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Clean reinstall Snow Leopard onto SL MacBook Air using remote DVD from iMac

Discussion in 'Mac OS X 10.7 Lion' started by katewes, May 14, 2012.

  1. katewes, May 14, 2012
    Last edited: May 18, 2012

    macrumors 6502

    I need to do a clean install of Snow Leopard onto a MacBook Air already running Snow Leopard. (I only have a Snow Leopard DVD that I bought separately which did not come with the original purchase of the MBA).

    I found these instructions online:


    "... instead of booting Snow Leopard while inside of Mac OS X, if you just directly reboot the computer off the disc itself (holding down the "c" button after the system chime, letting go when you see the Apple logo) you get a few more options. Once you've gone into the installer program, you'll see "Utilities" at the top, and if you select Disc Utility, you can see your hard drive. If you click on "erase" (like I did, with one hand over my eyes) you can wipe the drive clean with various security options, and then you can do a fresh install of Snow Leopard on your computer on a pristine hard drive."

    However, how to do this on a MacBook Air that has no DVD drive -- i.e. how do "you just directly reboot the computer off the disc itself (holding down the "c" button after the system chime".

    How do you do that on a MacBook Air?

    If I were on a MBP, I would stick the DVD into the drive, restart, and hold the C button down. But how do I do that with a MBA? I tried linking the MBA to the MBP's DVD, then restarting the MBA - but the MBA reboots off its own disk.

    I've used the above method to do clean installs on a MacBook Pro and iMac that have their own internal DVD - but just can't get it to work with the MBA's shared-remote DVD.

    Please help.
  2. #2
    As you probably have a 2010 MBA, it should have come with a USB flash memory thumb drive containing the Mac OS X installer.
    But as you probably don't have access to that, you could make your own installer onto a USB flash memory thumb drive via CarbonCopyCloner and a properly formatted* USB flash memory thumb drive, but as the grey Restore DVDs are model specific, you might need to do some modifying (a www search should give you some hints and guides how to do so).
    You could also contact Apple to send you the replacement Restore USB flash memory thumb drive for your 2010 MBA.

    PS: I just used my brain a bit more, you obviously can also have an older 2008 or 2009 MBA, for which the method I described above (CCC + USB flash memory thumb drive + grey Restore DVD + hacking) should work.
  3. macrumors 6502

    Sorry, I should have said: I have a 2009 MacBook Air, 2nd generation. And I don't have the original install disks, because the person who sold it to me did not pass those on to me.

    Hence, can you clarify your instructions for a 2009 MacBook Air? Thanks.
  4. #4
    Since the 2009 MBA came with Mac OS X 10.5.7 Leopard (info), you could buy the 29 USD Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard Upgrade DVD via the Apple Online Store and then either use Remote Disc Sharing, or the cloning procedure I spoke early of (8 GB USB flash memory thumb drive is needed for that) or try an external USB ODD.
  5. macrumors 6502

    I already have the SL Upgrade DVD, but don't know how to use the remote-disc sharing method to boot off the DVD.

    I do know how to share the DVD, and run the program -- however, the above method described in the TUAW article requires me to "directly reboot the computer off the disc" - and that's the part I don't know how to do.
  6. #6
    I understand, that is why I offered alternatives using an external optical disk drive (costly) or USB flash memory thumb drive (if you have one, you could use that, or if you have a free external HDD, you can use that too).
  7. macrumors 6502

    I have both a 8GB normal USB stick, so I understand your post #2 that I need to use CarbonCopy Cloner to reproduce the contents of the SL Upgrade disk onto the USB stick. Prior to that, I'll use Disk Utilities to format the USB stick. That's my understanding of what you're saying.
  8. #8
    Yep, that is correct. I used that method to clone the DVD to an external HDD partition, thus I can install faster.
  9. macrumors 6502

    Not sure what I'm doing wrong. I formatted the USB using a GUID format with journaled format. I used CarbonCopyCloner to clone the SL upgrade disk to the USB. Then I attempted to boot from the USB by using the TUAW instructions, i.e. when the MBA is turned off, with USB inserted, I turned on the MBA and, when the chime sounded, I pressed the C key, and released it when the Apple logo appeared. Unfortunately, the MBA booted from the hard disk as usual. Any suggestions?
  10. #10
    Press the OPTION key, as the C key is for booting from an optical medium inserted in your optical disk drive (ODD) such as a CD or DVD, and a USB flash memory thumb drive is not an optical medium inserted in your ODD.
  11. macrumors 6502

    Thanks. The Option key was the solution.

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