MacBook Crash and Return

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by PetterH, Nov 24, 2013.

  1. PetterH, Nov 24, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2013

    PetterH macrumors newbie

    Nov 24, 2013
    Hello dear Mac users!

    A while ago I was surfing on my old black MacBook when all of a sudden a white screen with a blinking folder with a question mark appeared.

    I figured out it was a hard drive crash and not much to do about it.

    By coincidence some years later I had an 120 GB Intel SSD lying around at home and I wanted my old MacBook back.

    It was not hard to replace my old mechanic hard drive with this super light SSD and I thought this was going to be an easy ride.

    Since I didn't have any OS X Install DVD/CD or backup drive ( I did also not have empty dual layer DVDs or a Mac with burning capability) my first idea was to install a fresh copy to my MacBook via an USB-memory stick.

    I only had a PC at home at the moment so I Googled around trying to find out how to make a bootable USB with OS X in Windows.

    Not much luck there and after trying several methods I gave up. My MacBook never found the USB-stick as a boot option.

    I turned to my friend who had a MacBook Pro at home and he created an USB with DiskUtility. Finally, I thought but no boot option showed up on my MacBook.

    Another friend then lent me some of her OS X DVDs ( grey ones ) that she received when she bought her MacBook Pro but had never used them.

    I inserted the DVD in my Optical Drive. Voila! First response in years. The installation program started but I received an error message: "This version of OS X can not be installed on this computer".

    Nonetheless, I did now have access to System Information, DiskUtility and Startup Disk. Entering DiskUtility I realized only my Install DVD showed up. Where is my hard drive?

    After reformatting it to all kinds of protocols and partitions on another computer I still couldn't find it on my MacBook.

    Really frustrated I turned to a final solution: Top Case Removal. "YouTube is your friend" and I managed to find 2 loose screws inside my drive compartment (and after putting it back to normal I had 3 screws and 2 plastic bits left over).

    Put the SSD back in position and reboot. Voila! The installation program starts, same error message and in DiskUtility my SSD shows up!

    Erase - Partition - Erase Partition. Nope still not able to Install. After some googling i found out that my DVDs where only compatible with the newer MacBookPro they arrived with.

    Back to my USB. Since I knew the DVD image was bootable and not some crap I found on the internet I restored the DVD image to my USB using DiskUtility on my MacBook. Reboot but I still only got the DVD as a boot option.

    Now my goal was to find a new image that was a Retail version of a Mac OS X Install DVD and I did. Using my girlfriend's newly purchased MacBook Pro Retina I restored the Retail Image to my USB and in DiskUtility it shows up beside my SSD as a disk. Even in Startup Disk the USB was an option but it refused to launch. Pressing alt/option key during startup only gave me
    DVD as option or none at all if DVD was removed.

    I had almost given up. Even tried to used my old HDD only to definitely realize it had crashed hard. Then I had an idea. I started up my MacBook using the DVD and had my SSD back in place as well as my USB-stick plugged in.

    Using DiskUtility once more I made 2 partitions on my SSD. One 8GB partition and one 112 GB

    From the USB I restored that retail image to my 8 GB Partition on my SSD.
    I doubled checked Startup Disk and both DVD, USB and SSD was now available. I rebooted once more and pressed alt/option key in this moment of truth.

    My DVD showed up as usual, my USB was nowhere to be found as usual, however, I now had another alternative. Boot from SSD.

    The installation of Snow Leopard begun without any problems and now I can share this story with you from my revived, my resurrected MacBook.

    All I needed was:

    • A new harddrive to replace my crashed one with. ( I chose SSD)
    • An 8 GB USB memory stick
    • An original OS X Installation DVD (any will do since I needed the Utilities)
    • Another working Mac to create the USB
    • An OS X installation DVD image for your MacBook.

    Hope this little story can help you or give you new ideas.

    Feel free to comment or ask me anything!

    Never give up. There is always a way.

  2. WildCard^ macrumors regular

    Oct 11, 2013
    I think most people forget that the 10.6 Snow Leopard install DVD is only $20 USD and ships quickly. I do wish the install error was more specific, such as "this DVD was designed for Macbook 2010's" or something like that. Current error is so vague.

    I live very close to an Apple store, so I was able to show them my email receipt and went to the store to borrow their DVD - to which they let me use their USB install disk and installed it there for me at the bar.
  3. trevm999 macrumors member

    Nov 5, 2013
    One trick with the USB installer is to unplug and plug the USB stick back in when at the boot menu that comes up after holding the option key.

    Or, as noted by Wildcard, this all could have been avoided by buying the 10.6 disc from the Apple store.

    +1 for creativity though. Reminds me of trying to install 10.5 on a power PC with just an image and no DL DVDs...
  4. AppleFanatic10 macrumors 68030


    Nov 2, 2010
    Encino, CA
    Lol. That's what I'm saying. It's only $20 to buy a compatible install DVD for the mac that you have. Unfortunately, most people don't know that you can only use the install disk that came with your MacBook to restore. Apple needed to clarify that when they were making the MacBooks with CD drives.
  5. PetterH, Nov 25, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2013

    PetterH thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 24, 2013

    Yes it would probably have been easier buying the 10.6 disk. However, as far as I knew, I didn't know if my old hard drive was the problem or the connection to it in the Mac. Since I got 0 reponse using the USB-stick. Only the other MacBook Pro DVDs gave me some information of what was wrong.

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