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How do I install a new copy of Mountain Lion or Lion?

416 Views 11 Replies Latest reply: Jun 13, 2013 4:22 AM by Ralph Landry1 RSS
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A few years ago, I bought a used Mac Pro and tied it to my Apple account that I had for my iPad. Great. It's got Lion on it.  I cannot upgrade to Mountain Lion so the Apple Store won't let me buy Mountain Lion.


I just bought a used Macbook.  I want to reinstall the OS onto a brand new SSD.  When I boot from a Lion install disk, it gets to the point where it's about to install, then says that I have to use an account that has purchased Lion.  I cannot purchase Lion since it's not available and I cannot purchase Mountain Lion since my Mac Pro cannot upgrade.  I also cannot create a brand new Apple account since the new account has also not purchased yet.


How do I go about installing?  Turning off Wi-Fi makes it complain that it needs to communicate to the Apple Store so that's a no-go as well.

  • Ralph Landry1 Level 7 Level 7 (28,815 points)

    You have to have an internet access point to download the installer.  So don't turn WiFi off.


    What MacBook did you buy?  What Mac OS X does it have?  If you are using a MacBook that came with Lion, but the Lion was added by the previous user, you cannot use it as it is tied to the previous user's Apple ID.  It sounds like you are trying to reinstall Lion that was purchased under a different Apple ID.


    What Lion install disk are you booting from since Lion never came on an install disk, only by download or a Flash Drive sold directly by Apple.  Is this an install disk you created or bought from someone else?

  • Ralph Landry1 Level 7 Level 7 (28,815 points)

    First, if you purchased Lion once you do not need to purchase it again...the license agreement permits you to install on all computers under your control/


    Second, you can find out exactly what MacBook you have by clicking the apple in the left corner of the menu bar (I always say that even with experienced users) About This Mac, More Info, System Report, Hardware will then show info on the machine, the second line will read something like MacBookx,y...that line tells just what machine you have.


    To the topic of installing: if the MacBook came with Lion, it is probably a MacBook Pro then, there are a couple ways to install.  If the SSD is outside the MacBook, and Lion is installed on the internal hard drive, you can put the SSD in an enclosure, connect to the MacBook USB port, and use something like Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper to make a bootable clone of the hard drive on the SSD.  Then just swap the two and you can boot up from the SSD.  And if you get a suitable enclosure you can use the former internal hard drive as an external drive and backup the internal to it.


    OWC, has inexpensive drive enclosures for $20-30 US.


    Now, if that isn't where you want to go, ask away.

  • Ralph Landry1 Level 7 Level 7 (28,815 points)

    Cloning the Mac Pro will not work with the MacBook since the OS on the hard drive contains machine-specific files


    If you go to the app store on the Mac Pro, are you able to get the Purchases to Unhide?  That should then show you the Lion file for installation.  If that does, download the installer, but do not let it run. You can make a Lion install flash drive as follows


    You should have formatted a flash drive (8 GB if that is what you are using) Mac HFS Extended (Journaled) using Disk Utility.


    1. In Disk Utility click the Restore tab near the top right.

    2. Drag the volume for your flash drive from the sidebar into the Destination field.

    3. Switch to the Finder and find the installer app in the Applications folder

    4. Control-click or right-click the installer app and choose Show Package Contents

    5. Inside the package choose Contents/Shared Support

    6 Select the file InstallESD.dmg and drag it into the Source field in the Disk Utility window.

    7. Click Restore button near the bottom right of the window

    8. In the confirmation dialog, click Erase

    9. Authenticate as admin user - give password

    10. Could take half an hour for this part

    11. When complete, quit Disk Utility

    12 Change the new disk or flash drive name with Finder to something descriptive like Mac Os X Install ESD


    After that has been done you can build the Lion Mac OS X on the MacBook SSD.

    iMac, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.4), 2.8 GHz i7
  • Ramón G Castañeda Level 4 Level 4 (1,445 points)

    I'm in a similar bind, except complicated by the fact that I don't understand nor can I find the mysterious "Recovery HD" or "Boot Partition". 


    Sorry, my bad.  I'm brand new to Lion and Intel Macs, but not to Macs.  I've been using Macs since 1986, and my most advanced Mac until recently was a PPC G5 Quad


    The similarities with the OP are that I have just bought a Mac Pro 1,1 (original 2006 model, actually built in September of 2007).  It came with Lion pre-installed but no install media (flash drive), and I know that it couldn't have possibly shipped with Lion in 2007.


    I have not been able to find a way to buy Lion either, and the machine cannot run Mountain Lion.


    Where I am at a worst disadvantage, is that I haven't been able to wrap my mind around this mysterious "Boot Partition" and Recovery HD concepts.


    I see nothing in the Finder or Disk Utility that remote resembles another volume or partition other than the boot drive.  Yet System Profiler shows me this under Serial–ATA:


    Intel ESB2 AHCI:


      Vendor:    Intel

      Product:    ESB2 AHCI

      Link Speed:    3 Gigabit

      Negotiated Link Speed:    3 Gigabit

      Description:    AHCI Version 1.10 Supported


    WDC WD3200AAJS-41VWA1:


      Capacity:    320.07 GB (320,072,933,376 bytes)

      Model:    WDC WD3200AAJS-41VWA1                  

      Revision:    58.01D05

      Serial Number:         WD-WCARW6359270

      Native Command Queuing:    Yes

      Queue Depth:    32

      Removable Media:    No

      Detachable Drive:    No

      BSD Name:    disk0

      Medium Type:    Rotational

      Bay Name:    Bay 1

      Partition Map Type:    GPT (GUID Partition Table)

      S.M.A.R.T. status:    Verified



      Capacity:    209.7 MB (209,715,200 bytes)

      BSD Name:    disk0s1

      Content:    EFI

    Mac Pro HD:

      Capacity:    319.21 GB (319,213,174,784 bytes)

      Available:    293.58 GB (293,584,060,416 bytes)

      Writable:    Yes

      File System:    Journaled HFS+

      BSD Name:    disk0s2

      Mount Point:    /

      Content:    Apple_HFS

    Recovery HD:

      Capacity:    650 MB (650,002,432 bytes)

      BSD Name:    disk0s3

      Content:    Apple_Boot



    The text in bold maroon letters is what has me baffled.


    I've Googled and conducted Forum searches for 48 hours and can't get my head around this.   


    1. Do I have such a boot partition or Recovery Disk or not? 
    2. If I do, how and where do I find it and access it?
    3. If I dont, what is the System Profiler telling me under Serial-SATA?
    4. How and where can I buy a legitimate copy of OS X Lion that I can legally install on my otherwise admirable performing G5 Quad 2.66 GHz with 13 GB of RAM?


    I would be most grateful if anyone can point me in the right direction,


    Thanks in advance.

    PowerMac, Mac OS X (10.4.11), 2.5G5Quad,16GB,7800GTX 512MB, Tiger
  • Ralph Landry1 Level 7 Level 7 (28,815 points)

    Lion and Mountain Lion are distributed in download form, not on a physical disk as in the past...except that for a period of time after Lion was released you could by an official staller on a flash drive from Apple.  That is no longer an option and has never been an option for Mountain Lion.


    When Lion and Mountain Lion install, a Recovery Hard Drive is created, actually a partition on the hard drive where the operating system is installed.  The Recovery Hard Drive is normally hidden and does not show up in Finder or Disk Utility.  The partition contains the bare bones software needed to boot the system and perform a few tasks, such as run its own copy of Disk Utility to do startup disk repairs, run Terminal, run the utility that goes to the Apple servers and downloads the Mac OS X installer.  You can see Recovery Hard Drive if you restart your computer and hold down the Option key...that will produce a grey screen with the Macintosh HD and Recovery HD.  You can boot the Recovery HD by clicking on the image on the grey screen, or the usual way of doing a restart holdinf both the Command and R keys.


    There is another Recovery startup procedure, and that is to hold the Command + Option + R keys which boots in the recovery mode but instead of booting from the Recovery HD on your machine, boots from the Recovery HD on Apple's servers.  That is how you get around the issue of purchasing a new machine with Lion or ML factory installed, but you cannot see the installer in the Mac App Store to download...technically you did not buy the Mac OS X from the Mac App Store so you do not have Purchases history of it.  When you boot from Apple's servers your machine serial number is looked up and it says, yes this machine is authorized to have the operating system, so here is the installer.


    Your situation is different.  The Mac Pro1,1 did not come from the factory with Lion.  Someone had to install it on that machine, and doing so should have created a Recovery Hard Drive...should have, as in if they did the installation corrrectly it is there.  So, look to see if it is present by doing a restart holding the Option key and see what is shown on the grey screen of boot options.


    By the way, to boot/reinstall from the Recovery HD you MUST have an internet connection...the installer is not resident and must be downloaded from Apple's servers.

  • Ramón G Castañeda Level 4 Level 4 (1,445 points)

    Wow!  I don't even know how how to begin to thank you, Ralph.  There's no way for me to award you points, buy you deserved a hundred of them. 


    That is about the most thorough, pertinent, direct and helpful reply I've ever gotten here in all these years.


    Not only did you solve my problem, but you totally educated me in a point about which I was completely ignorant, and you did it in a lucid and perfectly understandable way,


    You have great didactic abilities.  If you're not in education, you should be.


    BTW, I restarted as you suggested and, by golly, the recovery disk is there! 


    Vey clever scheme of Apple!


    Thank you much!

  • Ralph Landry1 Level 7 Level 7 (28,815 points)

    You are very welcome, people have to deal with my ego the rest of the day after your comments


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