MacBook Pro OS Reinstall Problem

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Klankster, Apr 7, 2018.

  1. Klankster macrumors newbie

    Apr 7, 2018
    I have a late 2008 MacBook Pro. The HD died and I've replaced it with a Samsung SSD. I have my original Mac OS X Install DVD and my idea is to reinstall the original OS X and go from there but when I try to boot the system with the install DVD I just get the flashing gray folder icon with a question mark. Pressing C at startup should boot from the CD, correct?

    I've tried every imaginable boot option, including holding the Option key to get to the Startup Manager but it just shows a cursor arrow -- that's it -- no keys seem to do anything. Why is it not seeing or reading my OS X Install DVD? Last time I tried the DVD reader it was working fine.

    If the DVD drive isn't reading properly, is there a way I can transfer the Install DVD to a thumb drive and try that? I don't have another Mac so I'd have to somehow transfer the DVD to a thumb drive on my PC. Would that be possible?

    Any suggestions appreciated. This computer works fine otherwise and I'd like to get it back up and running.

  2. Darmok N Jalad macrumors 65816

    Darmok N Jalad

    Sep 26, 2017
    Boot holding down the option key. It will show you the available boot disks.

    I’m not sure if you can turn an install DVD into a USB installer, but if you have the “Install Mac OS X” app downloaded, you can turn that app into a bootable USB installer rather easily. Can you put in your old HDD and do so? What version would you be installing?
  3. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    What version of the OS do you want to install?
    I'm not sure what the latest version of the OS is that you can run on a 2008 MPB.
    I -think- 10.8.5 "Mountain Lion" would do fine on it, since it now has an SSD.
    I would use the -very last- version of the OS that was installable on the 2008 MBP.

    You could try cleaning the DVD drive -- research how to do it on the net.
    If the internal DVD won't work, you're going to have to find another way to install.
    You -might- be able to get things booted by using an EXTERNAL DVD drive.
    If you don't have one, do you have a library near you that might have a USB DVD drive that they would let you use "in the library"?
    If so, I would connect it and see if I could get the DVD booted that way.
    It's not really worth BUYING an external DVD unless you can get one dirt-cheap.

    You might be able to use a BOOTABLE USB flash drive with the OS installer on it to get the MacBook running again.
    But there remain problems.
    You'll have to find a copy of the installer app.
    You need ANOTHER MAC for the creation of the bootable USB flash drive.
    (I've heard that this can be done using a PC, but it's an involved process).

    Another suggestion:
    There are sellers on ebay who will sell you a bootable USB flashdrive with the installer on it, ready-to-go. All you do is plug it in and boot that way, and then install the OS.
    I've never used one of them (I keep an extensive library of old Mac install software for myself).
    But sometimes you have to do, what you have to do.
    Expect to pay $20-30 for such a USB installer.
    But it might be your only realistic option at this point.
    IMPORTANT: I'm not even sure if a 2008 MBP can boot from USB, although I'm guessing it can be.

    Do you have an independent (non-Apple Store) computer repair shop nearby that also handles Macs?
    Perhaps they could prepare the USB flash drive (for a fee, of course).
  4. Klankster thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 7, 2018
    Holy moly. Well, stubborn persistance pays off! I swear i tried that installer disk 20 times last night; no dice. So I copied it to a new DVD on my PC thinking that might reveal a disk problem but it copied OK. So I tried booting with the copy... nothing. but I could hear the DVD drive trying to read it. So I reinserted the original and had the same behavior; whirring then ejecting. Kept retrying out of sheer annoyance and finally it showed the option to boot from it! I got in and partitioned the SSD and it's now installing. WHEW!

    Thanks for the help. Maybe the computer sensed how annoyed I was getting and decided to cooperate!
    --- Post Merged, Apr 8, 2018 ---
    P.S. once this is fully up and running again I think I'll set up a USB installer, just in case.
  5. Darmok N Jalad macrumors 65816

    Darmok N Jalad

    Sep 26, 2017
    It's always good to have a bootable USB installer drive of your current OS version. That way if you ever run into serious problems (like total drive failure), you'll have something you can easily boot to.

    Also, be sure to enable TRIM once you get up and running.
  6. DennisBlah macrumors 6502


    Dec 5, 2013
    The Netherlands
    Why didn’t you want to boot with N ?
    And install from the internet?

    A install dvd is something I havent seen for a few years now ;-)

Share This Page