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  1. #1


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    Bootable USB not recognised by MacBook
    I bought a MacBook Unibody 2009 Late (Core 2 Duo 2.26, 5GB RAM) with El Capitan but I want to downgrade to Yosemite. I have a bootable USB stick (Partition set up: OS X Extended Journaled, GUID Partition Map) to install Yosemite which is recognised as bootable by my Mac mini mid 2011 (Intel I5, 8GB RAM, OS X 11), but is not shown in the bootscreen of the MacBook. With the bootable USB stick plugged in only 2 options are shown in the MacBook's boot screen: the harddisk and the recovery disk. Beside this the bootscreen is frozen, I can't choose none.

    I already reset PRAM and SMC. I tried a bootable USB stick made with the Mac mini. I tried a bootable USB stick made with the MacBook. I restored the installESD.dmg file with disk uitilities. I replugged the USB stick during the boot screen. All in vain.

    Why can't my MacBook recognize the usb stick as bootable while the Mac mini can, and how can I fix this?

    Thank you in advance
    Last edited by PearlyPearl; 01-11-2017 at 12:08 PM.

  2. #2

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Just to be sure. Are you pressing the "option" key during the booting process?

    - 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

  3. #3


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    Quote Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
    Just to be sure. Are you pressing the "option" key during the booting process?

    - Nick
    Yes, of course.

  4. #4

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PearlyPearl View Post
    Of course.
    Not "of course" if you don't mention it. That's why I asked.

    - 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

  5. #5

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PearlyPearl View Post
    I bought a MacBook Unibody 2009 Late (Core 2 Duo 2.26, 5GB RAM)...
    Can you please clarify if this is a 2009 MacBook or a 2009 MacBook Pro? With the information given...could be 1 of 2 computers.

    Quote Originally Posted by PearlyPearl View Post
    Beside this the bootscreen is frozen, I can't choose none.
    Can you please explain this in more detail? A frozen bootscreen is not good (and shouldn't happen on a properly functioning computer). This could possibly be a bigger issue than the Yosemite install.

    - 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
    Can you please clarify if this is a 2009 MacBook or a 2009 MacBook Pro? With the information given...could be 1 of 2 computers.


    Can you please explain this in more detail? A frozen bootscreen is not good (and shouldn't happen on a properly functioning computer). This could possibly be a bigger issue than the Yosemite install.

    - Nick
    It's a white 2009 late MacBook.

    Sorry, it's not frozen . I can choose "Macintosch HD" or "Recovery-10.11.6". Bootable USB stick is plugged in, but not to be seen in screen

    20170111DSCF0991.jpg

  7. #7

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PearlyPearl View Post
    It's a white 2009 late MacBook.
    Thanks for clarifying.

    Quote Originally Posted by PearlyPearl View Post
    Sorry, it's not frozen . I can choose "Macintosch HD" or "Recovery-10.11.6". Bootable USB stick is plugged in, but not to be seen in screen
    Great to hear it's not frozen.

    I know that this might sound like a silly question. But since this 2009 white MacBook is new to you...are you sure the USB port/ports are functioning properly? Have you tried this bootable USB installer in all the USB ports of the MacBook? And if so...do you have any other USB device you could use to test the USB ports with (such as an external HD, external input device, etc.)?

    I'm thinking we need to confirm that the MacBook's USB ports are working.

    - Nickk
    - 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

  8. #8


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    Yes, I checked the USB ports. After all the Macbook is working with the El Capitan installation and I already plugged in an external hard disk in both the USB ports.

  9. #9

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PearlyPearl View Post
    After all the Macbook is working with the El Capitan installation...
    This by itself does not confirm that a computers USB ports are working.

    Quote Originally Posted by PearlyPearl View Post
    ...and I already plugged in an external hard disk in both the USB ports.
    Ok. If you tried an external HD with the USB ports...and the external HD is working. Then it sounds like the USB ports are fine.

    - 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

  10. #10


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    Off Topic: How can I determine if the power adapter is broken? When connected to the computer the light in the mag safe was burning (orange for charging and green when full) but suddenly it stopped working, no light at all. Something is malfunctioning but what: it can be the adapter itself or the computer socket, or even the battery itself? There are no physical damages to see on the outside of the power adapter, cables or plugs.

    The battery needs replacement for sure, almost 1000 cycles. But even if the battery wouldn't charge anymore, even so a power adapter should be providing power to the computer. So a broken battery will not cause a malfunctioning power adapter?
    Last edited by PearlyPearl; 01-11-2017 at 01:36 PM. Reason: additions, corrections

  11. #11


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    Quote Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
    This by itself does not confirm that a computers USB ports are working.


    - Nick
    I understand, I meant to say that I used the USB ports while working with the MacBook.
    Last edited by PearlyPearl; 01-11-2017 at 01:35 PM. Reason: correction

  12. #12

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PearlyPearl View Post
    Off Topic: How can I determine if the power adapter is broken?
    One very quick way is try using it on a 2nd computer that can use the same power adapter.

    Quote Originally Posted by PearlyPearl View Post
    When connected to the computer the light in the mag safe was burning (orange for charging and green when full) but suddenly it stopped working, no light at all. Something is malfunctioning but what: it can be the adapter itself or the computer socket, or even the battery itself? There are no physical damages to see on the outside of the power adapter, cables or plugs.
    Make sure the poower port & the power cable connector are clean & free of debris.

    Quote Originally Posted by PearlyPearl View Post
    The battery needs replacement for sure, almost 1000 cycles. But even if the battery wouldn't charge anymore, even so a power adapter should be providing power to the computer. So a broken battery will not cause a malfunctioning power adapter?
    I have heard of folks having problems when the internal battery is not in such great shape. There are so many Apple portable computer models (and this computer is from 2009...many models ago)...that it's dificult to remember which models have issues & which do not.

    But if this MacBook's battery is the totally internal type (not the kind that can be removed easily externally)...then it is supposed to be good for 1000 cycles. And even with 1000 cycles...it's still supposed to have 80% capacity left. Of course this battery could be as much as 7 years old (approx)...thus because of age...this battery may not have that much capacity left...but still may be good for at least a couple hours of runtime.

    - 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

  13. #13


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    The bootable USB problem is solved. I tried again replugging the USB stick (which didn't work before) while still in boot screen and the stick appeared in the boot menu. Now Yosemite is installed. Thanks anyway for your time and effort!
    Last edited by PearlyPearl; 01-11-2017 at 06:07 PM. Reason: correction

  14. #14

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Sounds like the USB ports were "confused" in some way (it happens occasionally).

    Like you...I was scratching my head why this bootable USB installer worked with your Mac-Mini...but not the 2009 MacBook.

    Glad you got it figured out.

    - 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

  15. #15


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    Glad you got it figured out.

    Ditto. It sure wasn't making much sense.






    - Patrick
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