I have been given a 2006-era 32-bit EFI Intel iMac. I would like to install some modern Linux as the only OS on it. I know there are several guides on the subject, but I have several limitations preventing me from using most of them, outlined below.

  • The age of the iMac.
    Many guides are for modern iMacs or MacBooks, which may behave differently, and since I don't use Apple computers, I don't know what applies and what doesn't).
  • No CD Drive and no OS X install disk.
    Self-explanatory: the CD/DVD combo whatever doesn't function properly, and I do not possess any Apple installation software.
  • No Administrator Password.
    The person who gave it to me does not have it. This prevents, among other things, installing rEFInd.
  • I do not run, nor am I interested in running, Ubuntu.
    Any solution which requires me to do something with quasi-proprietary Ubuntu software does me no good either.

I suppose my question is does anyone know of a method or a guide that will help me in this particular situation? I have a few USB sticks lying around with Linux installers on them, but none of them work on this Mac. If I insert them and reboot it just hangs at a white screen. Pressing and holding ⌥ alt/option does nothing.

  • I made this successfully work once, but I had a CD drive... you could probably open your mac and use a laptop DVD drive of the same age with the mac's pin adapter thing, but you'd have to leave it out of the case while booting. I needed to use a plop boot CD to make it boot my USB drive.
    – Wyatt Ward
    Feb 24, 2015 at 22:53

1 Answer 1


Standard pc linux install media will not work because it assumes bios. You need EFI install media (probably 32 bit even on 64 bit computers) and finding 32 bit EFI install media is difficult.

I think your machine may be a candidate for netbooting. The way to check is to hold down "n" during startup. If you get a globe (solid, blinking, or spinning) this will work. If not you will have to take it apart, remove the hard drive, put the hard drive in another computer, install linux, and put it back, but blessing the image becomes even more difficult.

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