I have an old MacBook with Mac OS X Tiger 10.4.11 and I want to upgrade (actually to new install) it to Snow Leopard. The problem is that my DVD drive is broken and I have no external one as well.

I am trying using diskutil resizeVolume to make a free partition (Volume) on my single hard disk, and planning to restore the image of installation DVD on it. It seems that I could boot from that partition and begin my new installation. Is that possible?

At the moment I have only old Mac OS Tiger install DVD and I try to test by making its image on a PC which has DVD drive. Strangely, on Windows I cannot read the DVD. I don't know if it is the DVD problem or else?

Actually I have not bought a copy of snow leopard because I am not sure if it works.

any suggestion?

  • Mac OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.3 2Z691-6634-A – elgcom Oct 2 '10 at 13:01

There is a thread that discusses using IsoBuster to create an image. You need to back up the entire hybrid disk (at least for 10.6).

Can you access another Mac to do this? If so, in Disk Utility select the drive (not the volume) and click the New Image button on the toolbar to save a DMG as a DVD/CD Master. Funny idea: go to an Apple Store with an 8 GB or higher USB stick, buy Snow Leopard, then use one of the computers there to create the DMG.

Once you have the DMG, rather than using diskutil at the command line, just use Disk Utility and create a 10 GB partition at the end of your drive (under the Partition tab for your drive). Then go to the restore tab and select the DMG for the source and the new partition for the destination. Make sure Erase destination is checked and double-check that you're dealing with the right partition.

Note that I'm using Disk Utility on 10.6 and I haven't worked with 10.4 in a long while. My thinking is that Disk Utility hasn't changed very much and I hope that the features that I'm talking about exist and behave as I would expect on 10.4.

Finally to install Snow Leopard, reboot your computer, hold down the ⌥ key as soon as it starts up (chime) and you should be presented with two options, both with a hard drive icon. The second option should say Mac OS X Install DVD. Select that.

Specific IsoBuster instructions from the above thread:

Open IsoBuster -> right click "DVD" on the left side -> choose "extract dvd " -> User Data (*.tao, *.iso)

Name the file whatever you want (ie "Leopard") on the "Save as type" choose ".iso" Click Save and wait for image to be created. After it is finished it will probably ask you to save a ".cue" file as well...go ahead and save it, but you should not need it.

  • I have only one MacBook and one Laptop with Windows XP. Since my DVD drive on MacBook is dead, I can only create DVD image on Windows. I want to just make sure I can read Mac 10.6 DVD on Windows. (I cannot read 10.4 DVD on Windows.) Btw, the Disk Utility from 10.4 cannot do nondestructive partition resize. – elgcom Sep 26 '10 at 15:15
  • You will not be able to browse the contents of the entire Mac OS X 10.6 DVD on Windows. Using a program like IsoBuster will allow you to save the entire DVD, including the unreadable-by-Windows-Explorer parts, into an ISO file. Thanks for the info about 10.4 Disk Utility. – fideli Sep 26 '10 at 15:28
  • ........I useed isoBuster to make ISO image from SL DVD, and somehow it did not do it well. Without notice the failed image I used the ISO image (restored on a partition) to install SL. The installation process failed. Now I have a erased partition, a partition with failed SL DVD image and a broken DVD drive........... – elgcom Oct 1 '10 at 23:45
  • @elgcom: I tried using IsoBuster myself just now and it seems to work at least to extract both Mac and Windows parts of the hybrid disk. I edited the answer to include specific IsoBuster instructions from the thread. Did you try it like that? – fideli Oct 2 '10 at 0:38
  • I have tried. The image was built successfully and restored on disk without problem. However during the installation it did fail again due to some strange error (no explicit error message). Btw, my SL DVD is Ver. 10.6.3 2Z691-6634-A – elgcom Oct 2 '10 at 12:59

You could try to use Remote Install Mac OS X from another computer (in /Applications/Utilities on a Mac, on your Snow Leopard install DVD on Windows - I don't think this was available in Tiger). It essentially allows the CD drive of another computer to be shared by another machine. It's intended for MacBook Airs and Server Mac Minis that don't have CD drives, but I haven't heard of it not working on other models - I presume it does some sort of NetBoot magic.

Alternatively, if you have (or can borrow) another Mac you could start your MacBook up in Target Disk Mode (hold the 't' key down during start up) and connect it to the other Mac with Firewire. Then put the system DVD into the other Mac, and install to the "Firewire disk" that is your MacBook.

See also Replace HD with SSD in MacBook where CD/DVD drive is broken

  • really? that means I can put SL DVD on Windows and run Remote Install from Windows? I have a "MacBook" with "Tiger" installed and a Laptop with Win XP. Of course they are both in a local network. will it still work? – elgcom Sep 26 '10 at 15:21
  • It should. It certainly works if you had a MacBook Air or a Mac Mini with OS X Server as neither of them have CD drives. I haven't heard of it being used with other models, but I see no reason why it wouldn't. – Scott Sep 26 '10 at 18:07
  • Just tried this with my (non server) Mac Mini. It successfully found the Snow Leopard DVD in my iMac's drive and booted from it. I didn't actually install - it has Snow Leopard installed just fine - but I see no reason why I couldn't have. It ought to work just fine from your Windows labtop. – Scott Sep 26 '10 at 18:15
  • Ok I will try it on this weekend! – elgcom Sep 28 '10 at 11:03
  • I have an old macbook from 2006 and a Windows PC. I inserted SL DVD in Windows and use its "Remote Install" program, then booted MacBook with option key. Unfortunately MacBook did not recognize it. It seems only AIR and Mini can do this en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remote_Install_Mac_OS_X – elgcom Oct 1 '10 at 21:03

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