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I have an old Mac Mini G4. I'm trying to do a fresh OS install on it. According to my searches, the last OS version that will run on it is 10.5.8. I have several install disks lying around, which came with various Macs I've bought over the years.

I've been trying to install some of these on my Mini G4, but when I reboot from e.g. a 10.5.4 installation CD or DVD, I get a message that my Mac isn't supported by this installer. These disks are labeled with the OS version, but offer no indication of which Macs I can use them on.

Is there a way to check which Macs can be installed from a given installation CD/DVD?

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  • Those discs are most likely DVD not CD. How many discs do you have that you can't look at the OS version on the disc and just try the ones that are within the version range for that particular Mac mini? Jan 23 '16 at 13:22
  • The Mini has a CD reader, so it wouldn't have been able to read a DVD at all. I have few enough CDs that I can afford to try them all. it's just a bit annoying that I have to. I'd prefer to know instead of guess/try.
    – Hobbes
    Jan 23 '16 at 14:43
  • The Mac mini G4 (PowerMac10,1 and PowerMac10,2) have a 8x24x16x24x DVD/CD-RW Combo or 4x8x16x8x24x SuperDrive (PowerMac10,1) and 32x DVD/CD-RW Combo or 8x DVD±RW/CD-RW SuperDrive (PowerMac10,2) all of which handle DVDs. Additionally, my Mac OS X Install Discs back to that time are DVD not CD. Jan 23 '16 at 15:05
  • you're right, it's a CD-RW/DVD combo. That doesn't change the question though.
    – Hobbes
    Jan 23 '16 at 15:52
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Here is a complete list of all OS X versions and builds included with Mac computers. To get the build number of a DVD check the /System/Library/CoreServices/SystemVersion.plist file that is on the Install Media.

The string value for the Key ProductBuildVersion is the information you are looking for.

Now you can either check all of the bundled DVDs for the proper build number of your Mac Mini G4 or you can hack any of the DVDs (which potentially could be installed on your Mac) and include your machine in the "allowed" targets.

As an alternative you may "search" for a proper retail version.

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If you check the listings for everymac.com, the site lists the software version each machine ships with.

The early G4 mac minis (1.25GHz & 1.42Gz) shipped with 10.3.7, later version shipped with 10.4.2.

If you have multiple macs with firewire & dvd drives, you can force the secondary mac to target drive mode, and use the TDM mac as an external DVD drive for the mac mini; from what I have heard, you can use gray install disks in an external optical drive, bypassing the gray DVD install lock.

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