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iMac Intel 27" EMC 2309 (Late 2009, Core 2 Duo 3.06 or 3.33 GHz) ID iMac10,1, EMC 2374 (Late 2009, Core i5 2.66 GHz or Core i7 2.8 GHz) ID iMac11,1

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Where do I get the OS to install on new hard drive

This is my first time changing a Mac Hard drive for a client.

Their hard drive isn't working (getting the folder icon on boot up). If I replace it, how do I get their OS on it. Do I have to buy a new one or can I use their serial number to download it?

Also is any hard drive OK to replace it (no special mac hard drives?)

Update (04/12/2016)

If anyone is interested, I am going to try to use the guide I found here:

Looks like you can install it on a fresh drive by holding Command + R on boot up. Hope it works!

Answered! View the answer I have this problem too

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Sadly, your system may not have the needed firmware to do internet recovery. Review this Apple T/N: OS X: About OS X Recovery.

Follow this IFIXIT guide to replace the drive: iMac Intel 27" EMC 2309 and 2374 Hard Drive Replacement. You can use a standard 3.5" SATA II (3.0 Gb/s) drive but you'll need this adapter: OWC Complete Hard Drive Upgrade Kit including tools for all iMac 2009-2010 Models. As you'll need to replace the needed thermal sensor the custom HD's Apple used.

The next issue is creating a bootable drive. Here you'll need to find a friend with a Mac to download from the App Store the OS installer. Then prep up a USB thumb drive (16 GB or larger) running Disk Utility to format the drive with a GUID partition map and create a journaled file system partition. Then run the installer program you downloaded to install the OS on to the drive. Once done copy over to the thumb drive the OS installer so you can repeat the process on the new drive once you boot up using this USB thumb drive.

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That is a brilliant and thorough answer thank you. Since it seems such a convoluted process (especially having to buy extra gear) so I have found a cheat way. You can buy hard drives with pre-installed OSX versions on ebay so it will save me a lot of time!


I do recommend you create the bootable USB drive as a emergency/disk repair drive for the next time.

As to getting a drive with Mac OS-X on it. I would be careful here as you maybe handing your client an infected drive which could have a virus, malware or even RAT'ed.

I would recommend you create the bootable USB drive as I outlined and relaunch the system under it and wipe the drive down then install a fresh copy of the OS to be doubly sure the drive is clean.


Great idea. Thanks ^_^


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MrMartits will be eternally grateful.
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