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I bought a new hard drive for my MacBook Pro (2009)

I installed a new hard drive in my 2009 Macbook Pro 15. The previous one moved to an external enclosure. I do not own any installation discs for this laptop, yet I somehow need to get an operating system loaded. When I turn on the machine, it displays a white screen with a light-grey folder bearing a question mark, flashing. I have tried holding down keys to enter Disk Utility or Safe Mode, to no avail. Holding ‘option’ does remove the folder icon, and produce a cursor for the trackpad, yet no more than that. How do I get an OS on this hard drive?

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I have been having this issue as well, still working on figuring out a way to solve the white screen issue.

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Plug in the external enclosure with the old hard drive. Hold down the option key on boot and select it. Go to Disk Utilities and format the new drive GUID MacOSX extended. Now you can install a system from the old drive or download El Capitan and install it on the new drive. Boot from the new drive and use migration assistant to move your old data.

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mayer: I did as you said, yet all I get is a white screen after booting thusly. the cursor is there; the trackpad will not move it.

I must mention here the reason for replacing the hard drive. I encountered S.M.A.R.T. errors when trying to boot, meaning that there were snags in that original drive. Now that it’s externalized, I thought I could plug it in and retrieve select files while avoiding the problem areas.

So now that I’ve plugged it in as you directed, there seems to be a struggle internally. The green light flashed rapid red for a minute and back to green, while screen still white. As I type this, the cursor now moves via trackpad.

Do we now change strategy?

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Now, I have a 1 TB My Book external hard drive that works like a dream. I surmise that I should be using that instead.

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If the old drive was still bootable, switch them. Boot from the internal old drive, then do the set up on the new drive.

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I just booted with the My Book, into Disk Utility, no problem. I am following yr steps, but I do not see a GUID option, only different incarnations of Mac OS Extended. If you are still available, I’d love a bit more guidance on this. (It’s the closest I’ve been so far!)

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Open Disk Utilities > click on drive you are going to erase > a dialog box will appear > It will list Name Forms and Scheme. Name it whatever you want except the current name of you boot drive > select Mac OS Extended (Journaled) > select GUID Partition Map > now hit erase

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