I have a 2006 MacBook (white, Core Duo) on which the hard disk crashed (it's not even recognized by the system anymore).

I will need to replace the hard disk, possibly with an SSD one, but since I was still running Tiger I figured out it's probably as good a time as any to upgrade that as well.

However, when Snow Leopard was introduced, I seem to remember the cheaper upgrade disk required Leopard to be installed. Nowadays, it seems only that disk is available from Apple, and it doesn't really specify Leopard as a requirement. I don't see a "full install" disk any more (and to be honest I'm not sure I want to pay that price either.)

Did Apple change this requirement because they don't care as much about older versions any longer, or is it still there, but undocumented?

Will I be able to install Snow Leopard from scratch on a new, blank, disk, without having any copy of Leopard whatsoever? Would it be legal?

2 Answers 2


While Apple stated that Leopard was required to install Snow Leopard, there was no technical limitation put in place.

From the day it came out Snow Leopard could be installed over top of Tiger or as a clean install. I don't believe Apple has ever released an 'upgrade' OS. The full installs have always been available, at least since OS X.

  • This is all correct. Apple doesn't release "upgrade" vs "full" versions of OS X. They are all full versions. The only bit of confusion that comes into play is that the disc that comes with any given model of Apple computer will only work on that model. That said, I do believe that Snow Leopards licensing says you are supposed to also have Leopard but there is absolutely no methods used to verify and/or enforce that. You can do what you wish with that knowledge :)
    – Dustin
    Dec 1, 2011 at 19:14

You can install from scratch!

When using a new SSD, format as GUID before installing. Also you should check whether you got the latest firmware on your SSD.

About the apple's policies: I don't think anyone can answer that question. It would be rather speculative.

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