Advice needed on buying a second hand mac

I am thinking of buying a second hand mac but im not sure about the software side of things so i would like a bit of help on the following questions please.

(1) if i buy one without the install discs does it mean i cant register and use it.

(2) if i have the discs does it mean i have the license even if the disc has been owned by someone else before, could they be using it on another mac as well.

(3) i already have install discs for panther which came with my current computer and tiger which i purchased from apple later, so can i use these on the second hand mac i plan to buy as well as the mac im using them on now.
 

markuswarren

Novice Member
I am thinking of buying a second hand mac but im not sure about the software side of things so i would like a bit of help on the following questions please.

(1) if i buy one without the install discs does it mean i cant register and use it.

(2) if i have the discs does it mean i have the license even if the disc has been owned by someone else before, could they be using it on another mac as well.

(3) i already have install discs for panther which came with my current computer and tiger which i purchased from apple later, so can i use these on the second hand mac i plan to buy as well as the mac im using them on now.

Unlike XP/Vista, which require you to enter a license key when you install the OS, Mac OS X Client does not have such a requirement. I think if you were to purchase a machine and it came with install disks you'd be ok to install from it on that machine as you have the license for it.

There is no, as far as I'm aware, checking going on in the background with regards to who is running what OS on what machine. It really does seem to be on the honor system.

Bottom line, Apple trusts you to purchase either a single user pack of the OS, or use the disks that came with the machine, and install that on a single computer. If you want to install the OS on more machines, then you'd purchase additional copies, however, as said, there is no checking in place to stop you from using the same disk on as many machines as you wish. Obviously this is from a licensing viewpoint illegal.
 

Chester

Well-known Member
Don't know if anyone has tried this, but say for example that someone has an iMac and a MacBook. They have the Leopard install disks for both, but the iMac one is scratched. Could you use the one that came with the MacBook on the iMac, or are they machine specific?

My Tiger install disks are simply badged For Mac Computers. My Leopard upgrade disk doesn't suggest any hardware at all.
 

jont

Well-known Member
The discs that are supplied with each mac are machine specific ... the retail boxed versions of Panther/Tiger/Leopard will work on any suitable mac ...

Jon
 
thanks for the info guys, so that means i can use my retail version of tiger on any suitable mac, but dont i have to register it to receive software updates or does it find them automatically.
 

markuswarren

Novice Member
thanks for the info guys, so that means i can use my retail version of tiger on any suitable mac, but dont i have to register it to receive software updates or does it find them automatically.
One thing that hasn't been asked/mentioned is; What is the spec of the 2nd hand Mac you're looking at? The reason I ask is that it might not be able to run Tiger, though it'd have to be fairly old. I've got a 500Mhz G3 iMac which will happily run 10.4.11 on it. One other major factor is the type of drive in the machine, as in, is it a DVD or CD drive? I think the retail versions of Tiger typically come on DVD and you needed to request a CD version if your machine didn't have a DVD drive. I'm not trying to shoot you down, I just want to make sure you don't get a machine and find you cannot put Tiger on it for whatever reason.

You are spot on about not having to register your copy of Tiger when you install it, plus Software Update will automatically look for updates. Typically it seems to launch a few minutes after you've installed the OS and booted the machine for the first time. You can obviously jump into System Preferences -> Software Update and reconfigure when it'll run, or you can always go to Apple Support - Downloads and manually download updates. I typically do this for the OS dot upgrades, as I get the combo updater and then manually run it.
 
that is a very good question i had not thought of, so i have just checked the box the tiger disc came in and it says you need a dvd drive, so i'll make sure whatever i get has a dvd drive.

thanks very much, paul.
 
another question, if i sell my current mac before i buy a replacement and want to keep the info i have on it, will i have to buy an external hard drive to store it on then transfer it on to my new mac or is there another way. if i need the external hard drive have you any suggestions as to which one, i will only need about 20gb of storage.
 

James.1

Novice Member
If you sell your current Mac before getting a new one you should make a full clone backup to an external HDD using either SuperDuper (easiest), or Disk Utility (still fairly easy). Once you have a full clone and a new Mac, you can use the Migration Assistant to copy your accounts, files and (most) settings to your new Mac.

One thing to bear in mind too, if you buy a Mac that came with Leopard installed and it has no install discs, you won't be able to install Tiger on to it as it won't have the necessary drivers.
 

Tenex

Novice Member
another question, if i sell my current mac before i buy a replacement and want to keep the info i have on it, will i have to buy an external hard drive to store it on then transfer it on to my new mac or is there another way. if i need the external hard drive have you any suggestions as to which one, i will only need about 20gb of storage.
You could accomplish this without an external but really an external is too useful to forgo.

Anyway, you could burn your data to DVD assuming you have a DVD burner (tedious but 20Gb is only 5-6 discs so no big problem). They would also provide a permanent backup. This assumes you're not cloning your drive ie. as James said you couldn't restore an earlier OS version to a later installation.

HTH
 

markuswarren

Novice Member
As others have suggested, get an external firewire/USB drive prior to selling your existing machine and backup your machine to it. Makes a lot of sense to do this anyway. Don't skimp on capacity. You may only need 20GB now, but it's well worth getting, for example, a 200 - 500 GB drive in an external enclosure. Extra space is always handy to have.
 
thanks for the replies guys, i think thats all my questions answered. i think it may be worth buying an external hard drive because i should be backing up data anyway.
 

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