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Question: How to obtain a product Key

Hello Communities


I just purchase an iMac 21.5, mid-2010, running OS X El Capitan, ver 10.11.5 built 15F34. In the process of doing a factory reboot the individual product key was not deactivated, now the computer is stuck in the installation mode, and every-time I try to install OS X, it ask for internet, it asks for Apple ID, then it says unexpected error has occurred "try again" What to do?

iMac, OS X El Capitan (10.11.6)

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Nov 13, 2017 7:56 PM in response to Muziknote In response to Muziknote

You need the two software restore DVDs that came with the computer. You will need to perform a factory reset:


How To Do A Factory Reset


Selection A should be used on computers that came with Lion or later when factory new. Selection B is for Macs that came originally with Snow Leopard or earlier.


A. Factory reset your Mac - Apple Support

B. Factory Reset Your Pre-Lion Mac


Follow these instructions until you get to Step 5: Factory reset your Mac - Apple Support. At Step 5 you will need a Snow Leopard DVD or the installer disc that came with the computer.


  1. Boot the computer using the Snow Leopard Installer Disc or the Disc 1 that came with your computer. Insert the disc into the optical drive and restart the computer. After the chime press and hold down the "C" key. Release the key when you see a small spinning gear appear below the dark gray Apple logo.
  2. After the installer loads select your language and click on the Continue button. When the menu bar appears select Disk Utility from the Utilities' menu. After Disk Utility loads select the hard drive entry from the left side list (un-dented entry - mfgr.'s ID and drive size.) Click on the Partition tab in the Disk Utility main window. Set the number of partitions to one (1) from the Partitions drop down menu, click on Options button and select GUID, click on OK, then set the format type to MacOS Extended (Journaled), then click on the Apply button.
  3. When the formatting has finished quit Disk Utility. Proceed with the OS X installation and follow the directions included with the installer.
  4. If you are planning to sell or give your computer away, then do the following: After you reformat your hard drive and reinstall OS X, the computer restarts to a Welcome screen and asks you to choose a country or region. If you want to leave the Mac in an out-of-box state, don't continue with the setup of your system. Instead, press Command-Q to shut down the Mac. When the new owner turns on the Mac, the Setup Assistant will guide them through the setup process.

Nov 13, 2017 7:56 PM

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Nov 14, 2017 11:36 AM in response to Muziknote In response to Muziknote

If you have a local Apple retailer then they may be able to provide you with a bootable disk if you provide the blank DVD. You also could call Apple Support and ask about purchasing the DVDs but be prepared to hear they no longer have them available. If so, then you will need to search on Google, Amazon, and eBay to find them. Do not bother with the Snow Leopard DVD Apple sells online because it is a version that cannot start up your model which requires 10.6.6 or later. The last Snow Leopard version update is 10.6.8.

Nov 14, 2017 11:36 AM

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Question: How to obtain a product Key