12 Replies Latest reply: Mar 13, 2013 5:24 AM by Ralph Landry1
Larry McJunkin Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)

I'm very familiar with my Mac and a retired geek...but this is a slightly convoluted reinstall question so I wanted to get a confirmation before doing.  I have a 2011 MacBook Air and when Mountain Lion released I bought it from the MAS and installed it...no problem.


Now, since I've just purchased a new iMac I want to wipe the drive on the MacBook Air and reinstall Mountain Lion and sell it.  Since the MacBook Air came with Lion, do I have to do a reinstall of Lion first using a restore (http://support.apple.com/kb/PH10763) or is there a way I can download/install Mountain Lion directly from "Purchased Apps" in the MAS?


Also, since I have that particular version of Mountain Lion installed on yet another older Mac I own (installed from this same MAS version of Mountain Lion), should I install "only" the original Lion OS on the MacBook Air before selling it?  I want to retain the license I bought in case I have to ever reinstall ML on my other Mac.  Or, by virtue of buying this new iMac that came with ML, does that give me the right to use ML on any computer I own?


Sorry for the confusing questions...I just want to make sure I'm doing the right thing.  Thanks.

iMac, OS X Mountain Lion, 2013
  • Ralph Landry1 Level 8 Level 8 (40,850 points)

    According to the Apple Mac OS X license, you have to restore the MBA to Lion.  The license for ML is tied to your AppleID and is not transferable.  The buyer would not be able to do any OS updates.

  • Larry McJunkin Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)

    Thanks, Ralph.  That's kinda what I thought...but I wasn't sure if the ML license for the new iMac covered other computers.  I know the ML version I purchased in the MAS is valid for any mac I personally own and use, so that was my confusion.  I'll just do the normal restore OS procedure and sell the MacBook Air as it was when I first bought it.  I do know I can transfer the year+ of Apple Care that's on it...I've done that before in years past when selling something with Apple Care.


    Anyway, thanks for the confirmation!

  • Ralph Landry1 Level 8 Level 8 (40,850 points)

    You're welcome, Larry.  This has caused a fair amount of confusion with users.  But you still own a MAS license for ML besides the installed copy on your new computer so if you hanother compatible machine you can freely download to that.  Or you can even download the installer with your new machine but don't let it install on the machine but on a large flash drive, at least 8 GB as a backup.  But that takes work and you can do it when you have the free time.

  • Larry McJunkin Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)

    Well...the plot thickens.  I just tried to do a restore using the guidance at "http://support.apple.com/kb/PH10763" and when I press "Reinstall OS X" it tries to reinstall Mountain Lion.  I bought the MacBook Air in Fall of 2011 and it came with Lion...so not sure why the restore is trying to reinstall Mountain Lion?  I stopped it before anything started, but it clearly was trying to reinstall Mountain Lion. 


    I also have OS X Lion as a purchased app in the MAS as I had to put it on two computers back then.  Not sure what to do now.

  • Ralph Landry1 Level 8 Level 8 (40,850 points)

    The Lion version is PH4439 of that article.  What you may need to do so the recovery hard drive keeps defaulting to ML is install Lion, a erase and install, from your purchased Lion.  Now that may be linked to your AppleID from the purchase, but this may then clear that link...restart on the recovery HD and see that it comes up Lion, then do a reinstall so it is installing from the Apple servers instead of your copy.  That is all I can think of right now.

  • Ralph Landry1 Level 8 Level 8 (40,850 points)

    Did that make sense, Larry?  Erase and install the purchased copy, the restart on Apple's server, which is what the recovery HD does and again erase and install.  Doing it twice but the first time so the RHD is now Lion, second time to clear your ID.


    See if that sounds reasonable to your logic.

  • Larry McJunkin Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)

    In the interim I called Apple Care.  I was immediately passed on to a senior tech and he told me to do the following:


    - On the MacBook Air, attach any USB storage device

    - Sent me to http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1433 to download the Lion Recovery Assistant.

    - Run the Lion Recovery Assistant and install to the USB storage device

    - Wipe the drive on the MBA and restart, holding down the Option key.

    - Select the USB storage device from the menu and it will act the same as the on board recovery partition that currently has Mountain Lion on it.


    Sounds fine...I nuked the drive (it wouldn't let me also remove the Mountain Lion recovery partition).  Then I restarted to the startup menu (with the USB drive plugged in) and the only thing it sees is still the Mountain Lion onboard recovery partition. 


    Mercifully, he gave me his personal voice mail at Apple so I just left a VM and we'll see what he recommends next.

  • Ralph Landry1 Level 8 Level 8 (40,850 points)

    In theory what the tech said should work but your MBA is not seeing the flash drive as bootable, when you restarted you were holding the Option key down all the time?  If you haven't heard back from tech support might want to try doing the restart holding the Option key again just to see if the MBA didn't understand the first time around.

  • Larry McJunkin Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)

    After my last post (last night) I tried looking at the USB 500 GB drive on my new iMac and Finder couldn't even see it.  So I thought perhaps something just went wrong with the Lion Recovery Disk Assistant installation to it.  I then installed the Lion Recovery Disk Assistant to a thumb drive and the MacBook Air couldn't see it, either.  And that thumb drive then couldn't be read by the good iMac.


    At this point I called Apple Care again and this time got a tech who knew just a bit more than the previous one.  He said the previous tech should have had me do an internet restore from the MacBook Air (restart holding down Command + Option + R), which uses the machine serial number to grab the OS that was originally shipped on it.  I did that, which brought me to the same place as if booting to the startup menu and selecting the OS Restore partition...that I couldn't use because it was Mountain Lion.  I selected "Disk Utility" and erased the main partition again just to make sure, then from the menu selected "Install OS X" and it installed Lion just fine.


    I had to reformat both the 500 GB and thumb drives as the Recovery Assistant somehow rendered them unreadable, but everything is fine now.  The odd part is that the information in Apple's KB about doing an internet restore is slightly different than what the tech told me.  Booting directly to Internet Restore using "Command + Option + R) is a lot easier than how they say to do it in their Internet Restore article. 


    Thanks again for your earlier help.

  • Ralph Landry1 Level 8 Level 8 (40,850 points)

    That is very familiar, seem to remember seeing that a long time ago in some esoteric KB article...will have to search for it and make a copy this time.  Thanks for the feedback and glad it worked out well for you.

  • Larry McJunkin Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)

    Good info...I've added it to Evernote in case I ever need it again. 

  • Ralph Landry1 Level 8 Level 8 (40,850 points)

    Same here but I have it in a Word doc.