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chscag

 
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Member Since: Jan 23, 2008
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
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Mac Specs: 27" iMac i5, 3.2 GHz, iPad 3, iPhone 5c, 3 iPods, Yosemite

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Welcome to the Mac Forums!

You were told correct information about having to wipe the drive clean but in order to do that you will need a disk. Since someone gave you the MacBook Pro, I'm assuming that they didn't give you the original disk set that came with it. It's best to order a Snow Leopard DVD disk direct from Apple and boot the machine with it.

Snow Leopard = $19.99

The disk above will allow you to erase the hard drive, install Snow Leopard, update to 10.6.8 and then update to Lion (10.7.X). Once you have Lion installed on the MacBook Pro, you can use the Time Machine backup to recover your data.

Don't worry about safe mode and recovery mode. For now, neither one is going to work for you.
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