Buying a used iMac, no OSX? Help me, IT gurus! - Vintage Mustang Forums

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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-12-2017, 12:27 PM Thread Starter
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Buying a used iMac, no OSX? Help me, IT gurus!

Calling all IT gods! I noticed that a local college has several used iMacs up for auction. Most are 2009+, with cosmetic damage (no big deal). But their hard drives have been wiped, so the purchaser must provide their own operating system.

Ok...so how would one do this? Can I just walk into an Apple store and buy a copy of El Capitan on disc? Or is this a giant headache that one should avoid at all costs?

I should mention that our current iMac is ancient (2001), and cannot support any upgrades due to lack of memory space. And hubby has no idea where its startup discs are.


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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-12-2017, 01:29 PM
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Make sure the vintage is current enough that it can run the latest version of OS X. Apple crippled some of their models so they can't go past Snow Leopard (10.6.8). Even though the CPU is 64 bit, they can't boot more current revisions of the OS. You can get OS X from the Apple store.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-12-2017, 01:33 PM Thread Starter
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Make sure the vintage is current enough that it can run the latest version of OS X. Apple crippled some of their models so they can't go past Snow Leopard (10.6.8). Even though the CPU is 64 bit, they can't boot more current revisions of the OS. You can get OS X from the Apple store.
Yes - I suspect that's what's going on with our current iMac.

Wish me luck...I'll try calling the Apple store on my hour-long lunch....


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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-12-2017, 03:30 PM
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Gazillions of stuff for the IMac on Ebay.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-12-2017, 05:39 PM Thread Starter
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So I spent about 1/2 hour on the phone with AppleCare. Gave them the serial number off the auction site; no good. Okay...change the S to a 5, add a zero...OH yes that's a 2009 iMac (someone had fat fingered the serial #).

Me: Is it possible, then, to just walk into an Apple store and buy a complete OSX? Like El Capitan? There is NOTHING on the hard drive currently, so I can't download anything.

AC: Yes, you can purchase an OSX install disk at any Apple store, no problem. Just use the disk to install instead of downloading it online.

Me: Cool. Any idea how much El Capitan is? $1000? (New iMacs are $1200 plus...trying to see how much money I can save. Or waste.)

AC: Oh no, nothing like that.

Me: $500? (Calculating the risk vs savings in my head...)

AC: My system shows El Capitan OSX install disks are $20.

Me: Seriously?

AC: Yes, I'm sorry.

Me: Don't be sorry - omg, only $20? So I can potentially get a working iMac - albeit used - for about $150? (DONE).


I guess I know what I'm doing tomorrow. :-)


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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-13-2017, 10:59 AM
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I've had a couple of the Mac Mini in the past. Not a bad deal at 499 if you have a keyboard, mouse, monitor already.

Yes, it's more 3x the cost but its also a current machine and should last a lot longer. Just something to think about.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-13-2017, 12:08 PM
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If they wiped the hard drive, you still have the BIOS or basic OS built into the computer's chips. Apple's OSs are free so you can download one with the following commands. Press the power button to turn on the computer and then immediately press and hold down the buttons OPTION-COMMAND-R. This will load the Recovery console and you can connect to WiFi, choose Install OSX, and it'll download the newest version supported for your computer.

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204904

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201314

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-16-2017, 02:33 PM Thread Starter
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Well, after a trip to the brick-and-mortar Apple store on Saturday, we decided to pass. We were informed that anything older than 2013 will not be able to last much more than a year (?), so they strongly advised against it. Since I need another headache like a hole in my head, we didn't even bid.


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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-16-2017, 03:49 PM
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I have disk image files of older versions of OS-X if you need one.

I build "Hackintoshes" for my computers these days. It's a DIY kind of thing, but it lets you build what you want for a lot less than Apple would charge for the same amount of power. And it is kind of fun tinkering with them and customizing them.

I currently use an Intel i7 based computer running at 4.4ghz that is inside an old aluminum Apple G5 tower case running OS-X Yosemite, that I built for around $600.

See http://tonymacx86.com for more info, and let me know if you want any more info! I'd be happy to help you out!
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-16-2017, 10:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sparky66 View Post
Well, after a trip to the brick-and-mortar Apple store on Saturday, we decided to pass. We were informed that anything older than 2013 will not be able to last much more than a year (?), so they strongly advised against it. Since I need another headache like a hole in my head, we didn't even bid.
Thats BS! My iMac is late 2012 and works flawlessly. I also have my son's ancient 2009 Mac Book Pro that he used through college and all I did was replace the battery and hard drive with a El Cheapo Best Buy SSD drive. It runs Sierra perfectly. My mom uses my brothers old 2008 iMac without issue. I think she is still running Yosemite. Yes, and older Mac might not be able to take advantage of some of the nifty new features available on new Macs, but so what!

Your Apple genius was a frick'in moron! They are trying to sell you a new one. Even when you are unable to update your operating system, they will supply security updates for years.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-17-2017, 02:28 PM
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Thats BS! My iMac is late 2012 and works flawlessly. I also have my son's ancient 2009 Mac Book Pro that he used through college and all I did was replace the battery and hard drive with a El Cheapo Best Buy SSD drive. It runs Sierra perfectly. My mom uses my brothers old 2008 iMac without issue. I think she is still running Yosemite. Yes, and older Mac might not be able to take advantage of some of the nifty new features available on new Macs, but so what!

Your Apple genius was a frick'in moron! They are trying to sell you a new one. Even when you are unable to update your operating system, they will supply security updates for years.
Yeah I agree; Apple wants to sell new computers and not support old ones. They could care less that someone plunked down $2500 of their hard earned money 4 or 5 years ago. Plus their new ones don't have the ports that you previously invested in peripherals for, like Firewire drives etc.

Apple refused to fix my mom's older MacBook laptop; she had to take it to an independent computer store. She doesn't need the latest MacBook, she is perfectly fine with the one she has, she just needed a new hard drive installed. But they tried to sell her a new machine, and refused to repair the machine she owns.

I used to be an Apple fan boy, but for now, Apple will not be getting my money; I'll continue to build my own.

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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-17-2017, 04:48 PM Thread Starter
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I got that feeling they didn't want me to buy it because they wanted to sell us a new one...but they also said they didn't have copies of El Capitan at the store. So we struck out twice, and I'm a horrible gambler. I didn't want the hassle of tracking down an OSX, trying to install it on a questionable hard drive, etc etc. When it comes to computers, I'm definitely a plug-n-play buyer, not a tinkerer - so I'll HYU next time PromoMotion!!


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