Mid 2006 / model number A1181 / black or white case / 1.83 or 2.0 GHz Intel Core Duo processor.

516 Questions View all

Booting to external display, broken LCD & blank hard drive

So I'm trying to repair this little MacBook I got super cheap. I have three problems:

A: the LCD is broken

B: it wont boot to OSX. as far as I can tell, the hard drive has been erased

C: the battery is dead

Now the easy solution would be to drop $300 and just replace everything at once. I'm willing to do so, I just want to make sure this thing works properly first. So my question is, how can I get this thing started up on an external display, so I can install OSX?

Answered! View the answer I have this problem too

Is this a good question?

Score 0
Add a comment
Spread Fixmas Cheer
Get $12 off your purchase of $50 or more with code FIXMAS12
Spread Fixmas Cheer
Get $12 off your purchase of $50 or more with code FIXMAS12

1 Answer

Chosen Solution

As the battery is dead do you have access to a charger to at least power the system.

You'll need an adapter to convert the DVI connection to VGA (or other) for your external display (aprox. $35).

Do you have access to the OS-X Leopard or Snow Leopard install software. If you do you could try booting it up with the CD or DVD. If you can you can try to prep the HD and install it.

If you can't get the system to come up at all it's possible someone pulled the HD and the memory, in which case this may not be worth repairing.

Was this answer helpful?

Score 2


+ I got my adapter to convert the mini DVI connection to VGA off eBay for under $10USD including shipping. Use your OSX install disk to determin if there is a system on it. It may just need the permissions repaired. Disk Utillities on the OSX install disk can do that.


i have the power adapter, and the mini dvi-vga adapter(eBay, $3 lol) and yes the system will turn on. i get the blinky folder with a question mark in it.

what i didn't understand was that i needed to connect an external monitor to the MacBook, and quickly power on the laptop and close the lid(clamshell). i don't remember if i needed to have an external keyboard plugged in to, but i have one plugged in right now

i have an image of leopard which i'm currently trying to write to a flash drive via TransMac right now, crossing my fingers i can get the computer to boot from USB.

if i can get to actually boot into OSX, i will replace the LCD and battery, upgrade to 2GB RAM and 120GB SSD, and purchase a retail copy of Snow Leopard ;)


You get the blinking ? on the LCD or the external display? If you have the internal working then maybe just the cover glass is broken not the whole LCD its self. Sorry to say most of the MacBooks don't boot under USB (only FW). Try imaging it to a CD instead. You will need some RAM for it to boot as well.


I've had no luck with using TransMac for bootable disks/drives. Your best bet from a PC is to use a virtual machine with the OSX operating system to format and clone your image to the flash drive. Every A1181 I've owned or worked on would boot from a flash drive from the "Options" menu. You may need to disable the reed switch to prevent it from going to sleep, when you close the lid, untill you get the op sys loaded and can turn sleep off. The reed switch is a part of the battery connector. Either remove the battery connector from the MB or remove the magnet from the upper clam shell to prevent the MB from going to sleep when you close the lid or leave the lid open untill you get an op sys loaded and turn that feature off.


Dan: the laptop screen turns on and i can see part of it, but there are large blacked out areas.

Dan & ABCellars: i didn't have any Dual Layer DVDs to burn the OS to, so i tried TransMac and a 16GB Lexar i had sitting around. in TransMac i selected "restore with disc image" or something along those lines, and it took about an hour to make the flash drive. i plugged in an external display, USB keyboard, and the flash drive, held down the "C" button on the keyboard, pushed the power button on the laptop, and immediately closed the lid. on my first attempt i got the apple logo, formatted the hard drive, and the install went 100% without a hiccup. the only issue i had was switching back/forth between USB keyboard and USB mouse during the install, as i only had one available USB port lol

thanks for the help ;)


Show 2 more comments

Add a comment

Add your answer

Ross will be eternally grateful.
View Statistics:

Past 24 Hours: 0

Past 7 Days: 2

Past 30 Days: 8

All Time: 1,572