Macbook Air Catch-22

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by 50,000, Aug 24, 2011.

  1. 50,000 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2011
    #1
    All I want to do is reinstall OSX on my Macbook Air. That's it, nothing fancy. Apple has made this simple task impossible however.

    Here's my deal.

    - My MBA has no OS whatsoever.
    - USB on my MBA is fine, but MBA's do not boot from USB unless you specify the device from within the OS, which I can't do.
    - Remote Install would definitely work, except I stupidly installed Lion on my iMac. So no more Remote Install.
    - That leaves booting in Target Disk Mode, but MBA's don't support that either.

    Am I missing something? Why is this so hard? How did they get an OS on there in the first place?
     
  2. MrCheeto macrumors 68030

    MrCheeto

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2008
    #2
    So... booting an MBA while holding option doesn't give you your boot device list?

    Am I missing something?
     
  3. IngerMan, Aug 24, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2011

    IngerMan macrumors 6502a

    IngerMan

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2011
    Location:
    Michigan
    #3
    holding command and the "R" keys on power up :confused:

    Or is it option R ?
     
  4. 50,000, Aug 24, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2011

    50,000 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2011
    #4
    It does, just no USB devices.

    edit:
    I don't have any Apple-brand devices perhaps that's why?

    edit2: 'c' didn't work either.
     
  5. IngerMan macrumors 6502a

    IngerMan

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2011
    Location:
    Michigan
  6. 50,000 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2011
    #6
    Thanks.

    I've made all kinds of bootable USB recovery drives, the trick is getting the system to boot from them. I haven't figured out how to do that yet without using the Startup Disk utility.
     
  7. MrCheeto macrumors 68030

    MrCheeto

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2008
    #7
    If your MBA is a 2011 model, it can only be restored with the online utility...at least as far as Apple wants.
     
  8. blevins321 macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2010
    Location:
    Winnipeg, MB
    #8
    Try Command+option+r. That will make it boot from Apple's servers to their recovery partition, let you redownload that, and them redownload Lion.
     
  9. 50,000 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2011
    #9
    Sadly, nothing :(
     
  10. jackyyeow macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2011
    #10
    If yours is 2011 MBA with backlight keyboard, the only thing you can do now is head to nearest Apple store/reseller/service provider and seek for help, they should be able to reinstall Lion for you by using offline method such as USB key containing Lion installations.
     
  11. ZipZap macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    #11
    Are you really sure your USB drive is a bootable one?

    I created a bootable Lion USB drive and then used it to fresh install lion on my MBA 2010.

    Same would work for 2011.

    Snow Leopard will not install on a 2011 MBA.
     
  12. aleni macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2006
    #12
    my friend changed his ssd with the bigger one from OWC. he pressed option while turning on the mba and the bootable usb worked just fine. r u sure u properly made the bootable lion usb?
     
  13. alecgold macrumors 6502a

    alecgold

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    Location:
    NLD
    #13
    sorry to hear that!
    An Apple store with a genius would be handy if it is nearby.

    Ive had the 2011 11" and FUBARed the migration. I stopped it twice half way (I know, don't flame me :D ) and it went a bit wonky.
    I just pushed the left "alt" key (aka option) while booting and got into a menu that gave me a choice to boot from disk or go online via wifi and download OS-X Lion 10.7.0.
    Maaaan, that took quite a while and it isn't my favorite way. But it did work for me.
     
  14. 50,000 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2011
    #14
    I should have said, mine is from 2009 and came with Leopard installed.
    I didn't realize the models were so different.
     
  15. IngerMan macrumors 6502a

    IngerMan

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2011
    Location:
    Michigan
    #15
    :mad:

    :D

    In order to install Lion, I believe you had to have SNOW Leopard prior. Or a new machine that comes with Lion.

    That is your problem, you only had Leopard. :eek:
     
  16. KPOM macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2010
    #16
    That's why the CMD-R function won't work. If you have access to another Mac, you can download Lion from the App Store and create a bootable USB following directions on Macworld's web site.
     
  17. racketeer71 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2010
    #17
    Easy steps:

    1) Download Lion from AppStore.
    2) Use Disk Utility to "restore" InstallESD.dmg to USB.
    3) Turn off MBA.
    4) Turn on MBA. Immediately press and hold left-ALT key.
    5) Select USB Lion Install as boot device.

    How hard can it be?

    Holding down the left-ALT key has worked for me since 2007 MBP, over 2008 Mac Mini, over 2008 MBP, over 2010 MBP to 2011 MBA. It's crazy if your computer doesn't show a list of boot options when holding it down.

    My best guess is that you perhaps copied the InstallESD file instead of restoring it?
     
  18. jsolares macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 8, 2011
    Location:
    Land of eternal Spring
    #18
    It can be hard if like the OP you don't have a machine with SL where you can download Lion, i guess he could pirate it and install it like that :S, it sucks that it's the best option besides spending 69$ on the lion usb he could use
     
  19. ZipZap macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    #19
    I have a MBA 2010. Put in a new SSD and installed Lion without installing SL first.

    ----------

    Drop into an apple store and let them recover it.
     
  20. IngerMan macrumors 6502a

    IngerMan

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2011
    Location:
    Michigan
    #20
    I must be wrong then. I thought I read the requirements for Lion was a previous version of Snow Leopard or unless you purchase with a new machine lion installed. But again, sorry for the wrong information :eek:
     
  21. jsolares macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
    Location:
    Land of eternal Spring
    #21
    It's a requirement in that you need to download it from Snow Leopard, but if you download and make a usb/dvd with the InstallESD.dmg you can then use that usb/dvd to install over anything you want, even a true clean install.
     
  22. hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    #22
    You might find some ideas from these two recent MacWorld articles:

    Hands on with Lion Recovery Disk Assistant:
    http://www.macworld.com/article/161664/2011/08/hands_on_with_lion_recovery_disk_assistant.html

    Bugs & Fixes: How best to restore an OS X Lion drive:
    http://www.macworld.com/article/161837/2011/08/restore_lion.html#lsrc.nl_mwweek_h_cbintro




    -howard

    ----------

    I believe that requirement is for downloading Lion from the App Store, you must have Snow Leopard upgraded to where the "App Store" app is available to you. You can't get there without the app.


    Concerning USB drives:

    I have both a Snow Leopard and a Lion USB installation flash drive created from information widely available here and via Google. They both work fine for booting and installing on previous Macs and Airs. However, the new Airs and Mac Minis require some special handling which I believe is covered in the above links to some recent MacWorld articles.


    -howard
     
  23. 50,000 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2011
    #23
    Got it sorted. Ran Leopard's network installer through Windows. Thanks everyone for all the help.

    Still though it really shouldn't be this hard, should it? :mad:
     
  24. njsa04playa macrumors 6502

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    Apr 5, 2010
    Location:
    new joisey
    #24
    the root of the problem here is that it is an older macbook air
     
  25. jsolares macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 8, 2011
    Location:
    Land of eternal Spring
    #25
    No it shouldn't, which is why the new Airs have the internet reinstall :D, you could've gotten a usb cd/dvd for cheap as well.
     

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