Format and clean install El Capitan on bricked MBP

tejaykay

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 22, 2008
269
44
Edinburgh
Hi All,

I attempted to upgrade my wife's MBP to El Capitan, but have not been able to install the new OS. Since it downloaded and installed I am unable to progress past the final installation screen once the machine reboots as it reports a disk error.

The recommended restart and quitting the installer result in the same cycle - machine restarts and loops back to a disk error. How can I get past this? I don't understand how I can make an external boot up disk if I can't logon to my computer to download El Capitan to an external drive.

Apologies if I have missed this information in another thread - my wife is not best pleased with me at the moment, and I'm rushing to fix the situation.

Thanks in advance!
Tim
 

snaky69

macrumors 603
Mar 14, 2008
5,904
484
Hi All,

I attempted to upgrade my wife's MBP to El Capitan, but have not been able to install the new OS. Since it downloaded and installed I am unable to progress past the final installation screen once the machine reboots as it reports a disk error.

The recommended restart and quitting the installer result in the same cycle - machine restarts and loops back to a disk error. How can I get past this? I don't understand how I can make an external boot up disk if I can't logon to my computer to download El Capitan to an external drive.

Apologies if I have missed this information in another thread - my wife is not best pleased with me at the moment, and I'm rushing to fix the situation.

Thanks in advance!
Tim
What year, what size MBP?

Nobody can help you without proper info.
 

tejaykay

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 22, 2008
269
44
Edinburgh
2010 MBP 13" 2.4Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo
1TB Hybrid HDD
8GB Ram
NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics

Thanks again. Sorry I missed that out.
 

snaky69

macrumors 603
Mar 14, 2008
5,904
484
2010 MBP 13" 2.4Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo
1TB Hybrid HDD
8GB Ram
NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics

Thanks again. Sorry I missed that out.
The hard drive may have crapped out, it could've been on the brink and that OS install pushed it over.

Can you get it to go through hardware diagnostics?
 
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tejaykay

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 22, 2008
269
44
Edinburgh
The hard drive may have crapped out, it could've been on the brink and that OS install pushed it over.

Can you get it to go through hardware diagnostics?
It was a new install in the last few months. I upgraded her HDD from the original 250gb spinner that came with the MBP. I could try swapping back in the old drive? I changed it about 6 months ago as I moved my user profile from an older MBP to share her computer (we primarily use iPads now).
 

snaky69

macrumors 603
Mar 14, 2008
5,904
484
It was a new install in the last few months. I upgraded her HDD from the original 250gb spinner that came with the MBP. I could try swapping back in the old drive? I changed it about 6 months ago as I moved my user profile from an older MBP to share her computer (we primarily use iPads now).
All hard drives eventually fail, it's a question of if, not when.

I had a hard drive I put in a NAS die after 3 weeks this summer. If the old drive boots up fine, I think you have a warranty claim to make.
 

tejaykay

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 22, 2008
269
44
Edinburgh
Thanks. I wouldn't have thought to do this so appreciate your advice. I'll try it over the weekend and report back.

Thanks pal.
 

tejaykay

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 22, 2008
269
44
Edinburgh
All hard drives eventually fail, it's a question of if, not when.

I had a hard drive I put in a NAS die after 3 weeks this summer. If the old drive boots up fine, I think you have a warranty claim to make.
I was able to enter disk utility from the OSX installer screen, and then run First Aid on my drive. It failed and showed the attached error ehen I ran it on 'KEMP 1TB SSD', but runs perfectly if I use First Aid on ST1000LM014...

If I choose to format the drive from this screen, won't it wipe the OSX installer as well? I'd prefer to get this drive working if possible as installing the old drive would involve me having to setup my old user profile and then transferring all of the data again.
 

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snaky69

macrumors 603
Mar 14, 2008
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Can you get it to mount in an external enclosure? If you have access to another Mac or external drive, you could at least get the largest files off of it to save some time.
 

tejaykay

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 22, 2008
269
44
Edinburgh
Can you get it to mount in an external enclosure? If you have access to another Mac or external drive, you could at least get the largest files off of it to save some time.
So could I use the old internal hard drive as a bootable drive?

It's already housed in an external enclosure. If I plug it in and then hold option when the mac starts, could I then boot from it? I think it may be on Mavericks. I could then make a El Capitan USB stick drive to format the current internal drive and clean install El Capitan?

My only concern with this is that this old hard drive is the most secure backup of my wife's machine which currently exists. (She does use time machine, but not regularly). If anything were to go wrong with the above process then I'd have hell to pay.
 

snaky69

macrumors 603
Mar 14, 2008
5,904
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So could I use the old internal hard drive as a bootable drive?

It's already housed in an external enclosure. If I plug it in and then hold option when the mac starts, could I then boot from it? I think it may be on Mavericks. I could then make a El Capitan USB stick drive to format the current internal drive and clean install El Capitan?

My only concern with this is that this old hard drive is the most secure backup of my wife's machine which currently exists. (She does use time machine, but not regularly). If anything were to go wrong with the above process then I'd have hell to pay.
If your old drive was left as is, you can pop it into an enclosure and boot from it. Just hold option and select it as boot, it should show up.

You really should tell your wife to be more diligent about backups. All electronics fail, and it can happen at any time. If there are any files that you can absolutely not afford to lose, they should always be at least in 3 places. 1 copy on the computer itself, a copy on an external backup, and a third copy off site, say in a cloud solution(you never know, your house could burn down).
 

tejaykay

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 22, 2008
269
44
Edinburgh
Is it possible to boot from a time machine backup?

If I can do that then it would save me playing with that old drive. My other option would be to buy a bootable USB of El Capitan off of eBay.
 

snaky69

macrumors 603
Mar 14, 2008
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484
Is it possible to boot from a time machine backup?

If I can do that then it would save me playing with that old drive. My other option would be to buy a bootable USB of El Capitan off of eBay.
Time machine backups aren't bootable.
 

Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
30,419
10,228
California
Is it possible to boot from a time machine backup?

If I can do that then it would save me playing with that old drive. My other option would be to buy a bootable USB of El Capitan off of eBay.
If it was a TM backup to a local disk like a USB drive, yes you can option key boot to it. That will give you a recovery screen where you can use Disk Util to erase a target disk then restore the TM backup to a blank disk. That will put the entire OS and all your apps and data back on the blank disk.
 

tejaykay

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 22, 2008
269
44
Edinburgh
Thanks for your advice guys. I got to the bootable drive selection screen. I presume the orange drives are the external drive and display the USB logo.

I selected Macintosh HD (any idea what the Recovery drive is?). I didn't get any further as it eventually returned a stop sign image. Images attached. Any advice on progressing from here?
 

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Weaselboy

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Jan 23, 2005
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Thanks for your advice guys. I got to the bootable drive selection screen. I presume the orange drives are the external drive and display the USB logo.

I selected Macintosh HD (any idea what the Recovery drive is?). I didn't get any further as it eventually returned a stop sign image. Images attached. Any advice on progressing from here?
Based on the that Disk Util error you posted earlier, you are going to need to option key boot to the TM drive like I mentioned and erase the entire disk then restore from the TM backup.

Even that won't work if the drive is bad. It is also possible the drive cable is bad. That can cause issues like this too.
 

tejaykay

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 22, 2008
269
44
Edinburgh
Based on the that Disk Util error you posted earlier, you are going to need to option key boot to the TM drive like I mentioned and erase the entire disk then restore from the TM backup.

Even that won't work if the drive is bad. It is also possible the drive cable is bad. That can cause issues like this too.
I've plugged in a TM backup external hard drive from my personal 2008 MBP (which is also dead but hopefully just down to an old battery).

This showed up instantly in the option key boot selection screen. The other original external cloned hard drive from this MBP took ages to display. I'm guessing it's down to the enclosure's newer USB 3.0 interface.

Progressing with my TM backup as the selected startup disk simply starts up the OS X installer on the local disk. Am I missing something? How can I boot up from a TM backup?

Apologies for my typos. I'm running off of an iPhone whilst my laptops are down.
 

Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
30,419
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California
Progressing with my TM backup as the selected startup disk simply starts up the OS X installer on the local disk. Am I missing something? How can I boot up from a TM backup?

Apologies for my typos. I'm running off of an iPhone whilst my laptops are down.
When you option key boot to a TM backup disk, it does not start and run the normal OS. It runs a recovery partition that is on the backup drive. Once that starts you need to use Disk Util to erase the internal drive then restore everything from the TM disk.
 

tejaykay

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 22, 2008
269
44
Edinburgh
When you option key boot to a TM backup disk, it does not start and run the normal OS. It runs a recovery partition that is on the backup drive. Once that starts you need to use Disk Util to erase the internal drive then restore everything from the TM disk.
When I boot from the TM backup is takes me straight to the OSX Installer app which is on the internal drive on the MBP. Is this because it is failing to recognise the recovery partition?

Do you have a link which shows the step by step instructions please? I can't quite figure out where I'm going wrong.

The TM backup I have is an external USB 2.0 hard drive which has backups made to is using Time Machine. It is not the clone of a full hard drive. I fail to see how it would have the info required to perform a system start up. Is it not just a backup of documents/files?

Thanks so much for this. Tim
 

Weaselboy

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Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
30,419
10,228
California
When I boot from the TM backup is takes me straight to the OSX Installer app which is on the internal drive on the MBP. Is this because it is failing to recognise the recovery partition?

Do you have a link which shows the step by step instructions please? I can't quite figure out where I'm going wrong.

The TM backup I have is an external USB 2.0 hard drive which has backups made to is using Time Machine. It is not the clone of a full hard drive. I fail to see how it would have the info required to perform a system start up. Is it not just a backup of documents/files?

Thanks so much for this. Tim
The recovery screen from the TM boot looks exactly the same as the internal drive recovery screen. If you are option key booting then selecting the orange TM USB drive and seeing the recovery screen, you are booted to the TM recovery partition.

TM does copy the entire OS and can be used to restore the OS to a blank drive like I described.
 

tejaykay

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 22, 2008
269
44
Edinburgh
The recovery screen from the TM boot looks exactly the same as the internal drive recovery screen. If you are option key booting then selecting the orange TM USB drive and seeing the recovery screen, you are booted to the TM recovery partition.

TM does copy the entire OS and can be used to restore the OS to a blank drive like I described.
The problem I'm having is that when I select the TM backup in the boot selection screen, it doesn't lead me to the recovery screen, it takes me back to the El Capitan OS X installer on the local startup drive.

I know this because if I select Startup Disks from the Apple logo menu in the taskbar, it only shows me the local startup disk.
 

Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
30,419
10,228
California
The problem I'm having is that when I select the TM backup in the boot selection screen, it doesn't lead me to the recovery screen, it takes me back to the El Capitan OS X installer on the local startup drive.

I know this because if I select Startup Disks from the Apple logo menu in the taskbar, it only shows me the local startup disk.
What OS version was the 2008 TM backup made with?
 

tejaykay

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 22, 2008
269
44
Edinburgh
This should definitely work then. When you say it takes you back to the El Capitan installer, what exactly does that look like?

http://pondini.org/OSX/RecoveryHD.html

See the section in the green box here.
I've attached the process I see on screen.

Image 1 - option of booting from TM Backup (named TARDIS; apologies)
Image 2 - Apple loading bar

Then, about 5-10mins later...
Image 3 - 'failed to open OS X installer'

From here I am only left with shutting down and restarting. Utilities menu in the menu bar is all greyed out.

Opening Startup Disk in Apple Menu only shows current internal drive for startup disk (image 4).
 

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