New Harddrive Installation: 'Mac OS X cannot be installed'

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Darthfuzzy, Oct 28, 2008.

  1. Darthfuzzy macrumors newbie

    Oct 28, 2008
    Okay, here's the deal guys. Hopefully you can help me out a little bit.

    I have a macbook pro (2.2 ghz Dual Core) and I just recently upgraded my harddrive from a 100GB to 500GB harddrive. The harddrive is working. It's been erased and formated to mac extended format (extended). The OS X disk utility also recognizes that the Hard Drive is infact there.

    But here's the problem: when I start up the computer to install OS X, I get an error: 'Mac OS X cannot be installed on this computer: this software cannot be installed on this computer.'

    I'm using my roommates OS X disks since I left mine in Texas (I'm currently at college in LA. I have a legit copy of leopard at home). Is that the reason that the software is not installing? If so, do I have to get my leopard CDs from home shipped to me to get them to work? Or do I have to get my original factory CDs? Because honestly, I have no idea where my original computer factory CDs are that came with the computer are, but I know where my leopard CDs are since the computer originally came with Tiger.

    The harddrive by the way is a Samsung HM500LI which is sold on numerous mac upgrade sites as a working macbook drive.

    Thanks a ton.
  2. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    In Disk Utility under Partition did you make sure the drive was partitioned to use the GUID partition table?
  3. bcaslis macrumors 68020

    Mar 11, 2008
    Two things would prevent this:

    1.) You don't have the drive partitioned as GUID (as already mentioned).
    2.) The discs you are using came with a computer and it's a different model then the one you are trying to install on. Discs that come with the computers are locked to that specific model so you can't install on a different type of machine.
  4. Moof1904 macrumors 65816

    May 20, 2004
    I ran into this same problem and it turns out that I had grabbed an OS install disk that was trying to install a version of MacOS that was older than the one that shipped with the computer.

    Even if you have an install disk that's otherwise suitable for doing a full install on any Mac, if it's an older version of the OS than shipped with the computer originally, the install will not work.
  5. bcaslis macrumors 68020

    Mar 11, 2008
    That's true also. I forgot to mention that.
  6. TheHoff macrumors 6502

    Oct 22, 2008
    Why does it have to be GUID? I'm booting from an MBR partitioned 320 gig in a MBP.
  7. bcaslis macrumors 68020

    Mar 11, 2008
    What's a MBR?

    Intel Macs require the GUID partitioning to boot. PPCs boot with the previous Apple format.
  8. TheHoff macrumors 6502

    Oct 22, 2008
    I doubt this has anything to do with the OP's issue, but Intel Macs can also boot from MBR partitioned drives (Master Boot Record). It is a legacy partitioning scheme from Vista; I neglected to re-do it when I moved the drive to the Mac. After a bit of research, the performance differences are non-existent between the two.

    This is my boot drive in a 2.4 Macbook Pro:

    Attached Files:

    • mbr.gif
      File size:
      20.6 KB
  9. Romanesq macrumors 6502a


    Jun 16, 2003

    It's Guid to go!

    Got it? Just do it.
  10. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    I'm surprised that the Leopard installer works on MBR by default. Thanks for the information.
  11. jeremyscheller macrumors newbie

    Apr 22, 2009
    A Simple Solution that requires a bit of hardware.

    I've had this problem today with a macbook that was a former employees.

    I wiped the drive because I just wanted a clean install. I did this from Disk Utility on the Leopard DVD. Didn't realize I wouldn't be able to reinstall straight from the Leopard DVD and the original install discs appear to be missing.

    Here's what I had on hand that made it possible.

    1. A Mac OS X install disc (not the one that came with a computer)
    2. A LaCie Firewire External drive.
    3. A LaCie External DVD drive. Presumable it doesn't matter what manufacturer you're using as long as one of the external drives has dual firewire ports so you can daisy chain them together.

    Here's the solution.

    1. On another mac (borrow one or find a friend if you don't have one) attach the firewire hard drive and insert a Mac OS X install disc and install OS X on to the external hard drive.
    2. Connect the firewire drives together and then to the mac you want OS X installed on.
    3. Start up from the external hard drive and put the install disc in the external DVD drive. You should see the OS X DVD mount and then just click it to start the installer. It should restart from the external DVD without trouble.
    4. Now it will allow you to install OS X on the internal drive of the macbook or whatever you want it installed on.

    It took a minute to figure out, but has saved a ton of trouble. Most of the solutions I've seen for this require getting into command line and disc images and I'm not interested in messing around with that.

    Hope that helps people.
  12. rubbermacrumour macrumors newbie

    Aug 31, 2008
    That is a good suggestion, but I don't have an external DVD.

    My solution: I joined one mac to another using a firewire cable, started the (newer) destination Macbook in target mode (apple-t on startup), and proceeded to use the old installation discs belonging to the older Macbook to install the older Mac OS on the newer Macbook's internal hard drive.


  13. Newton63 macrumors newbie

    Aug 28, 2009
    Mac OS X cannot be installed

    I have a PPC G5 and just put two new 250 GB SATA 300 drives in it. They are formatted Mac OS X Extended (journaled) and using the Apple Partition format. I should not have to make them GUID yet I still can't get the install going. Please advise

  14. chrfr macrumors 604

    Jul 11, 2009
    Are you trying to install with a disc for a specific model of computer, which would be indicated by the disc being grey? If so, you'll need the retail disc which is black.
  15. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    EDIT - oops, I should learn to check post dates.
  16. Newton63 macrumors newbie

    Aug 28, 2009
  17. MacFAQ macrumors newbie

    Oct 28, 2010
    I partitioned as GUID, didn't work.

    Got the correct Leopard disc, worked.

    Thanks guys!
  18. mdlee2009 macrumors member

    Aug 2, 2012
    My original hard drive crashed a few months ago. I started in safe mode to get to Disk Utility and it wasn't there so I knew it was fried. My MB (white mid 2007) originally came with Tiger, but I only have a Snow Leopard Install DVD. I assumed that would work because all of Apple's documentation says you shouldn't install an earlier version, but nothing about a later version.

    So I got a new hard drive, same brand and everything. At power up, I held down Option/Alt and I could select the install DVD as my start up. I could then get to Disk Utility and was able to partition the new HD. For some reason, the DVD looks like it wants to install, but it gives me a pop up that says it can't install and asks me to back up from Time Machine or another back up. So I tried to follow some other posts and tried to repair the disk and permissions, but it didn't need permissions fixed. I checked the Startup Disk Utility and my HD didn't show up there. It only had the Install DVD and a Network drive (which I don't have). It says it is a MacBook Mac OS X Install DVD. Mac OS version 10.6.3, Disc version 1.0, 2Z691-6653-A.
  19. chrfr macrumors 604

    Jul 11, 2009
    If you have a Snow Leopard disc, you need the retail one, which is white. Call the Apple store, I believe they will still sell you one for $29.

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