Discussion Monolithic OS X, myth or reality? Should an OS X from a mac work in a different mac?

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rodion15

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I've been told this by a colleague and I'd like to know if this is or isn't correct:

If you use take the hard drive from a macbook and install it in an iMac, then the iMac may not have the appropriate drivers, so you would need to do an OS X update to make sure its drivers are updated. Even if the OS X is the same or newer that the OS X that originally came with the machines.

He also mentioned Monolithic OS X, which means that, an OS X boot volume for a specific Mac may not have the necessary drivers (or Kernel Extensions, to use Apple terms) that another mac would need, which means it shouldn't always work correctly in another different mac.
All this provided both macs are able to run that OS X version (example: a 2011 macbook air and a 2013 iMac) and that the OS X release and update are the same or newer to the one they were released with.

I thought this was true for Windows PCs, but not for OS X, in OS X, my assumption is that, even if you install OS X without internet connection using an installer, that OS X will contain all the kernel extensions and should run whatever mac you install it to, provided it's a compatible mac. All provided the OS X version and build is the same or newer to the OS X version that originally was installed in the macs.
There's "system builds" specific for certain macs, but even so, if you installed a bootable hdd from another mac in this one, it should work fine provided the OS X is that specific build or a later newer OS X.


 

Math Geek

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no reason it would work any different than windows. the idea of drivers and other software does not change for mac. i'd not expect a hdd swapped into another machine to work any better than doing it on a windows machine. different parts = different drivers.

fresh install all the way if you have a new hdd :)
 

Quixit

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Actually, since Windows 7 you can now transfer a system drive to a new machine and boot it. Windows will automatically download and install drivers on first boot. Provided you're not switching between BIOS and uEFI.

Mac OS, due to it's overly proprietary nature, requires a fresh install on each specific piece of hardware because it only installs components for the current hardware. I haven't used the latest version of Mac OS, but it's been a problem with Macs for a long time.
 

rodion15

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Thanks for your answers. Then I guess if you fit in an OS X hdd into several macs and run an update on each, you'll have an os X that will work in all these macs, right?. This should be a way to create a universal OS X for macs (provided the macs admit that os x).
 

McHenryB

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The fact that, when they were supplied with install disks, and install disk for one Mac would not work on another indicates that the OS is tailored to the machine it is installed on. However, retail disks would boot and install the OS on any Mac. The images that you download from the Internet do the same. But this does not mean that the installed image will now work on every Mac; it will have installed only the hardware drivers it needed to.

Your idea of creating a universal OS X relies on the OS disk booting on each machine that you update it with. This will almost certainly not happen. But you already have an image that will work on any Mac - the install image.
 

rodion15

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Hi, I'm repairing Macs and I installed el capitan on an external hard drive and it's booting and working OK on all macs, imacs and macbooks I'm using it on. I'm not sure this install has all of the appropriate kernel extensions, surely not, but my idea now is to update it in all macs I can so that it has all the kernel extensions (drivers), so I can use it to diagnose any mac, as it has all the best tools: CCC, DriveDX, DiskMark, Blackmagic, etc
 
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