Released October 2008 / 2.4, 2.53, 2.66, 2.8 or 2.93 GHz Core 2 Duo Processor

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Can't boot after changing ssd and wanting to do clean install

i recently bought a secondhand macbook late 2008 unibody and there was a problem with the old hard drive. so i went to buy myself a samsung 850 evo ssd to replace the hard drive. i was planning to do a clean install of the os x on the new ssd but after removing the old hard drive in putting in the new ssd, after the chime, i have tried holding down the option key, but only an arrow mouse showed up, with no disc utility options etc. i also tried to hold down command + R but after a while, a folder with question mark appears. i would like to know what do i need to do to be able to do a clean install on the new ssd. thx in advance

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Well, your up a tree aren't you ;-}

Without your HD connected to your system you can't leverage the hidden repair partition if its accessible.

You'll need to see if you can get the old HD to boot up your system using a device like this: Startech 2.5" SATA to USB adapter, then you should be able to download and install the OS onto your system. Here's a useful reference: Startup key combinations for Mac. Your other option is to connect your system to a second Mac and then use Target Mode to prep your SSD. Or, lastly create a bootable OS installer from a friends Mac following this: How to make a bootable OS X 10.11 El Capitan installer drive. This is a useful tool for later! I have a 16 GB USB thumb drive setup for each OS I support.

Sadly, your system does not support internet recovery Apple updated the systems firmware awhile ago but as far as I know only 2010 (MacBookPro5,1) or newer systems have the ability once MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 2.6 was installed. Here is the full firmware listing: About EFI and SMC firmware updates for Intel-based Mac computers but even this list is not the last word here as Apple also did some follow up updates within Mavericks, El Capitan & Sierra. As I don't have an older 2009 system any more I can't tell you if Apple added it or not.

But thats all a moot point right now as you'll need first get the SSD prepped up. During the OS install process it will create a hidden recovery partition so you'll have that to fall back on even if you can't get internet recovery working.

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may i know how do i go about doing the second mac target mode? and which OS do u recommend? btw thanks alot for your help


Here's the info for Target Mode: Share files between two computers with target disk mode. Basically, your system with the new SSD in it is seen as if it was an external drive to the other Mac. So you'll need to run the OS installer from that persons system to install onto your system.

As for which OS: This gets a bit tricky as Apple tends to make the older versions less accessible. El Capitan (OS-X 10.11.x) is as high as you can go here. You can't install macOS Sierra. Frankly, I would recommend you stick with the Mavericks as its footprint is a bit smaller than the newer versions as your systems RAM limit it 6 GB.


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