Sunday, 10 July 2011

HOW TO: Install OS X Lion 10.7 on an UPGRADED Core Solo or Core Duo Mac

EDIT: It may be better to boot the unsupported Mac into Target Disk Mode and install Lion from another Lion-capable Mac. See this updated post for more information.

If, like me, you took the plunge with your early Intel Core Solo or Core Duo Mac, and upgraded the processor to a Core 2 Duo, you'll no doubt be disappointed that your machine is not supported by the latest version of OS X Lion 10.7. However, the enterprising KingFlathead has come up with a way of getting it to work on these unsupported machines.

With the processors upgraded to a Core 2 Duo, the earlier Intel machines are perfectly capable of running Lion, but as Apple expects users not to open up their machines and tinker with the guts, they block the installer from working on any machines that aren't 'officially supported'. (I'll let others argue as to why that is.)

In any case, the following machines are supported by this method:

  • Mac-F4218EC8 - iMac4,2 - Mid 2006 iMac
  • Mac-F42786C8 - iMac4,1 - Early 2006 iMac
  • Mac-F4208CC8 - MacBook1,1 - Early 2006 MacBook
  • Mac-F42DBEC8 - MacBookPro1,2 - Early 2006 MacBook Pro
  • Mac-F425BEC8 - MacBookPro1,1 - Early (Earlier?) 2006 MacBook Pro
  • Mac-F4208EC8 - Macmini1,1 - Early 2006 Mac Mini
Please note, if you have one of these machines you will still need to upgrade the processor to a Core 2 Duo. This method will only help to get the installer to run. The machine will fail to boot if you don't have the right processor. This can be a fairly involved task, so make sure you are confident working with your machine. Fortunately, these processors can be found reasonably cheaply on eBay.

Acquiring the modified version of OS X Lion



As with any OS upgrade, the first thing to do is make sure you have a full backup of your system, in case things go wrong. Carbon Copy Cloner and SuperDuper! are both excellent tools allowing you to boot and restore from an external hard drive if there is a problem.

In my case, my machine is the 2006 Mini which I upgraded from its original 1.5 GHz Core Solo to a 2 GHz Core 2 Duo, following these directions. As you'll probably know if you're viewing this page, if you try to run the standard installer, you've get a message telling you "This version of Mac OS X 10.7 cannot be installed on this computer."

However, there is a workaround for this using a modified version of the Lion GM if you do a search online. (If you download a torrent, please ensure you do the honest thing and buy a copy of Lion when it is released).

Extracting the installer

Once you've acquired the file you'll need to extract it from the slightly unusual .7z archive. If you are using OS X, the free Keka archiver will be useful for this. Once extracted you will get a folder with a .iso of the installer and a folder called 'Educational Materials'. These are the files that were modified to allow Lion to install on unsupported machines. They are not needed for the install, but are useful if you want to see how the installer was modified.

One thing I noticed was that there was no read me in the folder, however I did a quick search online and was able to find this document, which I found really helpful.

Burning the Disk Image


Unfortunately, I found that the installer didn't work on my Mac Mini. In any case, KingFlathead recommends that you boot your Mac from the disk image to ensure the installer works properly. To do this, use Disk Utility (in your /Applications/Utilities folder, if you are using a Mac) and burn the image on to a DVD or USB Drive.

Make sure you mount the image first, then select the 'Mac OS X Install DVD' installer, rather than the .iso file. Then drag the blank DVD or USB Drive into the destination. Once you click 'Restore' it will take a few minutes for the installer to be restored to your DVD/USB.

I'd recommend using a USB drive rather than a DVD, as the installation will be much faster. If using a USB drive, make sure it is at least 8GB.

Booting from DVD/USB

This was the part that caused me the most headaches. As you probably know, you can hold the Option key when you boot a Mac to select a disk to boot from. However, my Mac Mini would ignore my key presses and boot straight into the default OS.

After some searching around, I found that there was an issue with the wired Apple Aluminium Keyboard not responding to any key presses during the boot sequence on the Mac Mini. Eventually, I had to use a different keyboard and the rEFIt boot menu to allow me to select my USB drive. (Depending on your machine, you may have more success, but I think mine was the worst case scenario).

Running the installer


Once I had booted into the installer, the installation itself went like clockwork. It took
somewhere in the region of 35 minutes to install over my current system (did I mention making a backup?!)

Unfortunately, it was getting quite late and I fell asleep during the install! However, when I woke up I was greeted with the welcome screens for setting up a new user. I was a bit concerned because it looked as though I'd lost my user account and was starting from scratch (although, of course, I had my trusty backup to rely on... ahem).

However, when I tried to create a new account with same name as my old account, the installer wouldn't let me, so it appeared that my account was still there. I went ahead and created a new account (although I probably could have rebooted my machine and booted straight into my existing account. Had I not fallen asleep, I'd have probably had a better idea!)


Anyway, once I'd finally booted in to my existing user account, everything was as it should be and I now have a perfectly functional copy of Lion on my unsupported Early 2006 Mac Mini 1,1







I hope you find this guide useful. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to get in touch.

Enjoy Lion!


66 comments:

  1. This was super helpful. I upgraded my Mini 1,1 specifically to take advantage of Lion.

    Do you suppose future Lion updates will require special versions, or will they install on top of this as-is from Apple?

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  2. As I understand it, the GM is the same build as the App Store version will update in the same way. I've read comments from people using GM builds of OS X 10.5 and 10.6 and they said they had no problems with updates.

    I suppose we'll know for certain when 10.7.1 is released!

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  3. Would you mind posting a list of the contents of the 'Education Materials' folder? It would save having to download the torrent, as I have a feeling I may already have everything I need...

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  4. Yeah, good idea. I'll do that when I have access to the original folder tonight (unless someone else can post it before then?)

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  5. Hi, I've uploaded just the 'Educational Materials' folder to http://dl.dropbox.com/u/8905828/Educational%20Materials.zip

    It's only a 473kb zip folder.

    I've also found a link that shows you how to build your own version of the installer, if you would prefer:
    http://www.obviouslogic.com:8080/solutions/lion-vmware/

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  6. @Vurey,

    Do you have another link showing how to build our own version of the installer? I'd rather not trust the Torrents... and the link you posted at 09:15 on 11 July is not loading for me... Thx.

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  7. Hey, it looks like the original page showing how to build the installer has gone. There is a cached version here though:
    http://goo.gl/07s8u

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  8. I burned the torrent ISO to DVD via both Toast and Disk Utility. When the Install Mac OS app is run, it says the application is damaged and to download an uncorrupted version from the App Store. Neither DVDs are bootable. Am I doing something wrong?

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  9. Trying to run the 'Install Mac OS' app is a known problem, because the files have been modified, so it thinks its been damaged.

    In my case I was unable to boot from the DVD, but I think it's a problem with my DVD drive, as I have problems playing commercial DVDs. I used an 8GB USB stick which I restored in Disk Utility

    Make sure when you burn the image that you mount the .iso on your desktop and then drag 'Mac OS X Install DVD' into the source field and not 'Mac OS X 10.7.iso' Otherwise it won't work properly.

    Finally, I found that I was unable to boot from USB because I was using a Wired Aluminium Apple Keyboard with a Mac Mini, which has a known issue of accepting commands at startup. I had to use a different keyboard.

    If you still can't get the the EFI menu where you select your startup disk, try using rEFIt boot menu. This forces your mac to go to a boot menu on startup. You can then delete this app when you successfully upgrade.

    Good luck!

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  10. OK, I (the first and last Anonymous above) finally got this to work. It didn't really matter whether I burned the ISO or the "Mac OS X Install DVD" -- for some reason neither one was recognizable as a bootable option in the "Startup Disk" System Preferences. But when I inserted the DVD into the drive and held down C while booting the computer, the DVD did boot the machine and the rest went just like you said. Now running 10.7 on my 2006 Mini, upgraded to a 2.33GHz Core 2 Duo chip. Thank you Vurey!

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  11. I burned the torrent ISO to external HDD via Disk Utility. When I boot it appears a forbidden simbol... Thx

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  12. Have you tried making sure the external HDD is formatted as Mac OS Extended (Journaled) with a GUID Partition table?

    See this post for more details

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  13. Yes, it's correctly formatted. I have a MacBookPro1,1 with 2Gb RAM

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  14. Have you upgraded the processor to a Core 2 Duo? Lion won't work on a 32 bit processor.

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  15. Absolute kudos and THANKS to Vurey for this guide. It's been SUPER helpful!

    All you people trying to install on 32-bit-only Core Solos and Core Duos... get it thru your heads... 10.7 is solidly 64-bit even though the kernel and extensions are universal... meaning IT WON'T RUN ON A 32-BIT CHIP! :)

    Become a tech-head and swap your chip with a T7200 off eBay and you'll be a happy camper following this guide! :)

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  16. Does any guide exist for swapping the CPU in a Macbook Pro from Core Duo to Core2Duo? Could you please post a link? I've always thought it was completely impossible!
    Thanks a lot!

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  17. I have a core duo imac and swapped out the processor for a t7600 2.33 ghz core2duo. I am getting an error saying osx 10.7 can't install on this machine when I boot off a USB that I burned the iso image to. Any help would be great.

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  18. I did the exact same thing with my iMac and the GM wont install either!

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  19. Anybody try applying Lion Server onto their upgraded Mini? Just wondering if it will require another round of installer hacking, or if it sees Lion already installed and says, "Good enough for me."

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  20. I also have a Macbook Pro Core Duo. I thought it was impossible to upgrade to a Core2Duo. If any one has a link to a guide that would be fantastic.

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  21. Thanks for the ISO, it worked great on my 2006 Mac mini with core 2 duo upgrade. I think it may however be affecting software updates, none of the OS level updates like Remote Desktop Client Update will install.

    It fails with this error message:

    "Remote Desktop Client Update can't be installed on this disk. An error occurred while evaluating JavaScript for the package."

    Perhaps something unidentified in the system profiler is causing the issue?

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  22. Hmm, haven't had a chance to test software updates. I must admit, I've gone back to Snow Leopard on my Mac Mini. There were a couple of issues with not being able to wake it from sleep using the remote or on a schedule that made it unusable for me (I use my Mini as a HTPC, so being able to wake it at the press of the remote is essential)

    I'll see what happens with 10.7.1 when it comes out, and might reinstall then. Sorry I can't help work through this with you!

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  23. I am looking buying the core 2 duo processor for my macbook pro 2006. Is their a specific 2.4Ghz mobile cpu I should buy? I want to get 10.7 to work on my hardware

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  24. Currently look at ebay for core2 duo cpu.

    Here
    http://shop.ebay.com/i.html?CPU%2520Type=Core%25202%2520Duo&Clock%2520Speed=2%252E4%2520GHz&rt=nc&Computer%2520Type=Laptop&_nkw=core%202%20duo%20cpu&_dmd=1&_dmpt=CPUs&_fln=1&_sop=12&_ssov=1&_trksid=p3286.c0.m282

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  25. Isn't the processor soldered on the macBook Pro so you can't upgrade?

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  26. You're right, it looks like the Macbook Pro is a no-go. Sorry.
    Details on Everymac

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  27. Oh we cant upgrade processors on Mac-F42DBEC8 - MacBookPro1,2 - Early 2006 MacBook Pro.

    The CPU is soldered onto the motherboard.
    Looks like they want me to buy new mac for osx lion. I got almost 6 years out of my macbook.

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  28. what about removing /System/Library/CoreServices/PlatformSupport.plist
    will that allow it to run on a non-upgraded processor mac ?

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  29. Hello,
    First off thanks so much for your excellent guide! Upgraded my Mac Mini 1,1 (now 2.0 c2d/2gb ram) to Lion. As a follow-up, Lion Server will not install from the app store for the same reason that Lion won't. It says "Server can't be installed on 'drive x'". Any ideas on a workaround?
    Thanks

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  30. Another follow-up regarding Lion Server. In the Apple Support forum, apparently Lion won't install on some hard drives and gives the same error "Lion can't be installed on 'drive x'". The fix is to temporarily repartition the hard drive which should allow install. Unfortunately, this does not allow Lion Server to be installed over Lion on an "unsupported" machine as it gives the same error.

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  31. I don't need Lion Server...just happy to have been able to upgrade my core2duo mac mini! Thanks for the excellent guide!

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  32. This installation method works for installing retail version lion on an upgraded macmini 1,1. Software updates work as well:

    http://www.123macmini.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=203186&highlight=#203186

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  33. Just did this installation last night and thought I'd offer a few tips for others. Mine is a MacMini core solo upgraded to a 2GHz core 2 duo. I burned a single layer DVD because I have a ton that I never use. Disk Utility would not let me drag the blank disc to the Restore Destination, so I just burned the iso and that worked fine. Again, I could not run the installer directly off the DVD - I had to boot to it. Of course, startup keys on the Apple keyboard didn't work. The simplest solution for me was to use a PC USB keyboard instead. Hold C when starting up, and it will boot from the DVD. It definitely takes a while. I entered the info for a new profile and declined the data migration. As suspected, my old profile was still there with all of the previous data and settings. Thanks a ton Vurey and KingFlathead!

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  34. The installation method recommended 2 posts up by Anonymous is best. I used the modified installation mentioned in this post and it was successful but it does not allow software updates or installation of server!

    I restored my Mac Mini via Time Machine and used a Lion-approved machine to upgrade my Mini to Lion (via target mode). Now, I am able to update software. And I just installed Lion Server as well!

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  35. I'd like to chime in and say that the best way of doing this is *definitely* to use a Lion-approved system, buy Lion from the App Store and then install onto the Macmini1,1 using Target Disk Mode.

    Once you've installed onto your Macmini1,1 internal drive, boot your iMac normally and add:

    Mac-F4208EC8

    to the appropriate place in /System/Library/CoreServices/PlatformSupport.plist. I would advise not deleting the file; always best to work with the software, rather than binning something it's expecting to find.

    Also, ignore all the comments about the 32-bit kernel being a problem. The MacPro1,1 is a supported system which also uses the 32-bit kernel, as (I believe) does the MacMini2,1. If you're having problems, the kernel is not the issue. Make sure you're using a genuine copy of Lion which you bought from the App Store, make that one change to PlatformSupport.plist and you should be fine.

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  36. That is an interesting comment. Could it work therefore on a MacBookPro1,1 which is a Core Duo (so 32bit)? Everything so far has pointed this laptop being dead in the water when it comes to Lion.

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  37. Unfortunately your MacBookPro1,1 is never going to be able to run Lion because it contains a 32-bit only CPU which is soldered to the logic board. Some of the core services (most notably the Finder) are now compiled to be 64-bit only, so while you can have a 32-bit EFI which loads the 32-bit kernel, you must have a 64-bit CPU present to run the 64-bit applications.

    Apple have chosen to continue support for 32-bit EFI in the Macmini2,1 and MacPro1,1 because they have 64-bit CPUs from the factory, and that's how we can get Lion running on a Macmini1,1 - because we can swap out the socketed CPU, essentially making it a Macmini2,1.

    Where the CPU is soldered to the board, unless you have an SMD rework facility (for replacing surface mount components on circuit boards) you are never going to get Lion running properly.

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  38. Hi

    Thanks for the confirmation. I was holding out for any slim possibility for being able to upgrade. Looks like it is the end of the road for my lovely MacBook Pro. Very sad!

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  39. Agreed with others comments. Software updates were dead. I'll try the Target Disk method sometime in the future when an approved Mac is in the house to use.

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  40. What do you mean by dead? That it won't run, or won't find any?

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  41. I have to say, I followed the original instructions, Lion installed, all my apps are updated (iWork is one of particular note) and its running like a dream!

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  42. Just to make sure everyone knows the fact's about Lion...

    Its a 64 bit OS, need a "Core 2 Duo" or better to run in 64Bit mode. A "core duo" is a 32bit processors... and yes, it will boot Lion with some help, but many of the applications will NOT RUN!!

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    Replies
    1. What if you replace some 64 bit apps with the 32 bit counterparts in DP1

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  43. MM 1.1 upgraded to C2D 2 ghz and 2 gigs ram.
    I was successful installing the hacked (to run on non approved Intel systems) Lion GM version, issue that I have not been able to resolve is: 10.7 will not update to 10.7.1 it pitches a Java error and shows all the drives with caution sign. Tried to install the Java latest on Apple site it would not install same error and hd message same from the Lion update. I have removed the file from /System/Library/CoreServices as well. Lion seems to run just fine except,
    No updating.. anyone have this issue or know of a fix???
    Thanks
    Roger

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  44. Hi Roger, it was discovered that the hacked version of Lion had some issues with software updates. The best way to install Lion on unsupported hardware is to follow the Target Disk install method detailed in one of my later posts:
    http://vureyosx.blogspot.com/2011/07/now-for-best-way-to-install-lion-on.html

    Good luck!

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  45. does this trick work on a macbook 1,1, not the macbookpro?
    Or has it also a soldered CPU?

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  46. Has any tried to upgrade to 10.7.2 having originally upgraded using this hacked 10.7 version?

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  47. 10.7.2 will modify the supported platform file /System/Library/CoreServices/PlatformSupport.plist and caused the machine to fail to start up. I had to go into bootcamp and change the file again.

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  48. I just did it! And it works in 10.7.4. Used an Intel T7200 cpu off ebay £19. 2GB ram, 320GB Hard Drive, New 2032 PRAM battery, dusted it out and installed 10.7.4 from Carbon Copy Cloner back-up disc of a macbook air. I threw away the /System/Library/CoreServices/PlatformSupport.plist file before booting it and it runs fine. All in the project cost me £119 so I'm happy. People are throwing these old minis out now because they won't run 10.7.

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    Replies
    1. hi, can you tell me how you did it? I have a mAc Mini 1,1 I updated the processor, but I cannot find how to delete this .plist file.

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  49. Adrian - I have tried for a few days now to update this install. It is installing the 10.7 version on my early 2006 iMac with cpu upgrade and 5.1 firmware, 4 gb ram but I cannot install programs at all and also it can't find any updates. I have managed to get a copy of retail 10.7.3 but I don't know how to use the "Education Materials" to create a new custom build 10.7.3 image. I am checking this page daily, perhaps someone has a solution.

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  50. After banging my head against the wall trying to figure why this won't install updates, run this command from terminal ( I can't take any credit for this, found on another site )

    sudo rm /System/Library/CoreServices/ServerVersion.plist

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  51. Adrian - Will give it a go this weekend, @Anonymous and will post after that if it's working. Thanks for the reply

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  52. As promised I've returned with an update. I've installed Lion 10.7 on external usb hdd just to be sure. It finally works as it should now. The command gaved by Anonymous ( I owe you a few pints mate) did the trick. I managed to get the latest updates, but of course, after reboot the plist was modified and no boot. I've booted from the the second hdd where I had Snow Leopard and modified the plist file adding my imac 4.1 code found above. After that it went flawlesly. I've used the migration assistant to get everything from the internal drive with 10.6.8 and the next step is to clone the entire external hdd on the internal and that's about it. Thanks again.

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  53. Hi guys, I've successfully upgraded the CPU and Ram and can boot from my Lion 10.7 GM Hack USB drive but when I try to install it I still get the message saying that Lion can't be installed on my machine. Totally confused as i thought the hacked version was supposed to sort the whole plist thing out as I haven't managed to find the file on the hacked version. I'm pretty certain the CPU is a compatible one it's a 2.33Ghz Core 2 Duo. Unfortunatley i do not have access to another mac to do a target install so I'm relying on the USB method.
    Any suggestions?

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  54. Hello mate. I've tried the standard approach: after upgrading the cpu to a T7200, I also upgraded the firmware from 4.1 to 5.1 (more details here -> http://forum.netkas.org/index.php/topic,1122.0.html). Then I installed Lion from the modified DVD and not from a thumb drive. At that point I couldn't install software or updates though. But then I discovered this thread and this command: sudo rm /System/Library/CoreServices/ServerVersion.plist (thanks for the user that posted it) and the os start finding updates. The problem is that when 10.7.5 combo update is installed, it will also modify the plist file and your mac will not boot so you need either boot camp or target mode or something, to modify the file. ( I haven't deleted mine, just added another line with my imac early 2006 4.1, now a 5.1). After that I started backing up with time machine so I don't need to do this work again. What I would really like is someone to help me create a Lion 10.7.5 install disc WITH the modified plist file and then it should be hassle free. Hope that helps a bit, I am checking this thread every couple of days.

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  55. Can you help me? I cannot get Lion to install. I don't have another mac to do te target disk mode

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  56. Hello Joseph, sorry for the late reply. You can send me an email through contact form at http://www.cj-quest.co.uk and I will be happy to help. Kind regards, Adrian

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  57. you can use Lion on 32 bit Processors i have read just hold the keys 32 at startup (i dont know if this is true) and then u can watch a tourtorial that shows u how to use 32 bit as default

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  58. I cannot find this modified install file anywhere on the internet, does anyone have a link for a working torrent/direct download?

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  59. Anyone still seeding this torrent? Please do if you have it!

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  60. I'm just finished my MacMini (early 2006) upgrade to MacMini 2,1, CPU uprade to T7600 (2,3GHz) memory upgrade to 2x2GB, +120GB SSD. I just followed instructions above, I succesfully installed Lion 10.7 and updated to the latest version 10.7.5. (thanks for the tip to remove the ServerVersion.plist!) Now everything is fine, I can play 3D movies without any problem.
    Guys, you are doing a good job, thank you for all !!!

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  61. I only can mention a lot of trouble with my mini from over here.It's one of the very first minis originally a core solo, but now has a T7200 an 2Gb of RAM and a 250Gb HD.So this should run.
    Actually the 10.7.0 from the ISO installed fine,an I tried the combo update,which failed (because of the serverversion.plist).
    Then I downloaded a 10.7.5 retail package dmg.
    I could get the installer running but it refused to proceed installing, despite of the removal of the .plist files as stated in several forums.
    So I got no way of doin a clean install.
    Now finally I removed the ServerVersion.plist from the 10.7.0 installed disk and yeah. the combo update proceeded.
    But after resetting the system i got a "stop" sign on the screen instead of a apple logo and the computer powered itself down.
    There are obviously more things that are checked.

    Now another warning to many of us who want to keep their systems running for many years : The 10.7.5. cmbo update showed a small padlock in the upper right corner, an I clicked on it (while applying the install) ,and it was saying :Apple software update authority :expires thursday 24 october 2019 19h 29min 17 sec central european time!
    Do you believe that! I might get the system running OK now, but I will be impeded to repair it later on (every 5 years a new HD you know)

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  62. Well, done Zoltan. I am still checking this thread from time to time.

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