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  1. #1


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    Help! Cannot install Snow Leopard on refurbed MacBook Pro
    Hi there, I was hoping someone out there can help me with this. I recently purchased a MacBook Pro from an auction site. The best way to describe the condition is refurbished. They wipe the hard drives before shipping them out. I can't figure out how to install Snow Leopard, which I ordered from the Apple Store, so the problem really shouldn't be the disk. When I turn on the machine, I insert the disk and power down. I turn the power back on while holding the "C" button and that doesn't do anything. If I hold down the "Option" key, I get the option to install from the disk, but it doesn't actually do anything. I hear the disk spin around for about 5 to 10 seconds, then it stops. Is there a different way to install the OS on a hard drive that was wiped?

  2. #2

    RavingMac's Avatar
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    Sounds like a bad or dirty Optical Drive. Try cleaning the OS disk and give the Optical Drive a shot of canned air.
    If that doesn't work you need to see about returning your MBP or using an external optical drive.
    I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .

  3. #3

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thedollarstore View Post
    Hi there, I was hoping someone out there can help me with this. I recently purchased a MacBook Pro from an auction site. The best way to describe the condition is refurbished. They wipe the hard drives before shipping them out. I can't figure out how to install Snow Leopard, which I ordered from the Apple Store, so the problem really shouldn't be the disk. When I turn on the machine, I insert the disk and power down. I turn the power back on while holding the "C" button and that doesn't do anything. If I hold down the "Option" key, I get the option to install from the disk, but it doesn't actually do anything. I hear the disk spin around for about 5 to 10 seconds, then it stops. Is there a different way to install the OS on a hard drive that was wiped?
    You didn't tell us what model MBP you have. If it's a newer model...it may not be capable of running Snow Leopard. If it's an older model...we need to know which model it is...to verify it can run SL.

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
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  4. #4

    RavingMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
    You didn't tell us what model MBP you have. If it's a newer model...it may not be capable of running Snow Leopard. If it's an older model...we need to know which model it is...to verify it can run SL.

    - Nick
    Good point on Lion . . . I was assuming an older MBP which may not be the case.
    I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .

  5. #5

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Razormac View Post
    Good point on Lion . . . I was assuming an older MBP which may not be the case.
    I'm thinking that it's probably an older MBP as well...so you're assumption is probably right.

    As recent as the "Early 2011" MBP models can run SL. I just wanted to be 100% sure we weren't dealing with a really recent MBP.

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

  6. #6


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    Quote Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
    I'm thinking that it's probably an older MBP as well...so you're assumption is probably right.

    As recent as the "Early 2011" MBP models can run SL. I just wanted to be 100% sure we weren't dealing with a really recent MBP.

    - Nick
    Hi everyone. I really appreciate the quick responses!

    Here was the description of it when I purchased it:

    Apple MacBook Pro 15.4" Laptop i7 2.66GHz 4GB 320GB DVDRW WiFi

    When I spoke to an Apple support rep (1-800-MY-APPLE), I believe he said it was around 2010. On two different occasions, I was told that I could install Snow Leopard and then upgrade to Lion if I wanted to.

    I understand that I can also order the Lion thumb drive; would this be more likely to work? Also, if this MBP cannot install Snow Leopard due to system requirements, what do you think is the likelihood of being able to return SL since I was told that I could use it? I realize this would be between Apple and myself, but just wanted to see if you guys had gone through or heard of experiences like this.

  7. #7

    RavingMac's Avatar
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    That should be a 2010 dual core i7, so Snow Leopard will install with no problem.

    I'm still thinking your Optical Drive is gummed up. Definitely you could go straight to Lion via USB if you wished.
    I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .

  8. #8


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    Hello everyone. I think I have the problem solved, and wanted to give you guys the information too, in case you come across this again. I used canned air on the optical drive and still no results. Then I looked through Apple's support site and learned about retail versions of SL versus a restore disk, and I found out about build numbers. Since the retail version of Snow Leopard is a different build than the build that was pre-installed when this MBP was new, this could explain the reason as to why I have not been successful so far. From what I saw, the mid-2010 models seem to have this issue come up more frequently than other models. I just ordered the original install disk with the correct build number and will attempt when it comes in. I will let you guys know what I find. I would welcome any feedback on this. Here the site was looking at; the first shows builds for the hardware, the second shows the builds for the different types of software

    Mac OS X versions (builds) for computers
    (My MBP is the 11th entry listed under MacBook Pro, about halfway down the page.)

    Finding your Mac OS X version and build information

  9. #9


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    Quote Originally Posted by Razormac View Post
    That should be a 2010 dual core i7, so Snow Leopard will install with no problem.

    I'm still thinking your Optical Drive is gummed up. Definitely you could go straight to Lion via USB if you wished.
    Hello,

    I replied to this last night, and it said it needed to be approved by a moderator; I do not see it so I am posting again.

    What I have found out yesterday is that the build number of the retail version of SL is a different build than the original install that came with the MBP. Hence, the SL that I bought would not work. I ordered a replacement install disk last night and am waiting for it to come in. I'll post the results on here. Do you guys think this is worth a shot?

  10. #10

    RavingMac's Avatar
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    Still think you may have hardware problems (most likely Optical Drive). But, as you suggest, worth a shot to try a different OS Disk. Keep us posted.
    I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .

  11. #11

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    That might indeed be the problem. I was wondering though if perhaps when they wiped the drive they never formatted it properly. In other words for all practical purposes the installer does not know a drive is there. If that's the case you may be able to run Disk Utility anne format the drive properly.
    "Got Time to breathe. You got time for music." Denver Pyle as Briscoe Darling

  12. #12

    RavingMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slydude View Post
    That might indeed be the problem. I was wondering though if perhaps when they wiped the drive they never formatted it properly. In other words for all practical purposes the installer does not know a drive is there. If that's the case you may be able to run Disk Utility anne format the drive properly.
    That could well be the case; the wording in the first post lead me to believe the Optical drive was not reading the OS disk correctly. But, still could be not properly formatted HD and even if the Optical drive started working wouldnt be able to install.

    So, good suggestion to check
    I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Razormac View Post
    That could well be the case; the wording in the first post lead me to believe the Optical drive was not reading the OS disk correctly. But, still could be not properly formatted HD and even if the Optical drive started working wouldnt be able to install.

    So, good suggestion to check
    It's possible that the OP is patient and does not mind waiting to get that machine up and running. I'm usually not that patient so this occurred to me as possible. Besides it kills a little time while waiting. lol
    "Got Time to breathe. You got time for music." Denver Pyle as Briscoe Darling

  14. #14

    Lifeisabeach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thedollarstore View Post
    Then I looked through Apple's support site and learned about retail versions of SL versus a restore disk, and I found out about build numbers. Since the retail version of Snow Leopard is a different build than the build that was pre-installed when this MBP was new, this could explain the reason as to why I have not been successful so far.
    According to Everymac.com, that model MBP came with 10.6.3 pre-installed. If the retail copy of Snow Leopard that you have is older, then it definitely won't install because it would be lacking the hardware drivers. A retail copy that has 10.6.3 or later (I think Apple updates the retail copies over time… not 100% sure though) should install.

    Please verify and include the exact model/year of your Mac and OS X version number (available from "About This Mac", then "More Info" on the Apple menu).
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  15. #15

    RavingMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lifeisabeach View Post
    According to Everymac.com, that model MBP came with 10.6.3 pre-installed. If the retail copy of Snow Leopard that you have is older, then it definitely won't install because it would be lacking the hardware drivers. A retail copy that has 10.6.3 or later (I think Apple updates the retail copies over time… not 100% sure though) should install.
    I hear what you are saying, but unless there was an actual hardware change in between the older OS version should still install . . . Or am I missing something.

    What about Mac Pros before the latest mini-refresh? They were shipping with Lion since that was the latest OS, but I had assumed (perhaps incorrectly) that Snow Leopard would install and run on them just fine.
    I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .

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