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I have Snow Leopard installed and only have the original disk of Lion that came with the Mini Mac. The Mac won't boot and stalls during the reboot phase. Obviously I don't have a recovery partition with Snow Leopard.

My query is twofold. First can I just put the disk in the dvd drive and try rebooting from the disk. Second, will I lose data and apps? If so appreciate guidance on how.

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To boot from the DVD:

Press and hold the C key on your keyboard immediately upon hearing the startup chime. Your Mac should start up from the OS X installer CD/DVD media. (source)

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  • Thank you, My second query was not included. Will I lose data and apps? – dm57 Aug 2 '19 at 12:06
  • @dm57 Not if you don't format the drive, no. (But as always, backup anyway to be safe) – Wowfunhappy Aug 2 '19 at 13:13
  • Thank you. I can reinstall without formatting? – dm57 Aug 2 '19 at 13:19
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By default, installing a newer OS on an existing volume does not over-write user data.

However, it's possible that your (elderly) Mac won't boot because the hard drive is failing, rather than because the OS is no longer functional. 'Hard work' for the disk like installing several GB of data may finish it off. It's worth doing a check of the disk with Disk Utility when booted from the installer DVD.

As said in the comments, make sure you have a backup before proceeding.

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  • Many thanks. I couldn't get to disk utility with no recovery partition with Snow Leopard but I was able to do the hardware check and no issues were reported with the hard drive or any of the hardware components. I have my data backed up on cloud and usb but would like my apps to survive ifI can achieve it. – dm57 Aug 6 '19 at 12:28

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