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I just bought a refurbished MacBook (through a reputable retailer) and 3rd party external drive for Time Machine backups. There are no install discs and my concern is that after the warranty ends (90 days) if I need to reinstall the OS, I will have to purchase Snow Leopard (it has 10.6).
So, how would I reinstall OS X since I received no installation media?

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Before someone down votes your question, please note that this website encourages more than one question to be posed as separate questions. On that note, your second question on Time Machine may already be answered here. Please the time-machine tag to search. – Global nomad Feb 24 '13 at 18:26
Why would you say you need 500GB for Snow Leopard? Snow Leopard requires only 5GB free space to install (see Up to now I never had to reinstall the OS :) (crossing fingers) – Huygens Feb 24 '13 at 18:27
egg of face...I thought I read 500 gb. Ok. Thanks.And I will note the time machine tag.... – Toby Feb 24 '13 at 19:13
@Toby - Welcome to the site! You can edit out anything and the system will show people what was there if they look, but the new question will stand well if you remove the 500 GB part. – bmike Feb 24 '13 at 19:44

There are plenty of ways around this dilemma:

Method 1: Upgrade to OS X Mountain Lion. You'll get loads of new features, and the all-new Recovery partition so you won't need discs. It should be free if your retailer was Apple Certified via the Apple Up-to-Date Program.

Method 2: Contact the reputable retailer. They should give you the original discs if you ask for them.

Method 3: Ask if you can borrow a friend's disc if you ever need it in the future.

Method 4: Contact Apple. I'm sure that if you describe your situation, they'll give you the SL discs at least.

Method 5: Purchase Snow Leopard. It's only $20, and it'll give you peace of mind if that's what you really want. You could buy it with the money you saved buying the refurbished Mac in the first place.

When you get your Mountain Lion/Snow Leopard installer, make sure you make a USB flash drive backup of it and keep it safe.

For Mountain Lion see here: Create a Bootable Mountain Lion USB Key Installer

For Snow Leopard see here: How to Create a Mac Snow Leopard USB Installer Disk

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Snow Leopard is $69 and available from 800-MY-APPLE only. Also AppleCare will sell you replacement discs for cheap (if I remember, around $10) but only for the same disc that came with it initially. What OS are you running? What version of the Mac hardware is it? If recent enough you can boot into Internet Recovery mode by booting while holding down cmd-R, which downloads the OS from the net by booting from a firmware chip built into the Mac. – bispymusic Mar 2 '13 at 3:07
It definitely is $20, and it's available from the Apple Online Store, as shown in the original post: – Faiz Saleem Mar 2 '13 at 13:08
My bad. I stopped working for Apple six months ago. I didn't realize this had changed. Good! – bispymusic Mar 2 '13 at 16:06
THe computer is very likely too old for 10.8. 10.7 might work. – Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen Mar 2 '13 at 16:08
If your computer is too old for Mountain Lion, that rules all the Mountain Lion options - you can still contact Apple/the retailer for the original discs. – Faiz Saleem Mar 2 '13 at 18:06

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