Installing OS X on an erased hard drive

June 28, 2013 at 21:54:23
Specs: Macintosh
Recently bought a used MacPro 1.1 (MA356LL/A) Model A1186 off ebay. The hard drive has been completely wiped. Original boot disc was NOT included with the machine. I've tried booting from a Snow Leopard 10.6.3 disc and all I get is a grey screen with a flashing file folder graphic with a question mark.

Does anyone have any ideas on how I can get this puppy working? Do I need to get the original OS that this model shipped (10.4.7) with in order to boot it?


See More: Installing OS X on an erased hard drive

June 29, 2013 at 00:45:56
That machine should run 10.6.3. The first thing to try is holding down the option key whilst booting; you should see the CD drive. Try selecting this and booting from it and see how things go.

A fuller discussion here:

Report •

June 29, 2013 at 13:27:28
Thanks for your response. I tried booting from a brand new OS X 10.6.3 retail install disc while holding the option key. (In fact I tried it with two other OS X 10.6.3 discs, just to be sure that the problem wasn't the install disc.)

In all cases, I wound up with a grey screen, that displayed a lock logo, a text box (which I could not type into) and a button with an arrow. I clicked on the arrow button several times, but nothing happened.

I have a couple of new hard drives available. Will it make any difference if I replace the hard drive?

I may be able to track down an original MacPro 10.4.7 install disc on ebay and try that.

What would you suggest?

Report •

June 29, 2013 at 23:30:25
Three possibilities I can think of, but first try resetting the PRAM -

I doubt that is the problem so it could be:

1. A faulty hard disk. I don't think this should stop it booting from a DVD but as you have spare hard disks there's no harm in trying a different one.

2. A faulty optical drive. Do you have access to another one you could try?

3. You are using a model-specific DVD instead of a retail one. Coupled with your mention of getting a 10.4 CD from eBay, this may be the most likely cause. Disks supplied with Macs are model-specific and almost always won't work in another Mac. You need either a retail copy, which will work with any Mac that the version of OS X supports, or the disk that was supplied with that specific model.

If it's not any of the above then you have a more serious problem, but my money is on 3.

Report •

Related Solutions

June 30, 2013 at 15:31:19
Thanks again for your suggestions. I will try swapping out the hard drive. The optical drive is making strange noises, so a defective HD is a real possibility. I'll order and install a new one. I'll also try the PRAM reset. Although the link you provided refers only to Mountain Lion, it will probably be the same procedure with Snow Leopard. It's worth a try in any case.
As for the OS disc, as I stated above, I've been trying to boot with a retail 10.6.3 disc, not an OS disc from another model computer. I'll keep looking for a model specific OS disc in the meantime.
I'll keep you posted as I try your solutions.

Report •

August 14, 2013 at 13:22:21
hold the alt key when you boot up the mac

message edited by Macintosh4579

Report •

October 19, 2013 at 04:24:01
if you have a 10.6.3 disc and another computer, mac or pc, have you tried remote installing? Pop the disc in. if its a pc just install the remote install OS X from the popup. If its a mac go to, search for the remote installer, download, install, and then open. once their open, make sure that both computers are either connected to the same network via wifi or Ethernet, preferably Ethernet for speed, or for the fastest way simply use a crossover Ethernet cable and directly connect the two computers together. Start your mac needing the install while holding cmd. DON"T SELECT ANYTHING YET. go to the computer your using to remote install, and follow the steps in the program. once it says wait and select network install then go back to the mac and select as soon as you see it. go back to the other computer and click next. it will load, over the network, the base system image to install OS X and bring up recovery mode. A lot of people think they have a bad hard drive when they just have a major issue with os x. This is considered the ultimate last resort(you do this if target media mode booting doesn't work), as it will save absolutely nothing from the mac. Even the SMC and EFI is reset and returned to factory coding. If this doesn't work, then yes you have a bad hard drive.

Report •

Ask Question