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  1. #1


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    Oct 12, 2011
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    Install lion to blank hard disc?
    Hi all, OS X newb here, perhaps someone smart can advise.

    My sister just bought a refurbished MacBook pro (Feb 2011 version) and is kindly giving me her old early 2009 13" MacBook currently running OS X leopard.

    I have bought a 750GB harddrive I wish to use to replace the existing one in my inherited MacBook. I also wish to be running a clean install of the new lion operating system.

    Now I read you must have snow leopard to get lion and as the MacBook is running leopard that means forking out $29 for snow leopard then $29 for lion. But... as I want a clean install on my new harddrive, is there a way I can download lion with my sister's new MacBook pro and install it straight to new new harddisc, install it to the MacBook and save $29 and bypass snow leopard?

    If possible, a detailed explanation would be most welcome for this Mac noob.

  2. #2

    mrplow's Avatar
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    27" iMac i7 (2011) 10.11, Mac Mini i5 (2014), iPhone6s, Apple Watch, iPad Air 2, New AppleTV (4?)
    You can buy and download Lion on your Sisters Mac using your Apple ID. Create a DVD or USB drive for the Lion installer (instructions below) and then boot your MacBook from the disc or USB, format as Mac OS X Extended (Journaled) format GUID partition map from Disk Utility in the installer, job done!

    Installing OSX Lion from a DVD or USB stick | EssentialMac.co.uk
    Not been around these parts for a while. Trying to change that . .

    Please use the reputation system if you think you've been helped - bottom left of this post

  3. #3


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    Just to clarify; I install my blank hard disc into the MacBook first, then just insert the boot DVD, power on and follow the instructions?

    *edit* I ordered a USB hard drive enclosure with the hard drive but if I don't need one, I'll save the money on that too!?

  4. #4

    mrplow's Avatar
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    27" iMac i7 (2011) 10.11, Mac Mini i5 (2014), iPhone6s, Apple Watch, iPad Air 2, New AppleTV (4?)
    Yes, install your new disk first. But keep the enclosure. You can put the old disk in that and use it as adhoc strage/backup etc.
    Not been around these parts for a while. Trying to change that . .

    Please use the reputation system if you think you've been helped - bottom left of this post

  5. #5


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    Thanks for your help, saved me some hassle and $!

  6. #6


    Member Since
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    Okay, I've hit a problem with getting the download if lion from the app store of my sister's MacBook pro as it just says "installed" instead of purchase. Holding the option key doesn't change this as I'd read elsewhere. Her Mbp came with lion preinstalled.

    From what I've read, if I make a bootable recovery disc from the downloaded lion installer file (if I can manage to get that!) - it apparently only contains the files from the recovery partition that tells the Mac to redownload the rest of OS X Lion.

    If I used this in my MacBook with a blank hard drive, how will it know how to connect to the internet?

    Ive read there is a way of creating a bootable DVD that also contains the ~ 4GB of data that gets downloaded to install os x lion - what I'd call a complete os disc.

    Does anyone know how to create this from a preinstalled version of lion?

    I find it a bit rediculous you need an internet connection to restore the os. My sister and I are documentary film makers working in the field often and in developing countries such as Myanmar. What happens if we desperately need to restore the os in one of these countries! It would take a week to download over dialup *if we're lucky enough to find a usable connection.

  7. #7

    mrplow's Avatar
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    A recovery disc and a full install disc are notably different as you point out.

    The recovery disc requires a net connection.

    With the remote scenario you've described I'd suggest the best solution for you is to buy the USB Lion installer

    OS X Lion USB Thumb Drive - Apple Store (U.S.)
    Not been around these parts for a while. Trying to change that . .

    Please use the reputation system if you think you've been helped - bottom left of this post

  8. #8


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    Looks like the flash drive is the way to go. Thanks.

    No way to create one or a DVD using the pre-installed copy of lion?

  9. #9

    harryb2448's Avatar
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    27" 5K iMac, 3.3GHz, 256GB Flash Storge, 16GB memory and OS X.11.3.
    Not unless your sister actually purchased Lion from the App Store. If it came pre-installed, your option is to purchase the thumb drive, or connect the machines by Firewire, go into Disk Utility on the Lion machine and see if Disk Restore will copy Lion to the older machine.
    Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!

  10. #10


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    I was told the FireWire option by a Mac rep on the tech support line but didn't want to find it associated with my sister's apple I.D. so I bit the bullet and ordered the flash drive of lion. Bit miffed that a disc of snow leopard costs half as much and has free delivery yet the flash drive which probably weighs the same but costs double has a delivery charge.

    Many thanks to those who replied for their assistance & suggestions.

  11. #11

    harryb2448's Avatar
    Member Since
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    Specs:
    27" 5K iMac, 3.3GHz, 256GB Flash Storge, 16GB memory and OS X.11.3.
    Do not be miffed about things. It is still cheap. For instance, Leopard OS X.5 on release was US $129.00 and not near as fast as Lion.
    Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!

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