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Without an optical drive how do you load the OS in the new iMacs?

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December 11, 2012 2:13:57 AM

I just heard the new iMacs have no optical drive. I wonder how to users load the OS? Say you want to reinstall sometimel. And yes, OS X is not perfect and needs to be reinstalled sometimes. :)  Do you get it from the cloud? Wouldn't that take a while to download?

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December 11, 2012 5:40:47 AM
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You load it from a USB stick, a Time Machine backup on a USB drive, or via the Internet. Option 2 is the easiest. On my setup (about 5 mb ADSL connection) it takes a couple of hours to install via the Internet. Download allowance is probably more of a problem than speed.
December 11, 2012 9:44:52 PM

But how does Apple give you a copy of the OS? Do they give you an iTunes or Apple App store account and you download it from there? And how do you download it if your hard drive malfunctions? Or are you given the option of downloading it to your USB stick when you get the computer? This doesn't make much sense. Welcome to the logical world of Apple!
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December 12, 2012 5:28:30 AM

I can't remember the exact details now, but you have to have, or create, an iTunes account. This then knows that your computer is authorized to download Mountain Lion from the App Store. A particular key combination when booting brings up a menu that let's you choose to install the OS. It is possible to create install media on an external hard drive or USB stick.

I think it's a little unfair to complain about "the logical world of Apple" when you don't know how the process works or have experience of using it. It's one of the easiest OS installs that I have ever done. I say this having just gone through Hell reactivating a Windows 8 install.
December 19, 2012 3:14:31 AM

So how do you navigate to and download your OS from iTunes when you can't even turn your computer on? Is this madness or what? Can you download it and load it from a different partition?
December 19, 2012 9:07:13 AM

As I have already said, you hold down a particular key combination on boot and are presented with a menu of options. One of these is to load the OS from the Internet. You don't need to navigate to iTunes.

Just take my word for it that it works. I've done it a number of times. If you want an excuse not to buy a Mac there are plenty of better ones than imaginary difficulties with reinstalling the OS. The only madness here is that you are criticizing a problem that just doesn't exist. Reloading the OS on a Mac is far easier than on Windows.

Of course, if you can't even turn your computer on then you have bigger problems.
December 19, 2012 7:38:05 PM

> you hold down a particular key combination on boot

Sorry - I didn't see that part. Didn't realize that you wouldn't have to have an OS installed at all for the computer to connect to iTunes. But....if the hard drive was formatted, how could the computer do anything?
This concept sounds great otherwise, unless you have no internet. That would be something you'd have to prepare for beforehand. But since most people don't have this problem it sounds like a good solution except for the fact that it would take hours to download. Best solution is an external hard drive - whatever any thinking person would use as a backup and have the OS on a partition that boots. That requires no internet, is much faster and requires no extra equipment to be purchased. Its really a shame Microsoft and Apple don't encourage people to have a backup drive as a normal part of the computer experience, all primed for an OS reinstall. Then again, when people have a catastrophic crash, they often use that interruption in their computer life to replace the entire computer to the benefit of the computer industry. No wonder this country is in such miserable financial condition!

Thank you for your explanation. Now it makes sense for myself and lots of other people.
December 19, 2012 7:49:13 PM

Best answer selected by tom2u.
December 19, 2012 8:12:10 PM

"Its really a shame Microsoft and Apple don't encourage people to have a backup drive as a normal part of the computer experience, all primed for an OS reinstall."

But both Apple and Microsoft do exactly this, providing utilities that allow you to easily make a complete backup of the installed OS. If you create the appropriate boot disk with Windows you don't even need an OS disk to reinstall. And with the Mac you can do a complete install from a Time Machine backup; again they provide utilities to make boot media on a hard drive or USB stick.

OS reinstallation has never been simpler than it is nowadays.
December 19, 2012 9:47:04 PM

It is pretty much the same process for either mac or pc; recovery or clean install from an external device or partition. I haven't even had an optical drive on a pc for like 5 years now. A cd/dvd is nothing more than an external storage device. But a much more inconvenient connection.
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