Mac Mini OS install disks incompatible? Why?

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Hawaii Cruiser's picture
Joined: Jan 20 2005
Posts: 1434

I decided I needed to buy a G4 Mac Mini simply because of the quiet factor, so I somewhat impulsively went to eBay and snatched up one that looked good--1.42Ghz G4, superdrive. Well, after winning it and contacting the seller I discover a couple of annoying factors which didn't make the purchase quite a happy one, so I went back to eBay and snatched up another G4 Mini (which turned out to be a much better deal), figuring that after rummaging between the two shipments and putting together the setup I want, that I would then go and sell the Mini setup that was leftover. The second auction Mini was, unbeknownst to the seller, not a 1.42Ghz model like it said on its box, but actually one of the late "1.42 G4" labeled lucky surprise 1.5Ghz G4 models--in many ways a much better machine than the 1.42Ghz model.

Well, not hard to guess which model I decided to keep and which I'm going to sell?

The first auction, the 1.42 model, came with OS 10.3.7 install disks. The 1.5Ghz model came with OS 10.4.2 install disks. I thought I'd try installing the OS 10.4.2 onto the 1.42Ghz model using the 1.5Ghz's install disks. And what happens? Ye Olde "This software cannot be installed on this computer."

Now please, someone tell me. Why in the world can't the 10.4.2 install disk work on the 1.42Ghz G4 Mac Mini? What possible factors could keep that from happening? It seems completely ridiculous. Thanks in advance.

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Hawaii Cruiser's picture
Joined: Jan 20 2005
Posts: 1434
The mind-forged manacles

Well, mulling the question over in my mind, I suspect I've probably deduced the answer on my own. It comes down to, basically, "it's not the hardware, stupid, it's the law!" And that pop-up window would be more to the point if it said, "This software SHALT NOT be installed on this computer." I'm probably in for an EULA lecturing here, aren't I?

Just the facts, m'am:

According to Lowendmac, both machines use a 7457B G4 processor. According to the Minis used a 7447 G4 processor, and makes no distinctions between the different models.

According to Apple's G4 Mini Specs Page, the "original" Mini model numbers were M9686LL/B (1.25 GHz Combo), M9687LL/B (1.42 GHz), M9971LL/B (1.42 GHz SuperDrive). According to Lowendmac, the later "secret" model numbers were M9687LL/A (1.33 GHz), M9687LL/A (1.5 GHz). There is no acknowledgement of the secret models at Apple, presumably. only has one G4 Mini page listing a gestalt ID of 406 (I guess all New World Macs are 406) and a codename of Q88. There seems to have been three revisions of the G4 Mini as described here. Notice that on Apple's Specs Pages that there is only one G4 Mini specs page--the "original" Mini--with no specs pages for the Rev.B or the 1.33/1.5Ghz models (the other three Mini spec pages are Intel Minis). My 1.5Ghz G4 Mini did not exist, does not exist, nor will it ever exist (and it's mission is "to proceed up to the Nung River in a Navy patrol boat..."). So since it doesn't exist, then it shouldn't have it's own particular machine ID, of course. Of course not. The software shouldn't notice any differences. The hardware of all the G4 Minis is basically variations on a identical theme--no hardware differences that would necessitate incompatible software between them, one would think. So why the no install?

Here's the answer?: In System Profiler, the machine model of the 1.42 is listed as "Mac mini," while the 1.5's Profiler lists its machine model as "PowerMac10,2". According to the Apple Museum ID page, the original Mini was "PowerMac10,1" and the "Late 2005" Mini was "PowerMac10,2". So is it that the Tiger disks can recognize the ID and are insuring compliance with the EULA? Is it as simple as that?

And another question: why doesn't Apple acknowledge the existence of the 1.33/1.5Ghz G4 Minis? Not that I'm complaining...just curious...about the nice gift horse. It's teeth are more than fine. They're superior. Does Apple actually have moments of great modesty?

Jon's picture
Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 2804
The brown box & the "real" bo

The brown box & the "real" box for my 1.5 mini is listed as a 1.42 with a M9971LL/B part no. w/ Model no. A1103 (which is also in the text on the bottom rubber pad) so it's very safe to assume that LEM is wrong on this one. Of course just because I have two boxes in hand and the "silent upgrade" mini that came in them doesn't mean I can actually refute the awesome vat of knowledge that is LEM. Wink FWIW, I was able to install 10.4 on my G3 iBook via the mini and FW target mode on the iBook (no DVD drive). You might try something similar from the 1.5 to the 1.42.


I am not in this world to live up to other people's expectations, nor do I feel that the world must live up to mine. - Fritz Perls

dankephoto's picture
Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 1900
odd indeed

I just checked at Apple's training pages and they don't show the existence of the 1.3/1.5 either.

Heh, here's a practical and useful idea - underclock your 1.5 to 1.42 and see if the installer still works. Wink

dan k


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eeun's picture
Joined: Dec 19 2003
Posts: 1891
Did Apple change the software

Did Apple change the software bundle when the silent speed-bump was introduced?
Apple has created machine-specific installers before, based on both hardware requirements and included software bundles.
If there was a newer version of iLife, etc. than the previous minis, it would be standard Apple procedure to keep an otherwise retail software suite from being installable on anything other than the Mac it came with.
Or, perhaps Apple decided that since they had to modify the installer to allow for the new mini gestalt (or whatever it's called now) that they'd lock down the disc for the same reasons above.

As dankephoto notes, it would be interesting to see what the installer is looking for - whether it's a machine ID, or CPU speed. You could also check the installer script using the methods noted in another thread for installing Leopard on unsupported Macs.


"Give a man a fire, he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life."
(Terry Pratchett)

madmax_2069's picture
Joined: Sep 24 2005
Posts: 664
does it have a different mach

does it have a different machine ID, if it does then underclocking the CPU will not help, some of these machine specific install CD/DVD's have machine ID blocks for any other Mac then the one it was intended for.


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