Multiple iMac Nuke and Pave --List of Mac OS ver by Mac Model?

Hi everyone!


  • Need advice re: the best/easiest way to make a bootable thumb drive for multiple iMacs (and some other computers) of indeterminate age (most are 2000-2008-ish, some newer).
  • What (Mac) OS version should I use for max compatibility (for that “year range”)?

I want to:

  • Make backup DMGs of the drives
  • Wipe the computers
  • Load the best OS for each device

Is there an online list of Macs and the highest-version of Max OS they will support to help me during the clean install phase?


When you do something like this, do you all just create a test or demo user so the computer will boot when on sale?

—> Feel free to let me know that you usually avoid this kind of “volunteering” and how you regularly do so!!! <—

:: Longer tale ::

Helping a friend (different friend from several other posts).

I have bitten off more than most would want to chew.

I can do it; but … Gah!!

A widowed friend is trying to clear out her husband’s office and another office that shared space.

I’m going to end up with 4-6 iMacs of various age, a mini we just found in a box, a really old iMac, a MacBook (white plastic ver, which is kind of cool!) a Powerbook G4(!) ((Gasp!)) and some other computers.

Other than the Powerbook G4, there is one white plastic iMac that a friend (with a business that trades in old computers) says they will recycle but not buy.

I want to do a good job for her and

  1. Make disk images they can access later to access files/photos (they’re “sure” they have everything they need but I am not sure(!)).

  2. Wipe these macs and

  3. Load a clean version of the OS on these computers so she can take them somewhere they will offer her any amount for them. …

BTW: I am AMAZED at the $$ loss in our beloved machines over the years… One of the better iMacs I tested is a 14,2 … I remember these in 2013 being the sexiest things on the market and $3,000+ … Now a refurbished one goes for $399???

I have no idea how to even boot the Powerbook G4 from an external thumb drive or DVD. … no power supply and no boxes, disks, etc. on the laptops at all.

I haven’t even mentioned 3 office servers that are headless HP builds and I have no idea what they’re booting. Tempted to pull the drives, plug them into my personal mac, wipe them with a utility; then load the HPs with Linux so they can be donated to Goodwill.

TIA for any help/advice!


Most of what you are trying to work with, you will need a Firewire drive or the DVD discs to reinstall an OS. Only Intel based Macs can boot or restore an OS from USB.

  1. My suggestion is to use an external USB HD for all data. Create a folder based on the name of the computer you are copying the data from and copy the User account there. Do this for each computer. This is easier for people to locate data than a .dmg file. Other issue would be the opening those files because of obsolete software.

  2. Good Luck with this. Do they have any install discs still?

  3. There is no retail value on most of these computers. Collector value maybe but that could take a long time to sell them all. (Maybe Steven Hackett might interested? Just kidding!)

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Thank you!! @MacGuyMI! … I’ll need the luck!

No install disks to be found :frowning:

And I found a cool OSX compatibility chart online:

That is good and bad news – Nothing I have will boot the old, white Macbook we found (could be a 1,1). No power supply for that critter either. My local Experimac franchise is going to loan me one(!). They’re good folks. Anyone in Houston should visit the one on the 610 North Loop/Heights store, even if just to socialize.

re: Retail value. Still stunned that the newest/coolest one shows up online for $399 U.S. (refurb). Sure, it prob. has spinning disks (3TB); but :confounded: :frowning:

Anyway; hope all is well with all!


Image a 10.6 installer on a Firewire drive.
Older Mac’s want boot from USB.

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Would target disk mode be an option or helpful?
That is, boot the vintage Macs in TDM, and copy to a more modern Mac. Wipe the target after, then recycle the machine.

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Target Disk could possibly be useful as long as Tim has Firewire connections on all the systems.

An easy way to erase data might be to create a new User (with Admin privileges), log into the new account and then delete the existing User account.

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