me how I can downgrade from OSX Lion to Snow Leopard on my brand new 27" iMac.


I spoke to Apple over a week ago on the phone and explained that I wanted to downgrade to Snow Leopard and the chap I spoke to sold me the Snow Leopard upgrade disk and not the full installion DVD, I already own the Snow Leopard upgrade disk so now I have two copies and I can't use them to downgrade.


All I get when I insert the DVD is a message saying "you can't use this version of the application Install Mac Os X with this version of Mac OS X"...


Could someone please tell me exactly what Snow Leopard disks/ DVD I need to purchase (and where) for me to install Snow Leopard on my iMac. I have seen lots of different "versions" on eBay & Amazon with vastly differing prices but how do I know which disks I need to buy as I don't want to end up purchasing a third "Upgrade only" versionof Snow Leopard.


Thank you for any help you can give me with this...

iMac (27-inch Mid 2011), Mac OS X (10.7.5)
  • Niel Level 10 Level 10 (234,855 points)
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    Nov 9, 2012 11:41 AM (in response to MadFranko)

    You need to reboot from the DVD(hold down the C or Option keys at startup) instead of trying to open the installer when the computer is booted into Lion.


    If this only produces three beeps, use a different Mac to install the OS onto an external drive and update the system to 10.6.8. Try booting the computer from that drive.


    If it still only produces three beeps, you can't without running Mac OS X Server in emulation.



  • Niel Level 10 Level 10 (234,855 points)
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    Nov 9, 2012 12:56 PM (in response to MadFranko)

    Basically, no installation disks will work; Apple never released systems beyond 10.6.3 on retail DVDs, and the machine-specific ones won't work either unless you happen to come across a set designed for that specific Mac.


    The issue in which the computer beeps three times at startup happens because the disks are too old for that Mac, not because they are upgrade disks; full install disks would do the same thing.



  • Russa Level 4 Level 4 (1,315 points)
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    Nov 9, 2012 3:04 PM (in response to MadFranko)

    You have a brand new Mac with Lion and you want to go backwards to Snow Leopard?  Don't suggest doing that since you will be behind by 2 major MacOS releases. Suggest you install Mountain Lion.


    If you do have a new iMac, then suggest you submit your request for a "free upgrade" to Mountain Lion from Apple. You have 30 days from the date of purchase to accomplish this. Otherwise, take the $19 hit and buy M/L upgrade from the App Store.

  • Russa Level 4 Level 4 (1,315 points)
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    Nov 9, 2012 3:13 PM (in response to MadFranko)

    .. upgrade to Mountain Lion !

  • Niel Level 10 Level 10 (234,855 points)
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    Nov 9, 2012 3:18 PM (in response to MadFranko)

    There are two ways. One is to find a copy of the Mac OS X 10.6.6 original install DVDs which shipped with that model of Mac, and the other is to install 10.6.3 on another Mac and update that system to 10.6.8 as described above.



  • William Lloyd Level 6 Level 6 (19,220 points)
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    Nov 9, 2012 6:53 PM (in response to MadFranko)

    Installing an OS version on a Mac older than the version it came with is not supported.  There's an Apple knowledge base article on this:



    It's no surprise you're having a difficult time.  Maybe you need to upgrade your video editing software.

  • Lanny Level 5 Level 5 (4,175 points)
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    Nov 9, 2012 7:11 PM (in response to MadFranko)

    Thanks, I'll give it a try but I beleive my Snow Leopard DVDs are only the "upgrade" versions (10.6.3) and without having either Leopard already installed it wont work as they are not the full instaltion DVDs that I require...


    All of the so-called 10.6.3 upgrade discs were/are full installer discs. Hold the C key down during a restart with SL DVD inserted. Or, after inserting the SL DVD, change the System Preferences Startup disk to the SL DVD and restart the Mac. After it boots, it's a slow boot process, open Disk Utilities and reformat the Lion partition as 1 partition. Then quit Disk Utilities and install SL. If you didn't make a backup from your previous SL partition, you'll have to reinstall all of your applications.

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