Do I need to buy Mountain Lion in the app store to install it to a new SSD?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by johnnnw, Apr 15, 2013.

  1. johnnnw macrumors 65816


    Feb 7, 2013
    I'm about the put a blank SSD into the main drive bay slot and ditch the 5400 RPM drive.

    I don't want to clone as I just don't like the process of transferring from HDD to SSD's.

    Do I need to buy Mountain Lion from the app store to install it to a blank SSD that has been inserted in the computer? I won't have the recovery partition from the old hard drive or anything.

    What are my options for installing ML? I heard there is something that I can just install it from the internet? What button do I hold when first booting the Mac with the blank SSD installed?

    Sorry for all the questions I'm pretty confused about the process.
  2. stchman macrumors 6502a

    Jul 16, 2012
    St. Louis, MO
    If the current computer you have already has ML, then you don't need to purchase it, just download it. If you have to buy ML, it's only $20.

    After that I would make a ML USB, there are many instructions for making one.

    After you install the SSD, simply hold down the Option key and select the USB drive you just made.

    You will need to launch Disk Utility to erase the drive and select the blank SSD when you select a drive to install ML.
  3. Ccrew macrumors 68020

    Feb 28, 2011
    If you've previously bought it you can re-download a clean install still using internet recovery, provided that you're running a machine that supports it.

    Here's the supported matrix:
  4. Designed4Mac macrumors 6502


    Jan 6, 2013
    I Wish I Knew
    You will need to have a clone of ML or a bootable external drive because your new SSD wont have a recovery partition on it. You will need either a bootable USB or external drive to boot from to be able to format the new SSD.

    If your original drive had ML on it you should have ML registered to your iTunes account. If this is the case then you should be able to download it for free. If not you will have to purchase it.

    1, Do an internet recovery on an external drive
    2, Boot from external drive.
    3, Enter disk utility and format your new SSD
    4, Reboot holding cmd+r and do another internet recovery onto the SSD.
  5. kh3khalid macrumors regular

    Dec 2, 2012
    I think the OP has the same case as me.

    In my case, my MBP shipped with ML. If I put in a blank SSD, will online recovery download ML? (ML is not in the purchased section in the App Store, I can still buy it although I have it installed)
  6. cambookpro macrumors 603


    Feb 3, 2010
    United Kingdom
    To those with ML pre-installed, I think that you can get the install disk image by doing this:

    Then you can download LionDiskMaker (free) and really easily make a ML install USB (8GB+ needed). Then you should be able to boot from that and install it on your new SSD.

    Good luck! :)
  7. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    If your machine came with Mountain Lion, this is very easy. Just pop in the new drive and command-r boot. That will take you to Internet Recovery where you will see a screen that looks just like the normal Recovery HD partition screen. Then just format the new drive as Mac OS Extended and click install to DL and install the OS from Apple's servers. It is a 4.7GB DL, so can take some time.

    Any machine that came with ML will work like this. The system firmware has a small boot stub that pulls in the recovery utility from Apple, then installs the OS. You won't need to buy ML from the App Store. Apple's servers will see your serial number and give you the OS that came with your computer free.
  8. johnnnw thread starter macrumors 65816


    Feb 7, 2013
    Wow this is a massive relief. Thank you for the great answer. Just what I needed to know.
  9. kh3khalid macrumors regular

    Dec 2, 2012
    This is the clear explanation that I was looking for :D

    Thanks a lot.
  10. idunn macrumors 6502

    Jan 12, 2008
    Fairly straightforward

    Just to concur, post #7 is accurate.

    An older system would be a different matter; but if from Mountain Lion, then simple to install the Mac OS on a new SSD. After physically switching out the HDD with a SDD, on pressing the power button the recovery screen just came up; it wasn't even necessary to prompt it with Command + R, as I recall.

    From there the process was somewhat different than with instructions found on the internet, but still fairly simple. The very first thing may have been a prompt to choose a wi-fi signal, and add password for it. About the first step is to use Disk Utility to format the SSD to Mac OS Extended. Then choose the internet recovery option. The OS file is over 4GB, so depending on the connection it might take a good many hours to download. Aside from the wait, it all goes smoothly.

    One can go to the more complex bother of making a bootable OS on a flash stick, but it isn't necessary. If content to repeat the download if ever necessary again, then internet recovery is the simplest process.
  11. johnnnw thread starter macrumors 65816


    Feb 7, 2013
    I love the internet haha. Just random folks helping out people for no reason at all.

    Thank you a lot.

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