How to Restore a Previous System on a Mac

By K.C. Winslow

Apple regularly releases Standalone Updates in the form of Individual and Combo Updates. An Individual Update moves one version of the operating system up to the next version. A Combo Update includes all previous updates, so that 10.5 can upgrade to 10.5.6, according to The X Lab, a trouble-shooting resource for Mac users. While these updates fix problems and add features, they can also cause compatibility concerns with third-party software. If software you need to use does not work with the new update, and the company has not released an update to its application yet, you may need to downgrade to a previous system.

Things You'll Need

  • Install disc for Mac OS X 10.2 or later

Step 1

Load the Install disc in your computer. Go to the “Apple” menu and select “Restart.” Click the “Restart” button in the pop-up window.

Step 2

Hold down the “C” key on your computer to start up from the disc.

Step 3

Choose the appropriate language and click the arrow button. Continue through the information and license agreement.

Step 4

Click your Macintosh hard drive in the window to select it. Click the “Options” button. Click “Archive and Install.” Select your Mac OS X volume.

Step 5

Choose to “Preserve Users and Network Settings” and to “Preserve Network and Home Directory Settings.” Press the “OK” button and press “Continue” to restore the previous version of OS X.

Tips & Warnings

  • Apple Support recommends backing up your important files before performing any type of Mac OS X installation.
  • You may need to reinstall some third-party applications after the archive and install is complete.
  • Use “Software Update” in the “Apple” menu to update your system to the appropriate version of your operating system, if needed.