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Booting Ubuntu when internal hard disk of MACBOOK PRO is corrupted

952 Views 18 Replies Latest reply: Mar 10, 2013 3:06 PM by ds store RSS
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venkateshfilm Calculating status...
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Mar 10, 2013 10:15 AM

Hi friends,

i messed up with my internal hard disk of 17 inch 2009 mid macbook pro. Its corrupted flashing the unknown folder symbol during start up. I booted in single user mode but as my installation dvd is pretty old it shows a read write error while installing. I have few queries regarding it. Though i installed the ubuntu only in external hard disk i dont know how did it corrupt my internal hrd disk.


MY queries are


1) if i want to boot from my external hrd disk where UBUNTU is stored and log in into ubuntu from my macbook pro temperorily is it possible even when my internal hard disk in corrupted. If so please guide me the way to use it.


2) i have formatted my internal hard disk, is it possible to recover the previous data even after i install a new OS now on it. Which i am going to do next week. I think some data is already stored on it by my old snow leopard installation dvd which stuck in the middle of installation due to an read write error.



Awaiting your valuable guidances.

MacBook Pro, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2)
  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 8 Level 8 (48,110 points)

    read write error while installing.

    That is often caused by serious Disk Errors such as Bad Blocks. To see whether the drive can be used again, you should Erase the drive with Security Erase, Zero all data (one click off the default) This will re-write all the blocks with Zeroes, and any found to be bad will have spare blocks used instead. This takes several hours. IF it completes without error, the drive has all good blocks again. Drives that develop Bad Blocks are more likely to fail in the next six months.


    1) if i want to boot from my external hrd disk

    Hold down the Option key as you start up. This uses an all-in-ROM program to slowly draw an Icon for each potentially-bootable Volume attached to your Mac. It does not load much of anything from your damaged drive.


    Do not be surprised if it tells you there is a Windows Volume available. Linux uses the Windows booter.



    2) i have formatted my internal hard disk,

    Then the names of the files are gone. You may be able to recover some files, but Mac OS X has over 250,000 files in it, and you will have NO filenames.

    Mac Pro (Early 2009), Mac OS X (10.6.8), & Server, PPC, & AppleTalk Printers
  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 8 Level 8 (48,110 points)

    You must press the Alt/Option key as the Startup Chime is sounding to get the All-in-ROM Startup Manager:


    Startup Manager: How to select a startup volume


    MacBook and MacBook Pro: Startup Manager doesn't appear

    Mac Pro (Early 2009), Mac OS X (10.6.8), & Server, PPC, & AppleTalk Printers
  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 8 Level 8 (48,110 points)

    It should be possible.


    Don't you have Ubuntu-on-a-CD available?

    Mac Pro (Early 2009), Mac OS X (10.6.8), & Server, PPC, & AppleTalk Printers
  • ds store Level 7 Level 7 (30,305 points)

    Though i installed the ubuntu only in external hard disk i dont know how did it corrupt my internal hard disk.


    Take your computer to a local PC/Mac repair shop.


    When you get a college level degree in computer science, then you can install Linux on a Mac.



    Mac's are NOT generic PC's and Linux installers are designed to work with those and not a Mac.


    It takes a bit more know-how to install Linux on a Mac. I've done so, so I know what happened to your machine and why we can't help you as your too early in the learning curve.


    You need professional level assistance.


    Good luck.

  • Shootist007 Level 6 Level 6 (16,640 points)

    It may not be your OS X DVD install disc that is bad but the actual Superdrive is failing and that is why you are getting Read/Write errors from it. The first thing I'd try is to connect an external DVD drive to the system, any will work that connect by USB port (it does not have to sold by or have the Apple name on it to work with your Mac) and try using your OS X install disc to boot up the system.


    You can get an external DVD drive at any local electronics store for around $30US+/-. So try that first.


    Good Luck & Best Wishes.

  • Shootist007 Level 6 Level 6 (16,640 points)

    So you wrote many discs last night and today it can't read from one disc. That to me sounds like the drive may of failed in some way.


    Have you tried to read any of the discs you wrote last night? Do they come up at all? If not then it is the drive.


    Any drive can fail at any time. Just because it worked yesterday or a few minutes ago does not mean it has not failed now.


    Well there may only be one reason your internal disk got corrupted. You did not install whatever unix to the external drive but to your internal and wiped out and or corrupted the internal drive and that is why OS X is not booting.

  • ds store Level 7 Level 7 (30,305 points)

    If you want to recover your data, I suggest you stop using the computer any further and let a professional take a look at your situation.


    When Linux formats a drive or partiton it will erase everyting so it can't be recovered as it does a deep format.


    If you say you tried installing on a extenral drive is true, then it might have only overwritten that drive and messed up the hidden EFI partition on your Mac.


    Your data might still be recoverable on the Macintosh HD partition if it was formatted with Disk Utility because it does a quick format and not a long format like Linux does.


    However to do data recovery requires another computer or a external OS X boot drive with $100 software installed to see if it will work.


    Then after that will require someone talented to fix your corrupted hidden EFI partiton (and anything else) to get your machine back in order once again.


    If you don't want to lose your data, I suggest you get a professional and explain what occured and you need data recovery efforts, they will know what to do.



    No regulars around here installs Linux on a Mac, so they don't know, nor can assist you.


    I'm not there and I can't teach you how to fix things as it's too involved and complicated over this forum method, may require special software I can't recommend or know will work with your version of OS X.


    So shutdown the machine and get local help.

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