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Ask Max: Is there any way to upgrade from Tiger to Leopard?

Asked on 01/04/2010:

I have an almost-3-year-old MacBook that came with Tiger (10.2), but with the software upgrades, is now running OS 10.4.11

I would now like to upgrade it to Leopard (10.5), using disks that came with my new iMac. The MacBook has 2.0 GHz Intel core duo; 1 GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM and currently has 44.59 GB of memory available. However, when I try to use the install disks, I end up with a message that Leopard cannot be installed on this computer.

Why? Is there any way to upgrade from Tiger to Leopard?


Apple prevents the installation of System Restore software on any hardware except the models that those DVDs shipped with. It is the only protection Apple uses on their operating system to prevent piracy. A retail copy of Leopard can be be installed on an endless amount of compatible Macs, without any errors. Apple just trusts that you will buy a copy for each system.

You can bypass the Apple block on restore DVDs by putting your MacBook into Target Disk mode. Boot up your MacBook holding down the [T] key will place it in Target Disk mode. Then connect the Macbook to the iMac via a FireWire cable. Now put the Restore DVD into the iMacs optical drive and double click on the OS X installer. After the iMac boots up off the OS X restore DVD go through the install process but select the MacBook's hard drive as the install destination, instead of the iMacs internal hard drive.

After the install process has finished, you can restart both computers and they both will have Leopard.


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