If the computer includes the original system install-restore DVDs
they can be used to erase and install a complete system in your
name, and then see about upgrading it to a later retail OS X.
Once a system is reinstalled, then the computer can be set to
go online to download the update files. An upgrade involves a
different system (usually on retail DVD if the computer runs
less than Snow Leopard 10.6.8 updated; then it'd be able to go
online to see IF there are any further upgrade system options.
An upgrade is a full complete different new system; and update
is a step within the range of the main system. So, if the MacBook
runs OS X 10.5.8, that is fully upgraded, per Leopard. However
to run Snow Leopard involves a retail 10.6 DVD, and then later
after that is installed, one goes to Apple servers via the Software
Update in MacBook, + get Combo Update 10.6.8 v1.1 download.
Further upgrade would depend on the system supported by the
MacBook, what it shipped with, and, if there is a later retail DVD
included with the computer to support a newer than OEM OS X.
So the details are in identification of the computer, then one
may be able to research the upgrade potential of both the
hardware and a system. RAM is an upgrade, as is a full later
version of OS X than the computer shipped with. (purchases)
•How to identify MacBook models:
•OS X: About This Mac window provides computer serial number
•Apple MacBook Specs (All MacBook Technical specs)
If the MacBook is the basic MacBook made between 2006 & 2010,
they are no longer made, see the list of those models at everymac.
And if the MacBook is a /Pro or /Air model little of the above applies.
The more you information you can supply about whatever MacBook
you have, the better and more detailed a reply may be. In fact if you
have an understanding of Mac computers, and valid info sources, it
is fairly easy to learn about upgrade and update specs, parts, etc.
Early MacBooks that only have a CoreDuo or Coresolo processor can only install up to Mac OS X 10.6.8.
MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum, or Early 2009 or newer can update up to Mac OS X 10.9.2.
Unless it is labelled Pro or Air, it should come with some prebundled installer discs that include a hardware test.
Once you identify the Mac, you can call AppleCare to request replacements if the original owner lost them.
Non-Apple system software on the machine is not yours to keep, unless they provided you with the installer discs and/or registration codes for those additional software and have communicated with the vendor their intent to transfer ownership of those licenses to you.
Software that is compatible with Mac OS X 10.6.8 or earlier may not be compatible with 10.7 or later: