How to Perform an Archive and Install
An Archive and Install will NOT erase your hard drive, but you must have sufficient free space for a second OS X installation which could be from 3-9 GBs depending upon the version of OS X and selected installation options. The free space requirement is over and above normal free space requirements which should be at least 6-10 GBs. Read all the linked references carefully before proceeding.
1. Be sure to use Disk Utility first to repair the disk before performing the Archive and Install.
Repairing the Hard Drive and Permissions
Boot from your OS X Installer disc. After the installer loads select your language and click on the Continue button. When the menu bar appears select Disk Utility from the Installer menu (Utilities menu for Tiger, Leopard or Snow Leopard.) After DU loads select your hard drive entry (mfgr.'s ID and drive size) from the the left side list. In the DU status area you will see an entry for the S.M.A.R.T. status of the hard drive. If it does not say "Verified" then the hard drive is failing or failed. (SMART status is not reported on external Firewire or USB drives.) If the drive is "Verified" then select your OS X volume from the list on the left (sub-entry below the drive entry,) click on the First Aid tab, then click on the Repair Disk button. If DU reports any errors that have been fixed, then re-run Repair Disk until no errors are reported. If no errors are reported click on the Repair Permissions button. Wait until the operation completes, then quit DU and return to the installer. Now restart normally.
If DU reports errors it cannot fix, then you will need Disk Warrior and/or Tech Tool Pro to repair the drive. If you don't have either of them or if neither of them can fix the drive, then you will need to reformat the drive and reinstall OS X.
2. Do not proceed with an Archive and Install if DU reports errors it cannot fix. In that case use Disk Warrior and/or TechTool Pro to repair the hard drive. If neither can repair the drive, then you will have to erase the drive and reinstall from scratch.
3. Boot from your OS X Installer disc. After the installer loads select your language and click on the Continue button. When you reach the screen to select a destination drive click once on the destination drive then click on the Option button. Select the Archive and Install option. You have an option to preserve users and network preferences. Only select this option if you are sure you have no corrupted files in your user accounts. Otherwise leave this option unchecked. Click on the OK button and continue with the OS X Installation.
4. Upon completion of the Archive and Install you will have a Previous System Folder in the root directory. You should retain the PSF until you are sure you do not need to manually transfer any items from the PSF to your newly installed system.
5. After moving any items you want to keep from the PSF you should delete it. You can back it up if you prefer, but you must delete it from the hard drive.
6. You can now download a Combo Updater directly from Apple's download site to update your new system to the desired version as well as install any security or other updates. You can also do this using Software Update.
If yours is an Intel model, then I recommend getting Snow Leopard to upgrade OS X, but I would recommend first erasing the drive before installing Snow Leopard.
Upgrade Paths to Snow Leopard, Lion, and/or Mountain Lion
You can upgrade to Mountain Lion from Lion or directly from Snow Leopard. Mountain Lion can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for $19.99. To access the App Store you must have Snow Leopard 10.6.6 or later installed.
Upgrading to Snow Leopard
You can purchase Snow Leopard through the Apple Store: Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard - Apple Store (U.S.). The price is $19.99 plus tax. You will be sent physical media by mail after placing your order.
After you install Snow Leopard you will have to download and install the Mac OS X 10.6.8 Update Combo v1.1 to update Snow Leopard to 10.6.8 and give you access to the App Store. Access to the App Store enables you to download Mountain Lion if your computer meets the requirements.
Snow Leopard General Requirements
1. Mac computer with an Intel processor
2. 1GB of memory
3. 5GB of available disk space
4. DVD drive for installation
5. Some features require a compatible Internet service provider;
fees may apply.
6. Some features require Apple’s iCloud services; fees and
Upgrading to Lion
If your computer does not meet the requirements to install Mountain Lion, it may still meet the requirements to install Lion.
You can purchase Lion by contacting Customer Service: Contacting Apple for support and service - this includes international calling numbers. The cost is $19.99 (as it was before) plus tax. It's a download. You will get an email containing a redemption code that you then use at the Mac App Store to download Lion. Save a copy of that installer to your Downloads folder because the installer deletes itself at the end of the installation.
Lion System Requirements
1. Mac computer with an Intel Core 2 Duo, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7,
or Xeon processor
2. 2GB of memory
3. OS X v10.6.6 or later (v10.6.8 recommended)
4. 7GB of available space
5. Some features require an Apple ID; terms apply.
Upgrading to Mountain Lion
To upgrade to Mountain Lion you must have Snow Leopard 10.6.8 or Lion installed. Purchase and download Mountain Lion from the App Store. Sign in using your Apple ID. Mountain Lion is $19.99 plus tax. The file is quite large, over 4 GBs, so allow some time to download. It would be preferable to use Ethernet because it is nearly four times faster than wireless.
Macs that can be upgraded to OS X Mountain Lion
1. iMac (Mid 2007 or newer) - Model Identifier 7,1 or later
2. MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum, or Early 2009 or newer) - Model Identifier 5,1 or later
3. MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer) - Model Identifier 3,1 or later
4. MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer) - Model Identifier 2,1 or later
5. Mac mini (Early 2009 or newer) - Model Identifier 3,1 or later
6. Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer) - Model Identifier 3,1 or later
7. Xserve (Early 2009) - Model Identifier 3,1 or later
To find the model identifier open System Profiler in the Utilities folder. It's displayed in the panel on the right.
Are my applications compatible?
For a complete How-To introduction from Apple see Upgrade to OS X Mountain Lion.
Thank you for your quick responce and willingness to help. I tried booting from the OS install disk initially and it woudn't budge. I think the disk is still inside the machine and I can't even get it out (won't spit it back out). I don't really know to proceed with a problem like that. The old Macs you coud use a paperclip and get the disk to spit out. . Your solution would work if I could get it to recognize the disk. So strange.
Five ways to eject a stuck CD or DVD from the optical drive
Ejecting the stuck disc can usually be done in one of the following ways:
1. Restart the computer and after the chime press and hold down the
left mouse button until the disc ejects.
2. Press the Eject button on your keyboard.
3. Click on the Eject button in the menubar.
4. Press COMMAND-E.
5. If none of the above work try this: Open the Terminal application in
your Utilities folder. At the prompt enter or paste the following:
If this fails then try this:
Boot the computer into Single-user Mode. At the prompt enter the same command as used above. To restart the computer enter "reboot" at the prompt without quotes.
If you cannot boot from the installer DVD then it may need to be carefully cleaned or you may have a defective optical drive.