I have a macbook 13" Aluminum (late 2008). It originally came with OS 10.5.5 and a 250 GB hard drive. I have upgraded over the years to the current version of mountain lion OS 10.8.5. I decided it was time for a bigger HD and bought a 750 GB Travelstar HD (7200 RPM 16 MB cache). I had the Genius Bar folks assist me with backing up my original HD to a 1 TB external HD. I tested the external drive after backup and it booted perfectly on its own.
I self installed the new internal HD. I booted up the computer using my original OS 10.5 installer disks as that is all I had. It took me to disk utility where I was successfully able to format the new HD. I followed all the online instructions of partitioning, picking 1 partition, picking the OS X Extended (journaled) and making sure the GUID is chosen under options. I then plugged in the back up drive. I used Restore choosing the external drive as the source and the formatted new HD drive as the destination. After 3 hours, the transfer of data appeared to be successful. I verified the new HD and there were no problems.
I then rebooted the computer thinking the hard drive was now up to date and would start normally. Instead the Mountain Lion OS X Installer screens came up. I wasn't sure why I needed to go through this again but thought that since at least it was now mountain lion and not leopard that something had gone right. I proceeded through the steps of restoring from a time machine backup. My external drive was picked up as was the backup versions to select . That brought me to the Select a Destination screen. It says "searching for disks". It is stuck here. It's been searching for 2 hours with no signs of progress.
I should note that I've tried every other option from the Mountain Lion Utilities menu. I tried to reinstall mountain lion. It stops at the select where you want to install OS X screen. When I try to choose the new HD it says "this disk is locked" and won't let me go further.
I tried going back to disk utility to erase the drive and start from scratch. It won't let me erase or re-partition the HD stating that it cannot be done because "couldn't unmount disk".
I tried rebooting the computer holding down command R to start the recovery Mode. Still wouldn't let me erase the HD or repartition.
I've rebooted at least 10 times with the external drive plugged in, not plugged , holding down the alt key, etc
I have read all forums and feel like I've tried everything. The disk utility clearly recognizes the internal HD and I can see that files were copied as the available space has gone down by the amount of data I have. The fact that the mtn lion installer came up when I don't even have any mtn lion installer DVD means something must have copied over correctly.
Thanks for any other ideas...I just want my computer to start.