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I'm in kind of a mess. I have a 2008 MacBook (White) and I tried to re-install the OS. I wiped the HDD as part of the re-install process but the install failed and said the disc is scratched.

  • I have a copy of Leopard that came with the MacBook. However it fails checksums.
  • I have an upgrade copy of Snow Leopard on DVD. (Unsurprisingly?) the MacBook won't install from it.
  • I have a full copy of Snow Leopard for Mac Mini - I tried to install and it says it doesn't work on MacBooks.
  • I have a new MacBook Air with Lion preinstalled.

Is there something I can do to reinstall Something on my MacBook? I know the last resort is to suck it up and buy Lion on USB, but I was wondering if there are some alternatives that avoid that.

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2 Answers 2

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  • I have a copy of Leopard that came with the MacBook. However it fails checksums.

You can try to repair the disc using this method. Never done it but the author claims he has, and it worked for him. Your mileage may vary.

  • I have an upgrade copy of Snow Leopard on DVD. (Unsurprisingly?) the MacBook won't install from it.

You seem to have bad luck with physical media. From this source (and Diago below), the Snow Leopard upgrade disc contains a full installer, allowing the installation even over a system without any OS whatsoever. If it fails to boot, it could likely be damaged.

  • I have a full copy of Snow Leopard for Mac Mini - I tried to install and it says it doesn't work on MacBooks.

That is also correct. Minis (like many of the machines Apple manufacturers) come with their own specific versions of OS X. The Mac minis, like the MacBook Airs ship with special versions that differ from the ones you purchase through other channels. Therefore, you cannot use an installation disc from a MacBook Pro on a MacBook or iMac.

  • I have a new MacBook Air with Lion preinstalled.

Apple machines that ship with Lion cannot be transferred to other devices. If you purchases Lion through the Mac App Store, you could install it on any Mac (except those that ship with them of course).

In all honesty, the best advice I could give you is to book an appointment at one of your local Apple Stores and speak to a Genius. Tell them your situation (bring in the machine and the Tiger installation disc). They'll either give you a Snow Leopard installation for free or boost you up to Lion. I'm not sure if they will give you a free USB Stick, but they'll do something for you. I guarantee that.

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@chksum ACtually the Snow Leopard Upgrade is a full installation. I have used it multiple times on my 2008 MacBook without any issues. –  Diago Oct 23 '11 at 6:08
    
@Diago Thanks. I've edited my answer to remove the error. –  cksum Oct 23 '11 at 8:00

Do you still have the Mac mini? If so, boot it from its install disk and connect the MacBook to it in Target Firewire mode. (Hold the T key at the chime and then connect a firewire cable between the two devices.) Select the MacBook's hard drive as the destination for the install.

Depending on the version of 10.6 it installs, you may have to then boot the mini from the MacBook's hard drive (still in Target Firewire mode) and run software updates for the MacBook to run properly.

Even if the above fails, you could probably then use the 10.6 update DVD you have to reinstall 10.6 properly on the MacBook itself.

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