I have an iMac from 2010 and the Snow Leopard DVD and I am trying to do a clean install of Snow Leopard on it. Then, if I use the Install Snow Leopard option from the DVD, when it restarts it hangs on the apple icon, but if I restart the Mac nothing happened to my HDD.

I also tried using booting the DVD by holding 'Option' when I restart it, and after I choose to boot from the DVD, it hangs on the apple icon and I can hear that the DVD stop spinning.

I boot it on safe mode and use the Apple Hardware Diagnose Tool and no issues have been shown. I will appreciate if anyone have an idea of how I can perform this clean install. Thanks!

  • You could have a bad dvd. Commented Dec 25, 2019 at 3:23
  • Why do you want to install such a old operating system? Commented Dec 25, 2019 at 5:19
  • 1
    @DavidAnderson (A) Snow Leopard is awesome. 😎 (B) It'll run more quickly on such an old Mac. (Just be cautious online, SL has many known vulnerabilities.) Commented Dec 25, 2019 at 16:19
  • @DavidAnderson ...and 10.7 dropped Rosetta.
    – ssokolow
    Commented Mar 22 at 18:41

2 Answers 2


A Snow Leopard DVD may not work on a 2010 iMac. For example, according to everymac.com a iMac11,2 (21.5-inch, Mid-2010) came preinstalled with OS X 10.6.3. So, if your Snow Leopard DVD is OS X 10.6 then you should expect problems when booting.

Note: While one may think 10.6 should be 10.6.0, doing so would differ from Apple conventions. For example, see an image of the Snow Leopard 10.6 DVD or the system requirements for the Mac OS X 10.6.8 Update Combo v1.1.

  • @Wowfunhappy Yes, but to emphasise the numerical series, it seemed like a useful edit. Zero being less than three, and all. It's easy to read 10.6 as generically all versions of Snow Leopard. ;-) Another edit for clarity would be "if your DVD is the original release of 10.6,"
    – benwiggy
    Commented Dec 25, 2019 at 16:25
  • @Wowfunhappy: If you are clever, you use VirtualBox to install OS X 10.6. Next, upgrade to 10.6.8. If necessary, clone the result to the desired Mac. Commented Dec 25, 2019 at 16:26
  • I've added a separate answer below with a bit more detail on versions, to try to clear up confusion. Commented Dec 25, 2019 at 17:08
  • It's even worse than this, because in addition to different versions of 10.6, there are also different builds of many versions. According to everymac, that Mac requires 10.6.3 build 10D2322a. That's a model-specific build, indicating the model came out after 10.6.3, and they added things to support the new hardware config. The generic build of 10.6.3 (10D575, I think) won't have support for that model. Generic 10.6.4 or later probably would, but I don't think Apple ever shipped an installer DVD for that. Commented Dec 25, 2019 at 20:58
  • @GordonDavisson: This is probably why Apple released an iMac EFI Update 1.8 which would allow a 2010 iMac to use internet recovery. If the OP's Mac has this update, then a DVD would not be necessary to reinstall OS X. Although, this OS X would not be Snow Leopard. Commented Dec 25, 2019 at 22:22

According to @David Anderson (thanks!), the 2010 iMac came preinstalled with Snow Leopard 10.6.3. Therefore, there's a good chance that earlier versions of Snow Leopard (10.6.0–10.6.2) will not contain the necessary drivers for your machine, and will be impossible to install.

Apple released at least two retail Snow Leopard installation DVDs—I own one which comes with 10.6.0, and one which comes with 10.6.3. If you have an earlier DVD, that may explain why the OS is unable to boot.

So, one thing you could try is tracking down a 10.6.3 installation DVD, on eBay or similar. The disk you're looking for has part number MC573Z/A. There also appears to be an image of this DVD in the Internet Archive's Software Library, but I cannot personally vouch for its authenticity.

Another option is to install your DVD inside of a VM, upgrade to 10.6.8 within the VM, and then clone the VM to your hard disk. However, this route is made quite tricky by the fact that most VM software will refuse to install non-server editions of Snow Leopard, due to a licensing restriction that Apple lifted starting with Lion.

  • You should read Gordon Davisson's comment made to my answer. If correct, then your answer would be inaccurate. In other words, a generic OS X 10.6.3 DVD may not work either. Also, VirtualBox will run Snow Leopard 10.6 and 10.6.8 without any licensing restrictions. VirtualBox is a free product from Oracle. Commented Dec 25, 2019 at 22:50

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