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How do I install or upgrade OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion)?

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Upgrading from Mac OS X 10.6 or OS X 10.7 to OS X 10.8

OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) is no longer available for purchase from the Mac App Store. If you have Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) or OS X 10.7 (Lion), and your computer meets the system requirements for OS X 10.9 (Mavericks), you can upgrade directly to that version instead; see How do I install or upgrade to OS X 10.9 (Mavericks)?

Reinstalling Mountain Lion on a computer already running it

Note: To reinstall or recover Mountain Lion, you must have an active Internet connection. If you are on campus at Indiana University, UITS recommends the wired Ethernet network instead of wireless. However, if IU Secure is your only option, see In Mac OS X, how do I connect to IU Secure if I am booted from my Recovery HD?

Reinstalling while keeping files, applications, and settings

  1. Restart your computer, and immediately hold down Command-r. You can release the keys when you see the dark gray apple on your screen.

  2. If you see a screen asking you to select your main language, choose it and then click the arrow.

  3. Click Reinstall OS X, and then Continue. Follow the instructions on the screen and then choose your hard disk. Click Install and enter your Apple ID information if prompted.

  4. When the install is complete, select Software Update... from the Apple menu and install any available updates.

Reinstalling while erasing everything on your computer

  1. Restart your computer, and immediately hold down Command-r. You can release the keys when you see the dark gray apple on your screen.

  2. If you see a screen asking you to select your main language, choose it and then click the arrow.

  3. Click Disk Utility, and then Continue.

  4. In Disk Utility, click your hard disk in the left column, and then click the Erase tab. Next to "Format:", make sure Mac OS Extended (Journaled) is selected, and then give your disk a name next to "Name:". If you would like to securely erase your data, click Security Options... , adjust the slider accordingly, and click OK. When you're ready, click Erase... , and then Erase again to erase your disk. Once it's completed, quit Disk Utility.

  5. Click Reinstall OS X, and then Continue. Follow the instructions on screen and then choose your hard disk. Click Install and enter your Apple ID information if prompted. Once the installation is complete, you'll be asked to enter basic information and have the option to transfer data from another computer or backup.

  6. Select Software Update... from the Apple menu and install any available updates.
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Last modified on November 21, 2013.

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