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OS X - Operating System General OS operation information and support

MacBook White Unibody won't boot from SL disc??


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.Bennett

 
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Grabbed a nice MacBook White Unibody yesterday from someone on Craigslist. It had box and everything but got home and it didn't have the OSX restore disc, only the applications install disc. Wasn't worried about it because I have a retail Snow Leopard disc I figured I could boot from after I upgraded the hard drive.

I install the new HD and try to boot from the SL disc and I get a message that says the computer needs to restart (says it in 4 languages). Restarting produces the same result. So I hold option to try to boot that way and I just get the question mark folder flashing icon.

Any ideas on why this is? I've booted from that SL CD to 13" white (non unibody), 13" MBP, 15" MBP and 13" MBA without issue.

And any ideas on how I can get this new HD up and running short of calling Apple and buying replacement discs? Person I got the computer from lives 90 mins away so it'd likely be cheaper to order the discs than drive up there again in my SUB
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Quote:
Originally Posted by .Bennett View Post
Grabbed a nice MacBook White Unibody yesterday from someone on Craigslist. It had box and everything but got home and it didn't have the OSX restore disc, only the applications install disc. Wasn't worried about it because I have a retail Snow Leopard disc I figured I could boot from after I upgraded the hard drive.

I install the new HD and try to boot from the SL disc and I get a message that says the computer needs to restart (says it in 4 languages). Restarting produces the same result. So I hold option to try to boot that way and I just get the question mark folder flashing icon.
The BIG question is...did you test this MacBook (to make sure it operated properly) BEFORE paying for it & taking it home?

The "4 language" thing is a kernel panic...which could be something as simple as bad ram...to bad video hardware or a bad logic board.

Need more info,

- Nick

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Jaygray

 
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As simple as the MB HD is to swap out, I'd reinstall the HD that originally came with it. Just to make sure it boots. If it boots, that should eliminate a hardware problem (except for a bad optical drive).

Do you have another Mac you can attempt to boot from the SL disc? That would test the disc itself?

Did it have Applecare on it? The white MB unibody was released less than two years ago. Might still be under warranty...
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.Bennett

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaygray View Post
As simple as the MB HD is to swap out, I'd reinstall the HD that originally came with it. Just to make sure it boots. If it boots, that should eliminate a hardware problem (except for a bad optical drive).

Do you have another Mac you can attempt to boot from the SL disc? That would test the disc itself?

Did it have Applecare on it? The white MB unibody was released less than two years ago. Might still be under warranty...
Boots fine to the OEM hard drive. As I mentioned, the disc is good and was used just last week. No scratches or anything. I put a CD in to test the optical drive before posting and the drive works normally. AppleCare expired 10 days ago

And Pigoo, I flip computers regularly and only paid $250 for this one. Its worth more in parts than I paid. But yes, I tested it and as I mentioned above, it works perfectly with the OEM hard drive.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by .Bennett View Post
Boots fine to the OEM hard drive. As I mentioned, the disc is good and was used just last week. No scratches or anything. I put a CD in to test the optical drive before posting and the drive works normally. AppleCare expired 10 days ago

And Pigoo, I flip computers regularly and only paid $250 for this one. Its worth more in parts than I paid. But yes, I tested it and as I mentioned above, it works perfectly with the OEM hard drive.
So to simplify things (if I understand correctly)...this MacBook works fine with the OEM drive...but doesn't work "fine" with the upgraded HD (you get the "4 language" kernel panic)?

If this is the case...seems a bit strange...assuming that both HD's are good. The thing with kernel panics is...sometimes kernel panics can occur as the computer boots (just seconds into the process of starting up)...or they can occur 15, 30, or an hour later (basically they occur randomly).

What I'm saying is...if both hard drives are good...are you sure the MacBook was "tested" long enough with the OEM drive to rule out any possibility of getting a kernel panic with the OEM drive?

If you're 100% sure that the MacBook experiences no kernel panics with the OEM drive...and it does experience a kernel panic with the 2nd "upgraded" drive...then the logical conclusion is the "upgraded" drive is bad. Thus stick with the OEM drive...or get a 3rd (good) drive to upgrade the MacBook with.

HTH,

- Nick

- Computer slow, too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
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.Bennett

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
So to simplify things (if I understand correctly)...this MacBook works fine with the OEM drive...but doesn't work "fine" with the upgraded HD (you get the "4 language" kernel panic)?

If this is the case...seems a bit strange...assuming that both HD's are good. The thing with kernel panics is...sometimes kernel panics can occur as the computer boots (just seconds into the process of starting up)...or they can occur 15, 30, or an hour later (basically they occur randomly).

What I'm saying is...if both hard drives are good...are you sure the MacBook was "tested" long enough with the OEM drive to rule out any possibility of getting a kernel panic with the OEM drive?

If you're 100% sure that the MacBook experiences no kernel panics with the OEM drive...and it does experience a kernel panic with the 2nd "upgraded" drive...then the logical conclusion is the "upgraded" drive is bad. Thus stick with the OEM drive...or get a 3rd (good) drive to upgrade the MacBook with.

HTH,

- Nick
Yes, OEM drive works fine and boots/functions correctly. I didn't test it very thoroughly before buying other than basic functionality. I wasn't too concerned because at that price, it was worth more in parts than I paid. However, I since have been using it (probably 3 hours total, 90 mins in one sitting) since I purchased it and it seems to be great. Nothing out of the ordinary at all. I only get the 4 language issue when I try to boot to the SL retail disk. Holding option during startup will show the SL disk as a boot option but once clicking it, it gives the restart error (after 60-90 seconds). It goes to the error when holding C as well.

The new HD is a brand new seagate free agent go flex portable I opened and installed. Doesn't seem like it would be bad out of the box and if so, seems like that error would come later, after I tried actually installing the OS.

I called Apple just now and ordered the original OSX install disc so hopefully that solves my issue. I have been reading on the forums how some MacBooks/MBPs just refuse to boot off the SL retail disk so maybe I was unlucky enough to snag one of those :p

I also can't get it to wipe the OEM drive with the SL disk because inserting the disk and entering in the password etc and trying to install that way gets me the same error with languages. Seems like its gotta be SL disk related

I'll update when I get the OSX disk.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by .Bennett View Post
Yes, OEM drive works fine and boots/functions correctly.

I only get the 4 language issue when I try to boot to the SL retail disk.

I called Apple just now and ordered the original OSX install disc so hopefully that solves my issue. I have been reading on the forums how some MacBooks/MBPs just refuse to boot off the SL retail disk so maybe I was unlucky enough to snag one of those :p
To be honest...I really don't think that it's the retail SL disk. Kernel panics are almost always caused by a hardware problem. If the MacBook "kernel panics" when you try to boot from the retail SL disk...I'm thinking there's something wrong with the disk drive...or something wrong on the logic board that interfaces with the disk drive.

Do you happen to have an OS 10.5 retail install disk?...you could try booting from it & see if you get a kernel panic (the Unibody MacBooks originally shipped with OS 10.5.5). Hey...hopefully I'm wrong...and the disk you ordered will work. But really...kernel panics are almost always a hardware issue.

Why do you think that you got a Unibody MacBook that's probably worth $500-$600 for $250???. The seller knew that there were problems with the optical drive (not anything to do with OS install disks).

- Nick

p.s. Hey...here's another idea. Try playing a music CD or movie DVD in the optical drive. This may also help determine/narrow down if the optical drive is bad.

- Computer slow, too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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.Bennett

 
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I don't have a 10.5 install disk unfortunately. And I buy computers routinely for very cheap because people get desperate for cash and I give more than the pawn shops will. I bought a MBP 15" for $400 last week and it worked perfectly. Still had AppleCare on it and all. This person with the white needed to pay rent by the end of the day and I had cash. Really not uncommon at all for this town. Military people are notoriously bad with their money.

And I just got done watching "300" on DVD on it. Also played an entire CD in it and the optical drive seems sound. No glitches whatsoever. I believe you about it being a hardware issue but I really can't see what it would be. I'm up to over 5 hours of use on it and have yet to notice anything abnormal other than the SL boot issue.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by .Bennett View Post

And I just got done watching "300" on DVD on it. Also played an entire CD in it and the optical drive seems sound. No glitches whatsoever. I believe you about it being a hardware issue but I really can't see what it would be. I'm up to over 5 hours of use on it and have yet to notice anything abnormal other than the SL boot issue.
Yes it does sound unusual that this CD/DVD drive works fine watching a movie...but won't boot from the retail SL disk you have. Are you doubly sure this SL disk isn't damaged or scratched in some way?

Hey...who the heck knows...maybe the SL disk you're getting will resolve things. It will be interesting to hear what happens (please post back when you find out).

- Nick

- Computer slow, too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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Well the disk being bad has been officially ruled out. I put SL on a jump drive and tried installing it that way. Same error.

The disc I'm getting from Apple I think is going to be Leopard (not Snow Leopard) so maybe the issue is with SL. But I'm not sure how I can ever upgrade to Lion if I can never get SL on it (SL is required for Lion). Guess we'll see when the disk comes from Apple if that works. I have a feeling it won't :/

I'm guessing this won't work, but is it possible to put the new HD I want in the white in my 13" MBP and load SL on it using my MBP and then just swapping the HD back into the white? Seems like drivers etc. wouldn't be correct but I figured I'd throw it out there
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Quote:
Originally Posted by .Bennett View Post
The disc I'm getting from Apple I think is going to be Leopard (not Snow Leopard) so maybe the issue is with SL.
Well we'll have to see if the Leopard disk helps. It seems very strange that the computer runs fine using the optical drive to watch a movie (like you mentioned earlier)...but give a kernel panic when trying to install an OS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by .Bennett View Post
But I'm not sure how I can ever upgrade to Lion if I can never get SL on it (SL is required for Lion). Guess we'll see when the disk comes from Apple if that works. I have a feeling it won't :/
I haven't been convinced 100% that you need SL to upgrade to Lion. Currently we're told you need SL to upgrade to Lion because you need the "Mac App Store" to download Lion (which is only found in SL). But...if someone was to purchase the "Lion on a USB stick" from Apple for $69.99 (later this month when it's available)...maybe you can upgrade from Leopard.

Like I said...total speculation on my part...I'm waiting to see (one way or the other with the availability of "Lion on USB stick") if SL is truly needed for a Lion upgrade.

But this is all beside the point...most kernel panics are hardware related...so it could be that your optical drive is "bad" in some way. On the positive side...if when Lion is available on a USB stick...upgrading your computer via the USB port (Lion on USB stick)...may be the solution to upgrading to Lion, and getting around the potentially bad optical drive.

- Nick

- Computer slow, too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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My guess would be that the RAM is flaky. Snow Leopard has higher RAM requirements than Leopard does, and the SL install might be hitting RAM registers that Leopard didn't. Since it has two chips, remove one, and see if the install is successful. If not, swap chips and try again. Worst case, you rule out the RAM as a culprit.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvenStranger View Post
My guess would be that the RAM is flaky. Snow Leopard has higher RAM requirements than Leopard does, and the SL install might be hitting RAM registers that Leopard didn't. Since it has two chips, remove one, and see if the install is successful. If not, swap chips and try again. Worst case, you rule out the RAM as a culprit.
Yes great idea...I mentioned bad ram in post #2. You did add a lot of detail that may further explain the "bad ram" possibility.

- Nick

- Computer slow, too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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.Bennett

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post

I haven't been convinced 100% that you need SL to upgrade to Lion. Currently we're told you need SL to upgrade to Lion because you need the "Mac App Store" to download Lion (which is only found in SL). But...if someone was to purchase the "Lion on a USB stick" from Apple for $69.99 (later this month when it's available)...maybe you can upgrade from Leopard.

Like I said...total speculation on my part...I'm waiting to see (one way or the other with the availability of "Lion on USB stick") if SL is truly needed for a Lion upgrade.

But this is all beside the point...most kernel panics are hardware related...so it could be that your optical drive is "bad" in some way. On the positive side...if when Lion is available on a USB stick...upgrading your computer via the USB port (Lion on USB stick)...may be the solution to upgrading to Lion, and getting around the potentially bad optical drive.


- Nick
Like I mentioned, the optical drive isn't the issue. I loaded SL on a USB stick and tried to boot that way and still same error. So its definitely not the drive.

And as far as the RAM goes, I loaded Lion on the OEM hard drive no problems. Installed smooth and is running Lion currently. However, I want to swap hard drives (as mentioned in my OP) or at the very least wipe the previous owners stuff off the current one and since I can't boot from CD (USB stick either apparently), I can't do either. Anyway, would loading Lion rule out the RAM issue?

I really appreciate all the help


Edit: Not the RAM. Swapped it out with the RAM in my MBP and same story. Whisky Tango Foxtrot
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Well, as far as wiping the previous owner's stuff off the drive, here's what I would do.

1. Boot to the old user account (if the password is known).
2. Open System Preference->Accounts
3. Create a new Admin account for yourself.
4. Log out of the old account.
5. Log into the new account.
6. Open System Preferences->Accounts
7. Delete the old account. When prompted, remove user data and click OK.

At this point, you're in a new, pristine account, with none of the old garbage at the user level the old account had. The applications are still intact.
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