ARCHIVED: How do I install or upgrade Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard)?

Note: To install or upgrade other versions of OS X, see How do I install OS X 10.9 (Mavericks)?, How do I install OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion)?, or How do I install OS X 10.7 (Lion)?

Before attempting to install or upgrade Mac OS X, verify that your computer meets the minimum system requirements. Then, continue your installation or upgrade.

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Install Snow Leopard while keeping files, applications, and settings

If you follow these steps, the installer will replace your operating system if one is already present, but will preserve your account information and personal files. You may have to reinstall some applications, however.

  1. Insert the install disc (or the first install disc if you have more than one) into your disc drive. Restart your computer while holding down the c key. This causes your computer to start up from the install disc rather than your hard drive. When you see the gray Apple insignia, release c.
  2. The Mac OS X installer should open automatically. Follow the on-screen prompts to read and accept the license agreement and begin the installation. When prompted to choose a destination disk, select your preferred location and click Install.
  3. When the Mac OS X installation finishes with the disc, restart your computer. After the installation completes, a configuration program may begin automatically if you are installing for the first time. You will need to supply basic setup information for your computer.
  4. Update your system software to ensure that you have the most recent operating system components. From the Apple menu, select Software Update..., and then follow the instructions on the screen. Often, you will have to restart your computer, and you may have to run Software Update multiple times before it can completely update your system.

Install Snow Leopard while erasing everything on your computer

If you follow these steps, everything that's currently on your computer will be erased, and a new version of Snow Leopard installed. Make sure you've backed up your documents, music, pictures, movies, and other personal files before you proceed.

  1. Insert the install disc (or the first install disc if you have more than one) into your disc drive. Restart your computer while holding down the c key. This causes your computer to start up from the install disc rather than your hard drive. When you see the gray Apple insignia, release c.
  2. Choose your preferred language if prompted, and the Mac OS X installer should open automatically. From the Utilities menu, select Disk Utility....
  3. 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..., click your preferred option, and click OK. When you're ready, click Erase..., and then Erase again to erase your disk. Once it's completed, quit Disk Utility to return to the installer.
  4. Back in the installer, click Continue, read and accept the license agreement, and begin the installation. When prompted to choose a destination disk, select your preferred location, and then install.
  5. When the Mac OS X installation finishes with the disc, restart your computer. After the installation completes, a configuration program may begin automatically if you are installing for the first time. You will need to supply basic setup information for your computer.
  6. Update your system software to ensure you have the most recent operating system components. From the Apple menu, select Software Update..., and then follow the instructions on the screen. Often, you will have to restart your computer, and you may have to run Software Update multiple times before it can completely update your system.

This is document akav in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2014-11-13.

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