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Solved How does Macintosh handle licensing.

October 31, 2015 at 22:29:34
Specs: OS 9, Pentium 4/ PC2700
I picked up a couple a Power Mac G4 machines. I plan to wipe the drives and reinstall an OS. I have done this with windows and Linux machines before, but I have no Macintosh experience. How do they handle licensing and installation of their software? I don't see any product key label on the machines.

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October 31, 2015 at 23:06:13
Typically an Apple (Mac) system is registered with Apple by the purchaser (when it's new). The OS software doesn't appear to have key as in Windows etc.; presumably as the actual Mac itself is the license - as it is registered at Apple. At least that's how it appears to me; and I have a Macbook Pro (5yrs old) and a MacMini about 2yrs old. The MacMini has been upgraded at least once from its original OS and there was no mention of a "key".

Possibly you may have to deregister the previous owner and then register yourself with Apple for each machine. To register they usually require a valid email address.

You very likely will not be able install the last two versions of OS X as I think the powerbook is considered ancient history (antique..) in the world of Apple. But check on what each powerbook can use, and check re' whichever Mac OS you are considering as regards hardware specs to confirm what they will handle.

Likely they will run Windows (not sure which versions...) to some degree, but there may be driver issues too. Usually if dual booting Mac and Windows - via Bootcamp - there are Apple provided drivers to accommodate Windows. And - again my limited experience... - I think a Mac OS is required first, to allow Bootcamp to be run and the harddrive then repartioned to accommodate Windows...

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November 1, 2015 at 01:03:54
✔ Best Answer
Your Macs will have been supplied with OS X installation disks and you are entitled to use that version. Any other version requires you to buy a new licence. OS X. 10.5 is the latest one that supports PPC Macs. You can't buy it from Apple any more as it is long out of support, but you can find copies on eBay. Be sure to buy either a retail copy or one intended for your specific machine. There is no registration involved.

Personally I would run a PPC version of Linux on these computers, but it depends what you want to use them for. OS X 10.5 is very old and would be no use for, for example, iOS development.

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