I'm using the Core i5 Mac mini which ships with OS X 10.7 and comes without DVD drive. I've attached a new USB DVD drive and insert the retail OS X 10.6 DVD. Holding down the Alt key lets me boot from the DVD but later it crashs telling me that this is an unsupported CPU. If I use a burnt 10.7 DVD (downloaded a half year ago from the Apple store), only a stop-sign (circle with diagonal line) is shown on the screen.

How I can make my Mac mini to boot from my OS X DVDs?


Not all builds of OS X v10.7 are alike. What originally shipped via the Mac App Store was build 11A511, but what your Mac mini shipped with—and requires as a minimum version—was build 11A2061. It would be interesting to know which version of 10.7 you downloaded from the Mac App Store. If it was 10.7[.0] 11A511, then your results are no surprise. If it was 10.7.1 or anything later, then I'm surprised you couldn't boot from it. If you really did download it exactly 6 months ago, you should have 10.7.1. But if you downloaded it in July or early August, you probably have 10.7 11A511.

By the way, what exactly did you burn to the DVD? Did you use the InstallESD.dmg from inside the "Install Mac OS X Lion" app bundle?

If it turns out that you only have the original 10.7 11A511, you won't be able to get the Mac mini to boot from it. If you have another Mac available to you, you might see if you can find a way to re-download Lion from the Mac App Store, because what you'd download now would be 10.7.3.

If you just want to get Lion reinstalled and don't specifically require doing it from DVD, then please note that your Mac mini is probably new enough to have EFI firmware that supports Apple's Internet-based recovery option. Just hook up your Mac mini to a broadband Internet connection, and hold down Command+R at boot and it will attempt recovery from the recovery partition on the local hard drive if there is one, and switch to Internet-based recovery otherwise. If you don't have an Ethernet connection, don't worry, there's a way to have it join a Wi-Fi network as long as your network doesn't require enterprise-grade authentication.


10.6 will not boot this version of the Mac Mini.

Build 11A511 is the version for the mid-2011 iMac. You may want to check this Apple kbase article, or this one to see exactly which version came originally with your machine.

10.7 usually needs to grab the right build, which can be more difficult.

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