Can't install OS from external DVD drive

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by hinese, Feb 3, 2010.

  1. hinese macrumors newbie

    Nov 30, 2008
    My wife’s 3-year old Macbook has become generally glitchy and we want to reinstall the OS to see if that fixes the problems. It’s running Tiger. We bought Snow Leopard so we could upgrade. Problem is the internal DVD drive no longer works. We bought an external DVD drive (USB), but so far no luck installing the software. We get an error when trying to install from the external that, according to Apple support, means we have to partition the hard drive first. Well, we can’t partition the hard drive because we can’t access Disk Utility from startup, as it won’t recognize the installation disk in the non-functioning internal DVD drive at startup. When accessing Disk Utility through Finder, the Partition button is grayed out. It must be accessed through the installation CD at startup. The drive is backed up, so we’re OK with just erasing the hard drive. But that is grayed out as well.

    What I need to do is find a way to partition and/or erase the hard drive without using Disk Utility…OR find a way to make the computer use the external DVD drive as the default so when we hold down the ‘C’ key at startup it will allow us to use Disk Utility on the installation disk. Any other ideas? Thank you!
  2. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040


    Aug 8, 2007
    Takamatsu, Japan
    Do you have an external USB or Firewire HD handy? If so, this guide may work for you.
  3. hinese thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 30, 2008
    Interesting! Yes, I sure do. I have a WD MyBook drive that I can try this with. I'll try when I get home later. Thank so much for the tip.

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