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Question: can i re-install os10.6 on my macbook from disks that came with an iMac?

I have a Macbook that just keeps getting slower and I have gotten error messages on library files when installing software. Can I re-install the OS from disks that came with an iMac I had or do they have to be disks for a Macbook?

MacBook, Mac OS X (10.6.8)

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Mostly, no. The MacBook might boot to the DVD from the iMac, but if it allows you to install, don't expect the MacBook to run well. The hardware drivers for your Mac won't be installed. Gray disks are machine specific, and only intended to be used with the model they came with.


More than likely, you'll get a "No" symbol when trying to boot the disk.


If you can't locate the gray disks for the MacBook, you can order replacements from Apple. It's about $40 for both disks and shipping. They'll need your Mac's serial number to ensure you get the correct disks.


Or, depending on what level of Snow Leopard the MacBook came with, you may be able to use the retail Snow Leopard, 10.6.3 disk. Those are $20. Don't just run out and buy one, though. It will only boot Intel based Macs that came with 10.6.3 or earlier. My Mac Pro came with 10.6.4, and the retail disk will not boot this Mac.

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Nov 16, 2017 10:17 AM in response to Grumpysgal In response to Grumpysgal

In my case, you'll see the shipped OS was 10.6.4. If yours says 10.6.2 or earlier, you can purchase the retail $20 disk. It will work with your MacBook. 10.6.3 can be iffy. Sometimes the 10.6.3 retail disk will work. Sometimes it won't.


The only downside to the retail disk is that they do not come with any of the bundled apps that are on the gray disks. Those would be GarageBand, iDVD and other such apps.

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Nov 15, 2017 11:41 AM in response to Grumpysgal In response to Grumpysgal

Mostly, no. The MacBook might boot to the DVD from the iMac, but if it allows you to install, don't expect the MacBook to run well. The hardware drivers for your Mac won't be installed. Gray disks are machine specific, and only intended to be used with the model they came with.


More than likely, you'll get a "No" symbol when trying to boot the disk.


If you can't locate the gray disks for the MacBook, you can order replacements from Apple. It's about $40 for both disks and shipping. They'll need your Mac's serial number to ensure you get the correct disks.


Or, depending on what level of Snow Leopard the MacBook came with, you may be able to use the retail Snow Leopard, 10.6.3 disk. Those are $20. Don't just run out and buy one, though. It will only boot Intel based Macs that came with 10.6.3 or earlier. My Mac Pro came with 10.6.4, and the retail disk will not boot this Mac.

Nov 15, 2017 11:41 AM

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Nov 15, 2017 12:12 PM in response to Kurt Lang In response to Kurt Lang

Thanks, that's what I was afraid of. The Macbook was purchased refurbished and I didn't get the disks with it. Also really didn't realize you could still get them from Apple. Is there any way to determine what the original system was on my Macbook? All I know is what's on it now, 10.6.8. Anyway, thanks again.

Nov 15, 2017 12:12 PM

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Nov 15, 2017 12:22 PM in response to Grumpysgal In response to Grumpysgal

Go to this site. Underneath the field where you can enter data, put in any of the suggested info. Model number, model identifier, or the serial number work best. Then click Lookup. A page with your Mac model will be shown. Scroll down to where it tells you what OS it shipped with. You may need to choose from multiple model choices. See below on how to get the right one.


The easiest to obtain is the model identifier. Hold down the Option key and click on the Apple logo at the upper left. Choose, System Information. The model identifier will be the second line in the right hand pane. Mine is:


Model Identifier: MacPro5,1


So, in my case, I would put MacPro5,1 in the search field. That takes me here. To narrow it down, System Information also tells me my CPU is a 6 core, 3.33 GHz chip. So I click on that link (third one down) and it takes me to a page with information about my exact model.

Nov 15, 2017 12:22 PM

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Nov 16, 2017 10:17 AM in response to Grumpysgal In response to Grumpysgal

In my case, you'll see the shipped OS was 10.6.4. If yours says 10.6.2 or earlier, you can purchase the retail $20 disk. It will work with your MacBook. 10.6.3 can be iffy. Sometimes the 10.6.3 retail disk will work. Sometimes it won't.


The only downside to the retail disk is that they do not come with any of the bundled apps that are on the gray disks. Those would be GarageBand, iDVD and other such apps.

Nov 16, 2017 10:17 AM

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Nov 16, 2017 11:01 AM in response to Grumpysgal In response to Grumpysgal

Hmm, it couldn't be 10.1.6. That old a version of OS X would have shipped with a PowerPC Mac. Did you mean to type 10.6.6?


If that's correct, you won't be able to use the 10.6.3 retail disk. Your MacBook will not boot to it. So you would have to get the gray, replacement Snow Leopard disks from Apple.

Nov 16, 2017 11:01 AM

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Question: can i re-install os10.6 on my macbook from disks that came with an iMac?