HD failed, internet recorvery is failing, can't seem to make a functional boot drive

corko

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 29, 2016
18
1
none
Okay, my Macbook came with Lion. The internal hard drive has failed, so I got a new one, and when I try to install Lion via internet recovery it just gives me "This item is temporarily unavailable." for days now.

It came with Lion, but it supports Sierra and when I installed Sierra I did have the presence of mind to save the InstallESD.dmg file to an external hard drive. So I've also tried to make a boot USB drive using InstallESD, by several means. I've copied the dmg file to the internal hard drive, and then used Disk Utility to format the USB drive (GUID partition table, single partition with Mac OS Extended file system), then Restore the dmg file to the formatted USB drive.

This seems to work, but I can't get the Macbook to recognize the drive as bootable.

I also have a Linux laptop and have tried making a boot drive by converting the dmg file to ISO, then doing the same thing. With the same results.

Would appreciate any ideas. I've been stuck on this for days now. (Why does the internet restore not work?!? It has one job!)

I also have the Sierra BaseSystem.dmg, if that's... useful for anything. If there was a SHA hash for InstallESD somewhere I could check it to see if it got corrupted.
 
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Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
19,418
6,722
What year was the MacBook Pro made?
If it's 2009 or earlier, it can't do "internet recovery". Not possible.
If it's a 2010, it -might- do internet recovery IF it has had the appropriate firmware update.
If it's 2011 or later, it CAN do internet recovery.

Which one is it?
Tell us that, and then we can go on.
 

corko

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 29, 2016
18
1
none
Where do I find that? It only says "MacBook", with and Apple logo on the top and some FCC information on the bottom.

The closest thing that I can find to a version number is in OS X Utilities - Version 1.0 (33).

Assuming that it's from 2009 probably isn't unreasonable, I bought this used and cheap. Why can't it do internet recovery? Just not supported anymore?

Edit: Oh, ha. It's a Mid 2010. Got that from an earlier post of mine.
 
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hobowankenobi

macrumors 65816
Aug 27, 2015
1,314
396
on the land line mr. smith.
Internet recovery got rolled out as a feature, and as I recall as new models rolled out. So during the transition period, some Macs could use it while others could not. An awkward transition, likely dependent on specific firmware, which in turn may have been dependent on specific hardware.

On a Mac of this vintage, a bootable installer, or a bootable external drive....or another Mac connected via Target Disk Mode may be the easiest way to proceed. Any of those things available?
 

corko

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 29, 2016
18
1
none

corko

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 29, 2016
18
1
none
I'd be happy to try a different tool, but I'm limited to what I can use in Linux and what I can use in the system restore - that means Disk Utility and things that I can run from the terminal.

Yes, I formatted HFS+ (though Disk Utility calls it Mac OS Extended (Journaled)), with a GUID partition table.

Edit: Oh, wait! I just remembered that I have a Windows 7 partition on my Linux laptop. Forgot about that, I never use it for anything, but that's an option if there's a Windows utility which will work. I'll go look for one.
 
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Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
19,418
6,722
OP:

Can we get something clear here?

Do you have any way to "boot the MBP to the finder" RIGHT NOW?

ANYTHING "that works"?

If you do, tell us EXACTLY how you're doing it.

I don't mean "booting a copy of the installer" -- I mean "booting to the finder and logging into a user account".

Are you able to do this?
 

hobowankenobi

macrumors 65816
Aug 27, 2015
1,314
396
on the land line mr. smith.
I'd be happy to try a different tool, but I'm limited to what I can use in Linux and what I can use in the system restore - that means Disk Utility and things that I can run from the terminal.

Yes, I formatted HFS+ (though Disk Utility calls it Mac OS Extended (Journaled)), with a GUID partition table.

Edit: Oh, wait! I just remembered that I have a Windows 7 partition on my Linux laptop. Forgot about that, I never use it for anything, but that's an option if there's a Windows utility which will work. I'll go look for one.
One of the cross platform tools may help. I see Disk Drill (data recovery mostly) now includes cloning, emergency booting, plus can make a bootable OS installer option. Can you make an installer from a different OS? Dunno...
 

corko

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 29, 2016
18
1
none
@fisherman: There's no booting to finder. There's no finder - the hard drive is new and empty. I can only boot to recovery, and so the only things which work are things in recovery: Disk Utility and things I can run from the terminal.

Come to think of it, when I first got this computer I had a similar problem after I wiped the original hard drive. I was only able to make a boot drive that the MacBook would accept by two ways: use a pirated copy of OS X, or use the createinstallmedia utility in the terminal.

I had hoped that this wouldn't be an issue this time, because I had the official files from Apple, and because I have an Apple account with a registered MacBook now (I didn't before), but neither of those things have panned out for me.

The BaseSystem.dmg file does have createinstallmedia in it, but when I try to run it I get: "Illegal Instruction: 4" which the internet tells me is a version mismatch. I guess the Sierra version of createinstallmedia is too new to run in recovery.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
19,418
6,722
OP wrote:
"There's no booting to finder. There's no finder - the hard drive is new and empty. I can only boot to recovery, and so the only things which work are things in recovery: Disk Utility and things I can run from the terminal.
Come to think of it, when I first got this computer I had a similar problem after I wiped the original hard drive. I was only able to make a boot drive that the MacBook would accept by two ways: use a pirated copy of OS X, or use the createinstallmedia utility in the terminal."


If you can get to recovery, you can get further.
I think you should re-read what you yourself wrote in the second paragraph above.

MacConfucious say:
"When one pathway fails, but another works, why does MacUser keep walking down the path that fails?"

It's time to walk down a path you (and most readers of this forum) will have never tried before.

Do you have around a USB flash drive that is 32gb or larger?
Even 16gb might do (not sure about that).
Or, an external USB drive of ANY size (doesn't matter)?

If so, try this next:
1. Boot to recovery.
2. Connect the flashdrive or external drive
3. Open Disk Utility.
4. Erase the flashdrive to Mac OS extended with journaling enabled
5. Close DU and open the OS installer
6. The OS installer will ask WHERE you want to install
7. AIM IT "at" the flashdrive (NOT at the internal drive)
8. Will the OS installer work that way?

You're going to have to try this, before we can walk further down that pathway...
Hint: print this out and keep it beside you as you work.
 
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