Blinking question mark folder on boot up, new HDD installed without OS

Macbook Pro 15" 2007

Hey guys.

Ive recently repaired my Macbook Pro 2007 and installed a new 250GB HDD because I bought it without a hard drive, therefore I've never had or seen an operating system on the machine. As this hard drive is brand new (and compatible) I now have no operating system. I have a bootable USB with Snow Leopard, made properly with TransMac, all ready to go! Problem is - I'm not getting anywhere when booting while holding the "C" key (supposedly to USB boot). Another problem is booting while holding the "option" key, that leads me to a grey (or) white (hard to tell) screen with just the cursor - no options at all!

In fact, all of the Apple commands on startup are doing nothing, at all! Except the option key which as I said just leaves me at a screen with the cursor. Any ideas on what my next step should be? I'm a Windows kind of guy!

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Can you give us the last three digits of your serial number so we can correctly identify your system.


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1 Answer

Chosen Solution

Buy a Lion installation disk from Apple for $19.99.

Or get Mountain Lion if your machine will take it:

Use the Disk utilities of the disk to format the drive, then install a system, then go to the App store and upgrade.

This is the first time I have seen these retail Disks available from Apple.


I was incorrect! These are downloads from Apple not disks. The only disk they have is for 10.6.x

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Thanks for the reply!

I've now managed to get the macbook to recognise the bootable USB, however.. I have a kernel panic problem now, it's down to not having an operating system I'm pretty sure of that. I was able to boot up holding the options key this time, too. The screen loaded up and I clicked an arrow beneath "EFI Boot" and it just takes me back to the kernel panic screen. Very frustrating!


David, without a known valid bootable system source, you're stuck.


Do you have a friend that has a Mac? If you do, see if he will help you prep up the USB Thumb drive so its bootable. You'll need to download the OS installer from the Apple Apps store onto the USB Thumb drive to then install onto your system.


Again, thank you guys!

I have a working bootable usb now, I'm sure? At least I get to the screen, click Snow Leopard, Apple logo with spinning cog, BUT, after the Apple logo.. I'm now getting a prohibited sign. Holding cmd&s on boot up now brings me to a screen, all checks are passed until it keeps repeating "still waiting for root device" - I'm guessing my hard drive needs preparing for Mac?. Is the file system on the hdd supposed to be different than usual (by usual I mean Windows, I'm really new to Mac).

I literally just unwrapped the new HDD and installed it straight into the macbook..


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David Leese will be eternally grateful.
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