Reverse OS upgrade on a Mac
February 25, 2010 3:13 PM   Subscribe

I have a 2007 era Mac Mini running 10.4 Tiger, that I'd like to upgrade to a brand new iMac (that comes with 10.6 Snow Leopard). However, due to my software, I'd like to keep using on 10.4 the new iMac. Will the new iMac allow me to install Tiger on it, using my original 10.4 install discs from the Mac Mini?
posted by dacoit to Technology (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
No. You can't use an older operating system than the the one that came installed on a particular mac.
posted by Oktober at 3:14 PM on February 25, 2010

Mind you, Rosetta (PowerPC OS X apps on Intel Hardware) works just fine in Snow Leopard, it's just Classic (OS 9 apps on PowerPC OS X machines) that doesn't. I'm not sure what you have that won't run on Snow Leopard, but that's not the hurdle you have to overcome.
posted by Oktober at 3:16 PM on February 25, 2010

Response by poster: I'm mostly worried about all my Adobe CS3 apps, since I've heard about issues and apparently Adobe does not support these on Snow Leopard.
posted by dacoit at 3:18 PM on February 25, 2010

I'm running CS2 on snow leopard, it's slow, but it works. I know people who are using CS3 on SL with little trouble, and then there's this from Adobe:

So yeah, you'll probably be fine. But really, you don't have much choice!
posted by Oktober at 3:21 PM on February 25, 2010

I'm running CS3 on Snow Leopeard with zero problems. For waht that's worth.
posted by Tomorrowful at 3:30 PM on February 25, 2010

I've used CS3 on a 2009 (previous to current) iMac with 10.6. No issues, other than those inherent in CS3.

The only app I had a lick of trouble with in upgrading to 10.6 was Quicksilver, and an update fixed the issues I had been having. I've managed to avoid Rosetta entirely so far.
posted by adamrice at 3:41 PM on February 25, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks, that helps a lot. Maybe I'm being too nervous.

One last question if I may ... does anyone know whether Snow Leopard allow me to copy over my apps and settings from the 10.4 iMac, or is it more likely that I'll have to re-install the apps from scratch?
posted by dacoit at 3:48 PM on February 25, 2010

I just did that (10.4->10.6) over firewire yesterday. You'll be fine, although i've had some problems with Adobe CS activation in the past, so it's best to deactivate before you move and then re-activate on your new machine.
posted by Oktober at 3:50 PM on February 25, 2010

I am using Photoshop and Illustrator CS3 on 10.6.2. No issues, as far as I can tell. Granted, I just tweak stuff for illustrations, nothing heavy-duty.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:58 PM on February 25, 2010

CS3 works fine on Snow Leopard for me. I wouldn't worry about it.
posted by spilon at 4:22 PM on February 25, 2010

When you boot a new Mac, you have the option of connecting to the old one, either booted into target disk mode (system preferences/startup disk/target disk mode) and connectd via Firewire or using the over-the-network user migration assistant (ethernet network, using wireless will make you insane).

This has worked for me many, many times. That said, the one time it did not work was CS2. I had to reinstall it but all settings came through intact.
posted by rr at 4:44 PM on February 25, 2010

I run PS CS3 on my 10.6 iMac, runs fine. It's not 64 bit, that's the only drawback (CS4 isn't either). Settings assistant transfer (mentioned above) should work. It's damn near miraculous, imho. I haven't used it to transfer adobe products though. They usually get a fresh install.
posted by chairface at 4:57 PM on February 25, 2010

Re: Target mode - you can just boot the old computer while pressing and holding 't' on the keyboard. Start the new computer first, and it will prompt you through the process to connect the two computers with a Firewire cable, boot the old machine, choose what to port over, and then take over from there. I've moved files/accounts from old to new Macs dozens of times, and it works like a champ (I wouldn't go with "miraculous", but maybe that's because I've just seen it too many times as a jaded IT professional :-) ). I agree with Oktober that de/re -activating CS would be safest.
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:57 PM on February 25, 2010

Get an OS virtualizer like VirtualBox or VMware Fusion and run Tiger inside of that, maybe?
posted by tepidmonkey at 7:44 PM on February 25, 2010

There's absolutely no need to virtualize Tiger on Snow Leopard.

Another data point here for CS3 running fine on Snow Leopard.
posted by pmbuko at 9:25 PM on February 25, 2010

It's not possible to run Tiger in a VM.
posted by Mwongozi at 3:00 AM on February 26, 2010

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