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I bought a used iMac with OS 10.4.11 installed. It also has Microsoft Office 2004 on it. I'd like to upgrade the OS to 10.6 but don't want to lose the Microsoft Office applications. I do not have the original disks or any codes, serial numbers, etc to reinstall Office 2004. Is there any way I can accomplish the OS upgrade without losing Microsoft Office? I was hoping to transfer to an external HD and then transfer it back after I upgrade the OS.

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Be sure it's an Intel iMac; if it's a PPC iMac, it won't run 10.6 Snow Leopard. – Daniel Jul 30 '12 at 16:31
Technically you are running an unauthorized illegal version of Office for Mac since it belongs to the prior owner of the Mac, you should go about getting a legal licensed version of Office 2004 for Mac. USED Office 2004 for Mac is going for less than $8 and Office 2008 is under $40 on – MrDaniel Jul 30 '12 at 17:40
Don't steal software, even if it is old software from Microsoft! – MrDaniel Jul 30 '12 at 17:55
If the original owner didn't retain any materials from MS Office 2004, the transfer is legit, no? – Daniel Jul 30 '12 at 21:06

Make a good backup in case anything goes wrong, but if you install Mac OS X Snow Leopard using the default options, applications previously installed will remain in place with licenses intact.

One particular issue facing Microsoft Office 2004 under Snow Leopard is that Office 2004 is a PPC app, and thus requires Rosetta to run under Snow Leopard. Rosetta is not included by default in a Snow Leopard install, but rather needs to be included in the list of checkboxed items when you get the list of what components to install.

For more details about the Snow Leopard install process, you can read this article from Macworld.

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Actually OS X will prompt users to install Rosetta when they start a PPC app. – René Jul 30 '12 at 20:55
True, but if Rosetta is installed at the time of OS installation, such a prompt (and its subsequent delay at the time you want to use the software) is not needed. If you forget to check the box, you will be prompted later, but it would be easier to just install it at the time of OS install. – Daniel Jul 31 '12 at 16:15

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