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A1278 boots to OS X Utilities

DaddyDearDaddy

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 10, 2020
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I bought a used A1278 and it seems to want to just boot to the OS X utilities. The disk utility has the “reinstall os x” Option but it says it needs to verify from Apple and then fails.

I did create a bootable USB El Capitan but can’t seem to get past the disk utility. It recognizes the USB and then verifies and then just quits but there is no “install OS X” option.

not sure where to go from here, any help will be appreciated.
 

Mike Boreham

macrumors 68000
Aug 10, 2006
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Did you see this machine working before you bought it? Are you in a position to return it?

It sounds like it can’t boot the internal, so boots to Recovery, but can’t install from Recovery because there is something wrong with the internal.

Can you run Disk Utility from Recovery? You could erase the internal and then try installing macOS, but I wouldn’t do that if there is any question of returning.
 
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DaddyDearDaddy

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 10, 2020
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Yes it was working fine. no can’t return it.
[automerge]1597143637[/automerge]
When I click on “reinstall OS X”, it wants to install Mavericks.
 
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Mike Boreham

macrumors 68000
Aug 10, 2006
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472
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Yes it was working fine. no can’t return it.
[automerge]1597143637[/automerge]
When I click on “reinstall OS X”, it wants to install Mavericks.

It may have booted to Internet Recovery. More info here.

If it is offering to install Mavericks then at least you should be able to get the machine running then upgrade to whatever OS an A1278 will run.

Personally on a second hand machine I would erase the internal with Disk Utility before reinstalling.
 
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DaddyDearDaddy

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 10, 2020
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The recovery has the “reinstall os x” Option but it says it needs to verify from Apple and then fails.
So can’t install the OSX.
 
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Mike Boreham

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Aug 10, 2006
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I think we have a terminolgy issue. “Disk Utility” is an app which is one of the options available when booted from Recovery. With Disk Utility you can erase drives, partition etc and run Disk First Aid, which would be good to do. Disk Utility doesnt reinstall. One of the other options in Recovery is “Reinstall OSX”

Can you launch Disk Utility from Recovery and erase the internal drive?

Another approach, since you saw it running fine before you bought it, would be to try a safe boot...restart holding shift key. Was it definitely running fine booted from its own internal drive, not from an external? ie do you trust the seller?
 
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DaddyDearDaddy

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 10, 2020
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Yes it was running fine before. ill go in and try to erase.
Will report back.

edit:
Ok so I clicked on erase, it took about 10 secs. So then I clicked on erase free space. It says it will take over an hour. So I’m waiting for it to complete.
 
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DaddyDearDaddy

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 10, 2020
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So meantime, once the erase completes. What are the steps to install OS X?

I think I have El Capitan on a USB. I downloaded it from Apple and used transmac to install on USB.
 
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Mike Boreham

macrumors 68000
Aug 10, 2006
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So meantime, once the erase completes. What are the steps to install OS X?

I think I have El Capitan on a USB. I downloaded it from Apple and used transmac to install on USB.

I don't usually bother with erase free space. I assume you are formatting HFS+

You could boot from your El Capitan USB and launch "reinstall OSX" and follow instructions. Or you could use "reinstall OSX" from Recovery when Disk Utility has finished.

If you were getting a message earlier about verifying with Apple and failing you might be better using the USB.

PS I dont know anything about Transmac so can't say if that works. Not one I have heard of.

PPS Dont know how much you know about Macs, but you would boot from the USB installer by plugging it in and restarting the machine holding down the option key. Then select the USB from what appears on screen.
 
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DaddyDearDaddy

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 10, 2020
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I don’t know much about macs.
I did try the option key hold but the USB doesn’t come up.
I used transmac because my other machine is windows 10 and I wanted to create a OS X bootable USB from windows.
 
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Mike Boreham

macrumors 68000
Aug 10, 2006
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I am not surpised the Transmac USB doesnt work. If you still have the downloaded installer file there are several ways of creating a mac bootable USB. I think you will need a working mac to do this. I use the createinstallmedia Terminal method but there are third party apps if you google.

Or you could try doing it direct from Recovery where the you are and let it download a fresh installer.
 
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Mike Boreham

macrumors 68000
Aug 10, 2006
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UK
Internet recovery downloads the OS X install direct from Apple.

So does regular Recovery. The differences are explained In this article.

cmd+R is regular Recovery
opt+cmd+R and shift+opt+cmd+R are the two Internet Recovery options.

7EB5BA57-27BC-4D06-96C9-C1C0E51EEF32.jpeg
 
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DaddyDearDaddy

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 10, 2020
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So the regular recovery, I’m assuming that’s the “reinstall OS X” option, that’s where it starts to do the verification from Apple and then fails for Mavericks. Ill try the other options.
 
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Mike Boreham

macrumors 68000
Aug 10, 2006
1,877
472
UK
So the regular recovery, I’m assuming that’s the “reinstall OS X” option, that’s where it starts to do the verification from Apple and then fails for Mavericks. Ill try the other options.

The only ways I can think of to get round the verification issue are the Internet Recovery options, or making a bootable USB, or calling Apple (or taking in). I haven’t experienced it and Google doesn’t seem to find other ways.

Note that booting from Internet Recovery takes a while.
 
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DaddyDearDaddy

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 10, 2020
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Making the bootable USB is what would be ideal. I just don’t know where to download a suitable latest OS X which would work on this A1278 and how to create one on my windows 10 laptop.
 
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Mike Boreham

macrumors 68000
Aug 10, 2006
1,877
472
UK
Making the bootable USB is what would be ideal. I just don’t know where to download a suitable latest OS X which would work on this A1278 and how to create one on my windows 10 laptop.

I will be very surprised if it s possible to make a mac bootable USB installer on a Windows machine.

Have the Internet Recovery options failed?

You can download some older full installers from the App Store.
 
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DaddyDearDaddy

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 10, 2020
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All those options still take me back to the Recovery screen.
isn’t there a website where one could buy a USB preloaded w various OS X versions?
 
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Mike Boreham

macrumors 68000
Aug 10, 2006
1,877
472
UK
isn’t there a website where one could buy a USB preloaded w various OS X versions?

Quick Google found this, but any friend with a Mac could do it for you.

Will be interested to hear the end of this story, because one possibility is that the internal drive is broken, and when you saw it running fine it was booted from an external, which you could do of course. If this is the problem you should be able to replace the internal drive quite easily.
 
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DaddyDearDaddy

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 10, 2020
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Hmm. I don’t have any friends, sooooo having a friend w a Mac is even a smaller chance.
 
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