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Model A1181: 1.83, 2, 2.1, 2.13, 2.16, 2.2, or 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo processor

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Can I boot without internal hard drive from external USB hard drive?

I bought a macbook core 2 duo off eBay needing a new hard drive and battery and right now I'm trying to test it with no battery or internal hard drive - just plugged in with the mag charger and with an external usb hard drive.

I'm having a few issues installing OSX on the hard drive for now but that should be sorted soon however at the moment, when I plug in the hard drive and mag charger and press the power button nothing happens at all. The green light on the charger is on but that's it.

Is this because the external hard drive doesn't have OSX installed on it yet, so the macbook doesn't recognise it as a drive it can boot from? Or can this macbook not boot from a USB external hard drive? I'm really not sure.

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Can you provide the model? Most models can boot from USB.


Yes a model number would be a good idea and to see if the bios will let you boot from usb, you should be able to get that from your startup screen. In the windows world, you can do this, this allows the pc to run from the usb without any moving parts. If you can boot from usb, you will need to have the image file or your OS on a usb stick. Now with that stated, I cannot help you on that one, but I am sure someone on here will be able to find steps to do this. Good Luck!


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Here are the different MacBook systems: EveryMac - MacBook

Sadly your Mac can't support the newer OS's it can't support 64bit services only 32bit (Maximum OS-X - 10.7.5 Lion)

You'll need to locate a copy of this older OS so you can prep either the external or internal drive.

You are limited on what apps can run on this system and because the OS is old Apple no longer supports it so it can be risky on the internet and some HTML services won't run on copy of Safari you have (look into getting Chrome).

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Thanks for the reply.

I'm currently cloning the hard drive on my old imac 5,1 (running 10.6.8) to the external hard drive using super duper so I'm hoping I should be able to boot from that.


It's a macbook a1181.

It won't boot up at all, not even to the bios. I'm powering it straight off the mains with no battery or hard drive installed.


Not good ;-{

This system needs more than a battery & drive. Maybe its best to return it and get your money back.


I've contacted the seller so I'll see what they say. They told me it only needed a new HD and battery before I bought it.

This might be the problem: It only has 1 GB RAM module in 1 slot - The other is empty.


I've got the ram through the post now but unfortunately it still won't power up. I got a 2gb stick so I have 1gb in one slot and 2gb in the other, is this OK or do they both have to be the same size?

I'll try with ram from the imac tomorrow (it uses identical ram) to see if maybe the old 1gb stick isnt working but in the meantime does anyone have anything else I can try?


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