December 19, 2008
The great thing about OS X is that despite it’s minimum requirements, it still runs quite nicely on older pieces of Apple Hardware. This is simplified, but for the most part if the machine has a DVD drive and can boot off the install disk, it can run OS X.
Leopard though brings a whole new wrinkle to the game as it’s technically a Double Layer DVD and won’t be read by all DVD drives. Older machines such as an Aluminum Powerbook runs Leopard great (and benefits from the increased speed efficiency too,) but not all can read the disk.
Option 1: Boot off another machine and image via Firewire.
This can only be done if both machines are PPC or Intel, Leopard will not install cross platform. But Tiger (10.4) does just fine. To do so, boot the machine where OS X is to be installed and hold down the ‘T’ key. This puts it into Firewire mode. The screen will have a huge Yellow Firewire symbol on it so this is not hard to miss. Connect the two machines together with a Firewire cable then boot the second machine. This time hold down the ‘C’ key to boot off the CDRom.
Once OS X boots up and the first couple of screens are gotten past, there should be two hard drives present in the system. One will be a “Firewire” drive, and it should be mounted. If not Disk Utility can be ran from the menu at the top. Be careful not to install over the primary drive, and click next. The typical installer actions come up like “Erase” and “Archive and Install.” From here on the install is just like any other.
Option 2: External Firewire Drive
This is actually my preferred install method. Initial preparation takes a bit of extra work, but in the end the Firewire drive can act as an emergency boot disk, or be used for extra storage.
On a small (or large) external Firewire Disk follow install as above in option one. Omitting the step of booting to target mode with the ‘T’ key of course. Install OS X on to the firewire drive. I suggest partitioning the drive into two parts. The first part should be about 10GB-20GB or so and the second all remaining space on the drive. Install OS X onto the first partition.
This drive can now be taken to any other machine (again if Leopard, it has to be the same architecture Intel or PPC,) and use the ‘Option’ or ‘Alt’ key just after powering the computer on. Choose the firewire drive as the boot device and boot off it. At this point the computer will effectively be running the new version of OS X!
Using either Bombich’s Carbon Copy Cloner or Shirt Pocket’s Super Duper clone the boot drive of the hard drive over to blank hard drive of the computer. Keep in mind that this will wipe the drive, so make sure data is backed up before doing so, perhaps to that nice big data partition?
Installing on a PC: Follow these directions here