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How can I determine what OS i have on my mac if it won't start up?

Update:10-11Source: network consolidation
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Hard drive is dead and I having a new one installed but the installer wants to know what Operating System I had.  I don't remember. 

The Best Answer

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If the hard drive is dead, you can't get that information from it, but shouldn't need to have it before running a full OS installer.
If you're referring to a person and not an application by 'installer', the process varies depending on the computer's original OS. Append the last three characters of its serial number to http://www.everymac.com/ultimate-mac-lookup/?search_keywords= and load the page; Macs which shipped with 10.6.8 or earlier require a disk, while newer ones have a recovery system, which is accessible by pressing the Option, Command, and R keys at startup.
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