Erase and Install Method for macOS 10.5 Leopard

Get started with macOS 10.5 Leopard

OS X Leopard introduction in an Apple store

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If you'd like to upgrade to macOS Leopard (10.5) from an earlier system, you will need to decide what type of installation to perform. There are three types of installation: Upgrade, Archive and Install, and Erase and Install. The last option, Erase and Install, is also known as a clean install because it fully erases the selected drive volume before installing macOS 10.5.

The advantage of Erase and Install is that it allows you to start fresh, leaving behind any debris from previous versions. The Erase and Install option should, therefore, offer the cleanest, smallest, and best performing version of macOS 10.5. It can also be the quickest install when you are purposely creating a fresh install with no user data to restore. For example, if you’re handing your computer off to someone else, you might not want them to have access to your old information.

Of course, there are downsides to using Erase and Install, particularly if you intend to restore your user data. Unless you make advance preparations, the erase process will wipe out all of your data. If you want to restore your user data, you will need to first create a backup of your existing startup drive, so you can selectively reinstall the data you need after you install macOS 10.5.

What You Need

If you’re ready to perform an Erase and Install of macOS Leopard, then gather up the necessary items:

  • A Mac with a G4, G5, or Intel processor, 512 MB of RAM, a DVD drive, and at least 9 GB of free space.
  • A macOS 10.5 Leopard Install DVD.
  • A half-hour to two hours of time. The amount of time the installation will take depends on the type of Mac you’re installing macOS 10.5 on.

Booting From the Leopard Install DVD

MacBook Pro ejecting optical media
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Installing OS X Leopard requires you to boot from the Leopard Install DVD. There are multiple ways to start this boot process, including a method for when you’re unable to access your Mac’s desktop.

Start the Process

  1. Insert the macOS 10.5 Leopard Install DVD into your Mac’s DVD drive.

  2. After a few moments, a macOS Install DVD window will open.

  3. Double-click Install Mac OS X.

  4. When the Install Mac OS X window opens, select Restart.

  5. Enter your administrator password, then select OK.

  6. Your Mac will restart and boot from the installation DVD. Restarting from the DVD can take a while.

Starting the Process: Alternative Method

The alternative way to start the install process is to boot directly from the DVD, without first mounting the installation DVD on your desktop. Use this method when you’re having problems and unable to boot to your desktop.

  1. Start your Mac while holding down the option key.

  2. Your Mac will display the Startup Manager, and a list of icons that represent all of the bootable devices available to your Mac.

  3. Insert the Leopard Install DVD into a slot-loading DVD drive, or press the eject key and insert the Leopard Install DVD into a tray-loading drive.

  4. After a few moments, the Install DVD should show as one of the bootable icons. If it doesn’t, select the reload icon indicated by a circular arrow, or, if you don't see the button, restart your Mac.

  5. Once the Leopard Install DVD icon displays, select it to restart your Mac and boot from the installation DVD.

Verify and Repair Your Hard Drive

Disk Utility First Aid in OS X

After it restarts, your Mac will guide you through the installation process. Although the guided instructions are usually all you’ll need for a successful installation, we’re going to take a detour and use Apple’s Disk Utility to make sure that your hard drive is up to snuff before installing your new Leopard OS.

Verify and Repair Your Hard Drive

  1. Select the main language OS X Leopard should use, then select the right-facing arrow.

  2. The Welcome window will display, offering to guide you through the installation.

  3. Select Disk Utility from the Utilities menu located at the top of the display.

  4. When Disk Utility opens, select the hard drive volume you wish to use for the Leopard installation.

  5. Select the First Aid tab.

  6. Select Repair Disk. This will start the process of verifying and repairing the selected hard drive volume, if necessary. If any errors are noted, you should repeat the Repair Disk process until Disk Utility reports "The volume (volume name) appears to be OK."

  7. Once the verification and repair are complete, select Quit Disk Utility from the Disk Utility menu.

  8. You will be returned to the Welcome window of the Leopard installer. Select Continue to proceed with the installation.

Choosing Leopard Installation Options

Mac OS X Snow Leopard install software box
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Installation Options

MacOS 10.5 Leopard has multiple installation options, including Upgrade Mac OS X, Archive and Install, and Erase and Install. They allow you to select the type of installation and hard drive volume to install the operating system on. You can also customize the software packages that are to be installed. While there are lots of options available, these instructions cover the basic steps for completing the Erase and Install of Leopard.

  1. When you completed the last step, you were shown Leopard’s license terms. Select Agree to proceed.

  2. The Select a Destination window will display, listing all of the hard drive volumes that the Leopard installer was able to find on your Mac.

  3. Select the hard drive volume you wish to install Leopard on. You can select any of the volumes listed, including any that has a yellow warning sign.

  4. Select Options. (Later versions of the installer changed the option button to Customize.)

  5. The Options window will display the three types of installations that can be performed: Upgrade Mac OS X, Archive and Install, and Erase and Install. This tutorial assumes that you will choose Erase and Install.

    If you don’t intend to erase the selected hard drive volume, do not proceed any further with this tutorial, because all of the data on the selected hard drive volume will be lost during the installation.

  6. Select Erase and Install.

  7. Use the Format disk as drop-down menu to set the formatting options to Mac OS X Extended (Journaled). Select Continue to erase and format the selected hard drive volume.

Customize the Leopard Software Packages

Print button on macOS computer digital display screen
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During the installation of macOS 10.5 Leopard, you can choose the software packages that will be installed.

Customize the Software Packages

  1. The Leopard installer will display a summary of what will be installed. Select Customize.

  2. A list of the software packages set to be installed will appear. Two of the packages (Printer Drivers and Language Translations) can be pared down to reduce the amount of space needed for the installation. On the other hand, if you have plenty of storage space, you can just leave the software package selections as is.

  3. Select the expansion triangle next to Printer Drivers and Language Translation.

  4. Remove the checkmarks from any printer drivers you don’t need. If you have plenty of hard drive space, you should install all of the drivers. This will make it easy to change printers in the future, without worrying about installing additional drivers. If space is tight and you must remove some printer drivers, select the ones you’re most unlikely to use.

  5. Remove the checkmarks from any languages you don’t need. Most users can safely remove all of the languages, but if you need to view documents or web sites in other languages, be sure to leave those languages selected.

  6. Select Done to return to the Install Summary window, then select Install.

  7. The installation will begin by checking the install DVD to make sure it’s free of errors. This process can take some time. Once the check is finished, the actual installation process will begin. A progress bar will display with an estimate of the time remaining. The estimate may seem much too long to begin with, but as progress occurs, it will become more realistic.

  8. When the installation is complete, your Mac will automatically restart.

Setup Assistant and Detecting Your Keyboard

Mac keyboard with iMac
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With the installation completed, the Leopard Setup Assistant will start by displaying a "Welcome to Leopard" movie. When the short movie is finished, you will be directed through the setup process, where you will register your installation of macOS, and be offered the option to transfer account and user data from another computer.

Third-Party Keyboard Setup

You don't have to use an Apple-supplied keyboard; most Windows-based keyboards will work just fine. The Setup Assistant will walk you through the process of determining the type of keyboard you have.

  1. The Keyboard Setup window will display. Select OK to start the keyboard detection process.

  2. Press the key to the right of the shift key that is located on the left side of your keyboard.

  3. Press the key to the left of the shift key that is located on the right side of your keyboard.

  4. Your keyboard type will be identified. Select Continue to proceed.

Setting up Your Mac

  1. From the list, select the country or region where you will be using your Mac.

  2. From the list, select the keyboard layout you wish to use.

  3. Setup Assistant will offer to transfer data from another Mac, another volume, or a Time Machine backup. Since you’re doing a clean install, with no user data to recover, select Do not transfer my information now.

  4. Select Continue.

  5. Enter your Apple ID and password. This information is optional; you can leave the fields blank if you wish. Select Continue.

  6. Enter your registration information, then select Continue.

  7. Use the drop-down menus to tell Apple’s marketing folks where and why you use your Mac. Select Continue, then select Continue once more to send your registration information to Apple.

Create the Administrator Account

Administrator account creation in OS X

Your Mac needs at least one administrator account. At this point in the setup process, you will be asked to create the first user account, which will also be the administrator account.

Create the Administrator Account

  1. Enter your name in the Name field. You can use spaces, capital letters, and punctuation. This will be your account username.

  2. Enter a short name in the Short Name field. macOS uses the short name as the name for your Home directory, and for the internal user account information used by various system tools. The short name is limited to 255 lower case characters, with no spaces allowed. Although you can use up to 255 characters, try to keep the name short. Short names are very difficult to change once they’ve been created, so be sure that you’re happy with the short name you create before you continue.

  3. Enter a password for the administrator account, then enter the password a second time in the Verify field.

  4. Optionally, you can enter a descriptive hint about the password in the Password Hint field. This should be something that will jog your memory if you forget your password. Do not enter the actual password. Select Continue.

  5. Select a picture from the list of available images. This picture will be associated with your user account and will appear during login and other events while you’re using your Mac. If you have a compatible webcam connected to your Mac, you will be offered the option to use the webcam to take your picture and to use that image with your account.

  6. Make your selection, then select Continue.

Welcome to the Leopard Desktop

Desktop wallpapers in OS X

Your Mac has finished setting up macOS Leopard, but there’s one last button to click. Select Go. You will be automatically logged in with the administrator account you created earlier, and the desktop will display. Take a good look at your desktop in its pristine state, because if you’re like many users, it will never look this clean and organized again!