Used mac help

Discussion in 'iMac' started by txagemtp, Nov 1, 2017.

  1. txagemtp macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2017
    I bought a used macbook pro late 2008. 15" with dual HDD and no CD. It came with OS X El Capitan. Being this is my first Mac I wanted to wipe everything and perform a fresh install. I did so however now I am unable to reinstall the OS. It says temporarily unavailable... I tried the USB boot route but it gets about halfway through install then I get the circle with line through it.... How do I fix this?
  2. organicCPU macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2016
    Always make a bootable backup of a running system, before fiddling around.
    There is no internet recovery for your model available.
    The maximum OS version for your MacBook Pro is Mac OS X El Capitan 10.11.6. Anything beyond won't work.
    Get a working USB installer thumb drive with Mac OS X 10.6.x up to Mac OS X 10.11.x on it, press the Option key while booting and install it. Besides, newer Mac OS X versions like to run on a SSD.
  3. txagemtp thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2017
    I used transmac from a windows pc and made a USB bootable. When I tried to install it I get the circle with line through it.
    --- Post Merged, Nov 1, 2017 ---
    I used transmac on my PC to make a mac USB bootable. When I tried to install from it, it gives me the circle with line through it. Did I download a version of el capitan that is not compatible?
  4. organicCPU macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2016
    Any El Capitan version should be compatible as long as it isn't broken.
    As far as I can read on the acutesystems site, transmac can't make a USB thumb drive installer.
    To make a working USB installer, you can either use built-in tools or an App like DiskMaker X.
    I don't know how to do this on a PC.

    Right now, I started to understand what you are trying to do by reading through this and that instructions.
    I see two main problems with that. 1.) You don't know what's inside such kind of a prepared installer you just download from somewhere 2.) Those files could be outdated and you'd need to adjust the time of your Mac.

    1.) If you didn't already download a legit copy of El Capitan directly from Apple in the past, you unfortunately won't be able to get it anymore in a legit way.

    The only really legit solution I can imagine, is to buy a DVD of Mac OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.x, then install it like described here and upgrade to El Capitan through the Mac App Store (probably it will let you upgrade to the last OS version you can use, but I'm not sure about that). You won't need a built-in optical drive for that.

    I can't recommend to download some Mac OS X installer from a "suspicious" source from the internet.
    I also can't recommend asking a friend you trust for a working installer drive, because that's not really legit, too.
    You could ask at a (non)Apple Mac store, if they can help you. Maybe you buy a fast SSD drive there and ask them to install the system on it. I even don't know if that would be legit, but they'll know.

    2.) Set the date to a time in the past, if you're able to get into recovery mode (press Command + R) or while booting a working USB installer thumb drive (press Option). Then launch the Terminal from the Menu and change the date due to an issue with outdated certificates in some older installer.

    This must be a really bad first Mac experience for you. Sorry about that. I hope you'll get it up working again, preferably with the help of some experienced Mac user or staff from a shop around the corner. Good Luck!
  5. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009

    Before going further, I'm going to respectfully disagree with nearly everything organicCPU wrote above.

    Granted, you made a serious mistake by erasing the OS without a suitable backup that you could boot from. But we have to go on from here.

    Don't worry whether or not the copy of El Capitan you use comes directly from Apple or not. In a situation like the one you're in now, "a man has to do, what a man has to do".
    If Apple won't make it easy to get what you need, ignore them and do whatever you need to do.

    There is no "internet recovery" for a 2008 Macbook. That option won't work.

    Also, you cannot create a bootable USB flashdrive installer on a PC. It has to be done on another Mac. That's why the one you have won't work.

    The simplest, easiest, fastest way for you to get a bootable USB flash drive installer with El Capitan on it would be to go to ebay, and look for those sellers who will sell you a flashdrive with a copy of the El Capitan installer pre-installed and ready-to-go.

    It will cost $15-20, but IT'S WORTH IT, because with one of these in your hands, it's easy to get booted and do a fresh install.

    To boot from a flashdrive, do this:
    - Power off
    - Insert flashdrive into USB port
    - Power on
    - IMMEDIATELY hold down the option key and KEEP HOLDING IT DOWN
    - In a few seconds, the startup manager will appear
    - Use the pointer (trackpad) to select the flash drive, then hit return
    - The MacBook should boot from the flashdrive to the installer
    - Install from there.

    If you're not willing to do this, about the only option left are to:
    1. Buy an Apple install DVD IF you can find one that will work (might be difficult)
    2. Find someone with a working Mac, and use that Mac to create the USB flashdrive on your own.
    3. Go to an Apple Store (if they have them where you are), or an Apple authorized service provider, and see if they will help (might cost more money than you want).
  6. organicCPU macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2016
    @Fishrrman -> I can't find the point in your post where you disagree. Basically I tried to follow the Things Not to Do forum rule No 8 while still trying to help.
  7. txagemtp thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2017
    Well after multiple failed attempts I bit the bullet and dropped it off at a mac specialist store locally. They are able to run diagnostics and are swapping the old HDD for a new SSD and installing El Capitan on the system through a network loader. When I get it back I will make an installer drive and likely copy the hd in case of any issues. Thanks for all the help. Apple cant be easy like Windows and have discs circulating everywhere... hahaha

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6 November 1, 2017