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Jun 21, 2011 @ 8:34pm / admin

Steve says Snow Leopard is a required first for a Lion clean install

This email from Steve follows on from the last email a reader sent in.

Along the same lines, the user is concerned that they will have no bootable media for a clean install of Lion.  It has been noted on several other blogs that OS X Lion does create a separate recovery partition to enable clean installs from a working system.  In the event of a total hard disk failure where the only option is a full re-install it does seem to be the case as Steve points out that the official reinstallation procedure involves first installing Mac OS X Leopard.

OS X Daily has a great overview of Lion’s clean install and Snow Leopard requirements.  It should be noted that the article refers to the developer previews of Lion so certain details may change once Lion is officially released.  In review:

  • You need Mac OS X 10.6.6 or greater to download Mac OS X 10.7 Lion from the Mac App Store
  • The Mac App Store is why 10.6.6 is listed as a system requirement for 10.7
  • Lion requires Snow Leopard to download, but Lion does not require you to upgrade over an existing Snow Leopard installation
  • Once you have downloaded Lion from the App Store, you start the installation process within Snow Leopard (unless you use an unofficial boot DVD)
  • The OS X Lion Installer allows clean installs on new hard drives or new partitions (see image at the very top of post) if the target installation drive is blank
  • You can also unofficially create your own bootable Lion installation DVD and perform a clean install through that (it’s not supported by Apple, but this would remove the Snow Leopard requirement completely)
  • Unless Apple removes the ability to change the target disk for Lion to install on, or removes the dmg file from the downloaded package, all of this should stay the same

Over to the email!:

On Jun 20, 2011, at 9:57 PM, xxxx wrote:


I’m really exited about Lion, but I’m a bit anxious about the absence of any physical media in the event of a crash where I need to do a clean install. Will Lion still provide a way to make a bootable image in the event that I need to start from scratch?

And Steve’s response which has led to some debate:

From: Steve Jobs
Subject: Re: Lion clean install
Date: June 21, 2011 7:55:05 AM PDT
To: xxxx

You can clean install Snow Leopaard [sic] first.

Sent from my iPhone



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