Slower MacBook (2007 issue) since it helped a MBP out of Lion

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by Cubytus, Feb 25, 2012.

  1. Cubytus macrumors 65816

    Mar 2, 2007
    Hello all,

    I used a 'BlackBook' on Tiger (10.4.11) to downgrade a MacBook Pro (late 2011) to Snow Leopard when connected in FireWire target mode, since this MacBook Pro didn't come with Snow Leopard installed. I thought it would be temporary after-effect, but according to its user, although not "critical", it's significantly slower than before.

    I'm still astonished by Mac's long useful lives, to computers standards, and told her that, if the university would sell her this same machine at used price, she should accept. 4GB RAM, an SSD and Snow Leopard would give it more useful life.

    How can this slowness issue be solved, knowing that this BlackBook is university issue and sports a custom Tiger image ? The Snow Leopard install failed to boot for some unknown reason after I resized its partition using Drive Genius 3, and I had to reformat it two days after installing it. Thus, I will require her BlackBook, again. I don't want her to waste time with an otherwise good machine (2GHz C2D, 2GB RAM).
  2. jamesmack1 macrumors newbie

    Sep 7, 2007
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    If I'm reading this right, you're using an image on a BlackBook to partition a fairly recent MBP. Apple strongly recommends users not install a version of OS X that's older than the version than the machine came with. See the below Apple KB post for more info and the Apple KB link for what OS version ships with a particular machine.

    Apple's warning:

    OS versions:
  3. minifridge1138 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 26, 2010
    I'm also confused.

    Correct me if this is NOT what happened.

    1) Booted a 2011 MacBook Pro into Target Disk Mode.
    2) Booted a Black MacBook off of a Snow Leopard install Medium (DVD, USB, etc).
    3) Connected them with a firewire cable.
    4) Used the 'BlackBook' to install Snow Leopard onto the MacBook Pro.
    5) The 'BlackBook' is now having performance issues.
    6) The MacBook Pro was have so many issues that you had to reformat the hard drive.

    I have no idea why the Black MacBook would have any problems. Unless you did something very strange when you installed SL on the other computer, nothing should have changed on it. Just reboot and it will be back to normal.

    The MacBook Pro is a different story. Apple keeps a very close relationship between their software and their hardware.
    They assure that current hardware will work with current software.
    They also do a very good job of making sure that hardware will work with the next 2 or 3 versions of software.

    You're going the opposite direction. You're trying to install old software on new hardware. Apple doesn't support that. Sometimes you get lucky.

    If you're going to try this, make sure you're running Snow Leopard 10.6.8. That's going to have the latest drivers available for hardware (and your best chance at making this work).

    Good Luck!!!
  4. Cubytus thread starter macrumors 65816

    Mar 2, 2007
    I'm not going to let incompatibility issues and expected weird behavior hamper my work. Lion broke many common, mission-critical programs I am using, and Geniuses were unhelpful in correcting the incompatibilities. Refurb doesn't have the keyboard I'm using constantly, so downgrading was the only option. I left Lion on a small partition, and use Snow Leopard on the other one.

    Thanks for the links. According to what I read here, Apple classifies its laptops by date sold, but not by actual hardware ID. I was told the MacBook Pro 8,1 was both early 2011 and late 2011, hence could have been incuded with 10.6.6, 10.6.7, 10.7, 10.7.1, 10.7.2.

    My build is 10K549 on 10.6.8. I suspect it may be because my Snow Leopard installation comes from a 10.6.3 Family licensed retail disc, updated to 10.6.8 since 10.6.3 didn't have the necessary drivers.

    Am I correct?

    @minifridge1138> 1) to 5) are correct, 6) is incorrect. In fact, moving and resizing the SL partition on the MBP led to an unbootable SL partition for an unknown reason. When looking for the error code, I only found hackintosh-related posts, and the exact reason of the bug was unknown. All who got this error simply reinstalled the OS.

    I don't remember doing anything exceptional to the BlackBook. It was running off its internal SuperDrive, then from the external MBP hard drive. When updating Snow Leopard, maybe he started to index both the BlackBook and the MBP's hard drive?

    Otherwise, is there any test or maintenance I should try on her BlackBook to know what's going on?
  5. jamesmack1 macrumors newbie

    Sep 7, 2007
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Definitely sounds right. Even if your MPB is older, 10K549 would probably work quite well on the Late 2011 revision due to the chipset similarities between the two. As an aside, I can completely understand your switch back to SL - I'm considering it myself.

    I'm struggling to think of something that the installer could've damaged while installing OS X to another HD. Have your tried resetting NVRAM on the BlackBook? There could be some OS-specific keys that the installer could've changed or possibly some sort of firmware update when you went from 10.6.3 to 10.6.8... although it's so low-level I doubt something OS-specific would be there, and resetting the NVRAM isn't going to undo a firmware update. Could be worth a shot though.

    You could also try using Onyx ( to run a structure check of the system flies to verify that everything's complete and working on the BlackBook's HD.

    I'll look through my notes and see if I can find something on this. If you only started the BlackBook from an OS X Install DVD and connected it to an MBP in Target Disk Mode, I really don't see why (or how) the BlackBook is experiencing difficulty.
  6. Cubytus thread starter macrumors 65816

    Mar 2, 2007
    Actually, I booted the BlackBook to Tiger to make sure target mode was working, then I slided SL DVD and its intsaller immediately required a reboot, which I did.

    I dont remember seeing any firmware update coming through the update process.

    I'll try resetting NVRAM, but i'm wary about Onyx. It's so powerful that it is easy to screw the computer or cause instabilities: what operations are reccommended for such a case, and which are not?

    In all cases, downgrading is not "easily feasible", as the Specialist told me. You have to have another, non-Lion, FireWire (i.e. older) Mac on hand, which is not easy if you don't already have one.
  7. logana macrumors 65816


    Feb 4, 2006
    I have been trying to work out what you did too !!!

    The MBP was put in Target Disc mode and you then installed 10.6 onto the Blackbooks hard disc (to a new partition that you forgot to mention) or onto the MBP's hard drive (having erased the MBP's hard drive) ?

    I assume that the OSX 10.6 disk was at least 10.6.8 ? and a retail disk ?

    The normal way would be to completely erase or repartition the new MBP's disk to get rid of the hidden recovery partition.

    Run the 10.6 installer and select the MBP's hard drive as the destination disk and then install.

    I get the impression that is not what you have done since you are mentioning resizing the 10.6 partition and booting from the 10.6 install on the Blackbook....or were you booting from the MBP's hard disk ????
  8. Cubytus thread starter macrumors 65816

    Mar 2, 2007
    On the MBP drive. The difference isn't hard to tell between an orange and a grey icon.

    No. The disc was 10.6.3, as, to my knowledge, there is no 10.6.8 "retail disc". Only discs that allow restoring a specific model of MBP they come with. That made installing SL not a short process since I had to manually install 10.6.8 before freeing the BlackBook

    I did all you state here, but intended to keep the first post short for people to read it more easily and readily. Of course I installed Lion first to at least get a half-baked OS working while I looked for someone with an older Mac, losing days of work in the process since it simply couldn't be done as efficiently in Lion as it was in SL. Resizing was done offline, after installing Lion, to get more space for SL and reduce SL to a small but usable partition. This was done in the unlikely event that some breakhrough application supports only Lion, or just when I feel Lion is finally ready for production purposes.

    What should have been a painless experience is still complicated and unpleasant.
  9. minifridge1138 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 26, 2010
    This thread still makes no sense.

    MacBook - Black - Running 10.4. Belongs to your friend. Friend was happy.
    MacBook Pro - Running 10.7. Belongs to you. You were not happy. Wanted 10.6.

    You booted the MBP into target disk mode.
    You booted the MB off of a 10.6.3 install disk.
    Wiped all partitions from the MBP.
    You installed 10.6.3 onto the MBP's hard drive.
    You booted the MB off of the MBP's hard drive.
    You updated 10.6.3 to 10.6.8.

    Is that what you did?
    Did you do anything else?
  10. Cubytus thread starter macrumors 65816

    Mar 2, 2007
    Hope this correction makes it clearer.
  11. logana macrumors 65816


    Feb 4, 2006
    That has not help to clarify much !!

    Did you completely erase (repartition) the MBP hard drive BEFORE you ran the 10.6 installer ?

    Your clarification sounds as if you installed 10.6 onto a new partition on the MBP drive and then possibly resized the partitions at some stage after the install. Disk Utility does not show the Lion recovery partition and therefore cannot resize or remove it.

    None of this explains why the Blackbook is now running slower though......
  12. Cubytus thread starter macrumors 65816

    Mar 2, 2007
    That is exactly what happened.

    As said in the very first post, I used Drive Genius 3, installed in a Snow Leopard external clone, not Disk Utility, to resize and move the SL partition.

    That is precisely what this topic is about.
  13. logana macrumors 65816


    Feb 4, 2006
    I must be really stupid but if you erased the MBP drive before you installed then why are you using Drive Genius to resize and MOVE the SL partition.

    Move the partition from where ? The Blackbook hard disk ?

    We keep asking if you installed 10.6 on the Blackbook and you keep saying no....

    We keep asking if you erased the MBP hard disk before you installed 10.6 onto the MBP and you keep saying yes......

    Did you move and then resize a 10.6 install from the Blackbook onto the MBP ???
  14. minifridge1138 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 26, 2010
    I am also confused about the involvement of Drive Genius.
    I now understand how you booted and installed, but not how you partitioned.

    What were you resizing and moving?
  15. Cubytus thread starter macrumors 65816

    Mar 2, 2007
    Because the drive where Lion and SL intended to reside was a former, tri-partitioned, higher performance 2.5" HDD, si was swapped with the original internal HDD. I just changed minds about tri-partition, and decided I would only use 2, really, but didn't want to go through the hassle of installing Lion from scratch again.

    In Drive Genius 3, one cannot resize the partition by its "top end". You have to move it first at the beginning of the newly freed space, then resize it from the "bottom end" of the partition.

    I already stated the BackBook still has its Tiger image.

    I already stated the MBP partition intended for Snow Leopard was erased, not the whole disk.

    And I already stated the move was a partition move, within the same disk. No completed installation was moved between computers, first because I'm not sure Mac OS X would have included each and every driver for a more recent laptop (though that would make an interesting topic: how to make an installable copy of a difficult installation, such as Snow Leopard on an officially non-Snow Leopard Mac?), second because it would have taken way too much time, and third, because the BlackBook's HDD is simply too small.

    The MBP so far is fine, after failing to boot following partition move and resize, and the topic is about the BlackBook. Why ask questions about the laptop that's working fine?
  16. logana macrumors 65816


    Feb 4, 2006
  17. Cubytus thread starter macrumors 65816

    Mar 2, 2007
    Precisely because none of what you describe before that statement happened.

    But since all operations were performed on the BlackBook (except partition move/resize, where the BlackBook wasn't used at all) running off the MBP's drive, perhaps it is where the confusion comes from?

    Custom images are standard procedure in academic institutions. And they upgrade, though much slower than the editors pull out new versions. Printing system still doesn't support 10.6 officially (though it works fine), let alone 10.7. I already suggested to its primary user that the BlackBook could be upgraded, but these operations carry risks, lost working time, and is only now beginning to show signs of age by not supporting more recent versions of common software she's using. Finally, its primary users shows lack of interest since her PhD is almost over anyway.

    PCs have skipped the Vista landmark, and most of them are still running Windows XP. Only a handful are Windows 7, and the hardware wasn't upgraded above the "Vista Capable" sticker anyway, though the most recent Microsoft OS is slowly being deployed on existing stations.

    Still, having a slower BlackBook since a seemingly trivial operation just is abnormal
  18. minifridge1138 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 26, 2010
    Forget all of this. Things are too confusing. Facts are being missed / glossed over.

    I say just start from scratch.

    Use Drive Genius to remove all partitions on the MBP.
    Put the MBP into target disk mode.

    Boot the 10.4 MacBook, hold the option key, and select the CD.
    Install 10.6.3 onto the MBP hard drive.
    Boot the 10.4 MacBook, hold the option key, select the 10.6.3 partition on the MBP.
    Run system update.
    Shut down the 10.4 MacBook.
    Reboot the MBP.

    You're done.

    The only think I can think of that might have impacted the 10.4 MacBook is when you launched the installer from 10.4. It could have modified somesettings some place because it was anticipating an update (at the very least it changed the startup disk).

    Try booting the 10.4 disk into safe mode. Then reboot. I've had some luck fixing a corrupt boot by going into safe mode.
  19. Cubytus, Mar 2, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2012

    Cubytus thread starter macrumors 65816

    Mar 2, 2007
    Thanks, but I'm not going to reinstall a fine-running Snow Leopard from scratch whereas the topic is not at all about the MacBook Pro (although I still wonder why moving/resizing the partition would cause an unbootable SL installation), but the slower-running BlackBook.

    So, just going into safe mode might help?

    How to make it "forget" that it was not the One intended to be updated?

    Presently, it boots slower, and runs slower.
  20. minifridge1138 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 26, 2010
    Even that is confusing. In one sentence you talk about a fine-running Snow Leopard AND an unbootable SL installation.
    And moving/resizing a partition could DEFINITELY make an installation unbootable. It all depends on what it did to the boot record.


    Yes, going into safe mode might help.
    I moved a Snow Leopard partition to an external drive then reformatted the original drive.
    Then I moved the SL partition from the external to a different internal drive.
    When I tried to boot off of the SL internal drive, it hung at the spinning wheel and apple logo.
    I booted holding shift, which added a progress bar to the spinning wheel and apple logo. Then it booted. It had limited driver support because it was in safe mode. I ran permission repair and disk repair (just to be sure).
    I rebooted normally and everything was fine.
    It's worth a try.
  21. Cubytus thread starter macrumors 65816

    Mar 2, 2007
    If you read the first post, as well as the followings, you'd have noticed that SL was installed TWO times. The first failed within a few days due to an unknown reason after moving/resizing partition, the second time worked fine.

    In Drive Genius, I only remember deleting the empty partition in between Lion and SL, moved the SL one, and resized it to take the newly empty space created.

    Now the topic is about the BlackBook slowness.

    You imply that actually trying safe mode may have worked on the un bootable SL installation, even if no partition transfer was involved in my case? Is it possible some sort of flag, or ID, somehow somewhere got messed up during the moving/resize operation?

    So far, two possible solutions for the BlackBook
    1- Reset the NVRAM
    2- Boot once in Safe Mode, then reboot normally.

    Is this it? I don't have access to the BlackBook to test it right away.
  22. jamesmack1 macrumors newbie

    Sep 7, 2007
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    I'm afraid it seems like it. I can't think of any other reasons. The whole issue is bizarre in the first place... it's definitely never happened to me, even when I installed 10.4 onto an iMac using the same idea as you (iMac in TDM, using BlackBook to install 10.4 onto iMac).

    After scouring my notes, I'm afraid I really can't be of more help. My apologies. Please do let us know if you make headway.
  23. Cubytus thread starter macrumors 65816

    Mar 2, 2007

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