Optical drive doesn't boot off of a OS install disk

I just installed a new hard drive on a different computer and installed the new OS from CD...worked great...a bit cavalier without a external bootable disk, I guess I was pushing my luck.

This time, different computer same operation, I have a new unformatted HD (seems to work fine) but with no OS on it because the optical drive is spitting out the disk after a few moments with a blinking question mark on the screen.

Any ideas how I can install a OS bypassing the optical drive or how I can test the optical drive to make sure it is the problem.

Thanks for your help

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Hi! If you don't have an external firewire optical drive to connect and try to boot from, you can always connect your machine to another Mac via firewire, put the OS media in that machine, and boot that machine in target mode. Then boot your machine holding down the option key, and select the OS media from the option menu. If this works, you then know your optical drive is bad (or at least sensitive, or that it doesn't like your OS media for some reason), and if it doesn't work, then the OS media may have a problem.

If you do a lot of OS installs, you may want to get a cheap old laptop hard drive and put it in a firewire enclosure, and use Disk Utility to publish the OS media to the hard drive. That way you can connect the external hard drive to any computer you want to install to, and you won't be dependent on optical media, plus the OS install runs a lot faster from a hard drive.

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You need to be a bit careful when doing this as the operating system it installs will be for the processor of the installing computer and not that of the receiving computer. ie don't do it when you have a intel machine and a older motorola processor.


I'm not referring to cloning...I'm referring to publishing, or putting the whole OS installer DVD on the hard drive so that the hard drive literally thinks it's an installer DVD and acts like one. I use the generic universal 10.4, 10.5, and 10.6 media, and avoid system-specific (i.e. iBook G4 1.2GHZ) media in order to make things easier. I partition my external installer drives into 4 partitions, one for each OS installer DVD, and then on the 4th partition I put iLife installers, Coconut battery, and various other utilities and apps. It works out well -- plug in the hard drive, and it's a one stop shop for the whole OS/app install process. You just boot in option mode and choose the flavor you want for that machine.


Thank you it seems to be the optical drive


These are two identical computers with intel processors. I was pressing "c" for initial tries with a disk but then was able to outsource the optical drive in "T" or firewire mode. It is installing now but seems to be taking longer than the direct install, I'm hoping it's just that the data has to travel through firewire 400 cable.

Thanks for all the help.


That's really good thinking rd. + I made my comment because I've made that error.


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Are you holding down either the C or option key at startup? This is what you need to do to select the optical drive to boot from.

An alternative could be just cloning.

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