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You are here: MacNN Forums > Software - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac OS X > Installing OS X on a OS-less MBP w/ a dead optical drive

Installing OS X on a OS-less MBP w/ a dead optical drive
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Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Jun 2011
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Jun 17, 2011, 01:24 AM
 
I have a seemingly complicated (to me) problem to solve. Can anyone help?

I was recently given a first-gen 15" intel Mac Book Pro. The catch was that it doesn't have an operating system installed, and it doesn't have a functioning optical drive. I would like to get it up and running without buying anything I don't already have. What I have at my disposal are the following: A install disk of Leopard, a G5 iMac, an 8GB flash drive, and a Windows/Ubuntu Dell laptop. My plan is to try and install OS X with a flash drive.

What I understand is that a GUID partiioned flash drive containing an image of the boot disk can be used to install OS X if you hold down the Option key while booting. Where I'm having trouble is partitioning the flash drive. I have tried over and over using Disk Utility on my iMac, but every time I try it hangs up and the status bar remains just a tiny bit blue. I've left it for two hours and it makes no progress. It just says "creating partition map" but doesn't actually do anything. It WILL partition properly in about 10 seconds if I select 'Apple Partition Map' or 'Master Boot Record,' but I am told that those partition schemes will not be usable for my purposes.

So here are my questions?
1. is there an obvious flaw in my plan to try to install OS X via flash drive?
2. Is there a reason you know of that I can't create a GUID partition on a flash drive with my iMac?
3. Does the disk image I create have to be *.iso? Or can it be a *.dmg?
4. Is it possible/easy to create a GUID partitioned flash drive using Linux (or Windows)? If so, how?
5. Is there some other better, faster, easier way to install Leopard on this machine?

I know that this would be a lot easier with a USB DVD drive, but I'd like to exhaust my other options before I take that step.
Apologies if I am overlooking anything obvious!
Thanks,
JJ
     
Clinically Insane
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Jun 17, 2011, 01:33 AM
 
It's possible to do. The particular flash drive you're using may be the problem. Here's a guide that may be helpful.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
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Jun 17, 2011, 01:35 AM
 
Do you have a Firewire cable? The simplest way would be to insert the Leopard disc into your iMac. Reboot your iMac into Target Disk Mode. Connect your iMac to your MacBook with the Firewire cable and reboot your MacBook with the Option key held. You'll then be able to select the install disc in the iMac as a boot device for the MacBook and install OS X.
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Mac Elite
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Jun 17, 2011, 03:55 AM
 
Buy the firewire cable. It's only a few $ and will make the whole process painless.
     
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Jun 17, 2011, 04:02 AM
 
It's a MacBook Pro not an iMac, but otherwise the Firewire solution works. Or you could also potentially install from a USB optical drive. Or you could take the drive out and install it in a working one.

You also don't necessarily need a flash drive. It can be anything that connects via usb and can have a disk image on it.
     
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Jun 17, 2011, 04:23 AM
 
Originally Posted by Salty View Post
It's a MacBook Pro not an iMac, but otherwise the Firewire solution works. Or you could also potentially install from a USB optical drive. Or you could take the drive out and install it in a working one.

You also don't necessarily need a flash drive. It can be anything that connects via usb and can have a disk image on it.
Really?
Originally Posted by jjolsen View Post
What I have at my disposal are the following: A install disk of Leopard, a G5 iMac, an 8GB flash drive, and a Windows/Ubuntu Dell laptop.
( Last edited by Andy8; Jun 17, 2011 at 08:07 AM. )
     
Mac Elite
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Jun 17, 2011, 07:38 AM
 
Not all USB optical drives are bootable on a Mac. You may have to check which one to buy.

However, whichever one you go for the FW cable will be cheaper and much faster.
     
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Jun 21, 2011, 04:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by Doc HM View Post
Not all USB optical drives are bootable on a Mac. You may have to check which one to buy.
I have yet to find one that did not work as a boot volume for an Intel Mac. Provided it has enough space for a bootable system, and has been reformatted with the correct partition map & filesystem (Mac OS X boot requires GUID map & HFS+ filesystem).
I'm cookoo for Cocoa Apps!
     
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Jun 21, 2011, 09:09 PM
 
If $$ issue, buy use return
     
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Jun 23, 2011, 06:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by jmiddel View Post
If $$ issue, buy use return
Yes that sounds moral.
     
   
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