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I want to wipe my current Leopard installation and install Snow Leopard on my mac. What is the correct way to achieve this?

It seems like I would need to boot into some disk utility in order to format it, but I'm not quite sure how to do that.


  • Insert the Snow Leopard DVD.
  • Restart your computer.
  • While your computer is restarting, hold down the alt/option key. It will then ask you which drive you want to boot from. Select your DVD drive.
  • From there you can select Disk Utlity from the Utilities menu and format the drive, or choose the "erase and install" option.
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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Boot from the Mac OS X Snow Leopard Install DVD, and from the "Utilities" menu, choose "Disk utility". From there you can reformat your hard disk. After doing so, quit Disk Utility and you can perform a clean install.

EDIT: Apparently there is also an "Erase and Install" option. (I haven't used this before myself). See more details here.

Here's an official apple support article about all the installation options available.

It occurred to me after posting this that, while your question clearly states you want to format your disk, I wanted to mention that this will erase all data on your disk, including applications and your data. So make a backup first. Alternatively, you could just perform an "Archive and Install" which will give you a clean OS, but leave your data and applications in tact.

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I didn't know how to boot from the DVD. For all who are wondering, hold down the alt/option key while booting and it will ask you which drive you want to boot from. – Andrew Mar 17 '10 at 16:47
@misbehavens: Sorry, I should have mentioned that :-) You can also choose a disk to start up from via the "Startup Disk" preference pane in System Preferences. – Josh Mar 17 '10 at 16:50

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