I just got my new MacBook Pro which was shipped with Snow Leopard installed. Very soon after working around in the Snow Leopard system, I met with compatibility issues concerning expensive software like Maya 2009 and Adobe CS4. So I have 2 questions as I see it.

  1. I have a stand alone copy of Leopard bought at an Apple Store (not the grey Mac OS X DVDs usually shipped with computers). For this reason I have partitioned my internal hard drive to hold both Snow Leopard in one partition, and Leopard on the other partition. But the problem is that the computer doesn't allow me to run the Leopard install DVD. It doesn't boot from it. Can somebody give me directions of how to get around this issue?

  2. I need this new computer to finish an important project. So I am eager even to downgrade the new MacBook Pro to an old Leopard. But as I have heard, there is a block on degrading from a newer system to an older one. Is there a way around it? Can't run my Leopard install DVD.

I am supposed to be portable with my working studio equipment now, but until so far the new MacBook Pro has been nothing but a chain around my leg. Can anybody help me to solve this issue?

  • 1
    What types of problems are you having in Adobe CS4? I haven't really had any other than Photoshop not shutting down properly but other than that all works fine
    – ricbax
    Nov 3, 2009 at 21:14
  • Out of curiosity, how are you trying to boot from the Leopard install DVD? Holding down the Option key?
    – emgee
    Nov 3, 2009 at 21:47

2 Answers 2


According to apple-history.com, the most recent MacBook Pros are capable of running 10.5, but it has to be at least 10.5.7. Your retail Leopard disks are probably of an older minor release (maybe even 10.5.0).

Boot from Your Backup

If you have a bootable backup of your previous (at least 10.5.7) OS that your ran on your previous Mac, then you should be able to boot that. If you do not have such a backup, resolve to start making them as soon as you get your new system running (I use SuperDuper!, but Carbon Copy Cloner also seems to do a good job).

or Install via Another Machine with Target Disk Mode

Without an already-installed 10.5.7 (or better), you will (temporarily) need another machine that can boot your Loepard DVD.

  1. Start your temporary machine with the Leopard DVD (hold down C while booting or hold down Option and choose the DVD from the menu).
  2. Start your new MacBook Pro in FireWire Target Disk Mode (hold down T while booting, or click the “Target Disk Mode…” button in the Startup Disk preference pane of System Preferences).
  3. Connect your MacBook Pro to the temporary machine with a FireWire cable.
  4. Install from the DVD onto the partition on your MacBook Pro.
    • Be sure not to install onto any of the temporary machine's partitions!
  5. Boot the temporary machine off the newly installed Loepard partition.
  6. Run Software Update to install the latest updates, or at the very least, the 10.5.8 update.
    • If you are lucky, your MacBook Pro should now be able to boot from its Leopard partition.
  7. Shutdown the temporary machine.
  8. Restart your MacBook Pro, holding down Option choose the Leopard partition from the boot menu.
  9. Use System Preferences's Startup Disk preference pane to choose the Leopard partition for subsequent boots.

Why Can't You Just Boot the Leopard Install DVD?

In general, new Macs may not be able to boot older OS releases (either major, like you want, or even minor). This is due to the fact that the new hardware requires new drivers that are only included in the special build that the machine comes with (also later included in subsequent minor releases). You can try to find a machine that originally came with 10.5 (apple-history.com might be useful). For critical systems, it is a good idea to have a hardware backup (of similar vintage) in addition to your bootable system backup and data backups.


Thanks a lot for the help!

I went to the local Apple store and got a Leopard DVD with 10.5.6, which works to boot from. Now I have a working Leopard :)

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