I'm trying to restore my Macbook Pro (17") to factory settings, and here were the steps that I took:

  • I inserted the Snow Leopard DVD.
  • I turned off my Mac.
  • I turned it back on while pressing the "option" key.
  • It prompted me to choose either my hard drive or the DVD; I choose DVD.
  • I saw a gray Apple logo in the middle of the screen, but it just freezes there.
  • By freeze, I mean pressing the keys doesn't do anything.

Other points:

  1. My Mac works perfectly. I just want to reformat it.
  2. 2 Hardware changes: I upgraded the memory to 8GB, and I changed my hard drive to Momentus XT SSD hybrid

Update: I blogged about the solution in details here. In a nutshell, the DVD I was using to reinstall OS X was too old for my system. So here’s the takeaway from this post which I had to spend many hours figuring out: when you want to reinstall your Mac, please make sure you use the disc that came with your system!

  • I'm planning to take my Mac to the store. If they end up resolving the problem, I definitely will post it here.
    – sivabudh
    Mar 28, 2011 at 19:12
  • Solution: when reformatting your Mac, use the original disk that came with your Mac or a newer version. Otherwise, it (the disc) wouldn't know how to boot up the Mac! Thanks mspasov for this.
    – sivabudh
    Mar 29, 2011 at 12:44

1 Answer 1


I think that the problem is your new ram. You have upgraded with 1333MHz DDR3, and you should use 1066MHz DDR3 RAM. The problem is that the chipset does not downclock your ram to 1066MHz and when MacOS enters graphic mode, the machine freezes.

The problem lies somewhere within the low performance (shared memory) graphic chip MacOS drivers. Under text mode, MacOS works perfectly. Running Apple Hardware Test and testing ram (1333MHz) also works. I have been told that Windows runs also.

If you cannot replace your new ram (it's was hard for me to find 1066MHz 4GB SO-DIMMs), you can temporary fix this problem by inserting one slow (1066MHz) DIMM (if you still have it) and one of the new 1333MHz. This will make chipset run your MBP with the least common speed, and your notebook will boot.

I have found and published a way to downclock your ram and fix this issue in this Apple Support Discusions thread. I'm quoting myself:

It's possible with a software Thaiphoon Burner (http://www.softnology.biz/) to modify the SPD EPROM (a small non volatile flash, located on the memory, containing information about it) IF the EPROM is not protected (http://www.softnology.biz/tips_pswprotection.html).

If you decide to take this path of flashing the SPD EPROM of your RAM, I could expand this or make a new one question, to cover in details the flash process.

  • Wow, I'm going to try it out right now. I will update the result real soon!
    – sivabudh
    Mar 28, 2011 at 20:43
  • Hmm, I just popped in 2x 2GB RAMs and it didn't work. I wonder if it's also because of the new hard drive?
    – sivabudh
    Mar 28, 2011 at 21:13
  • should I use the install disc that originally came with my MBP? I'm currently using a generic Mac OS X Snow Leopard DVD.
    – sivabudh
    Mar 28, 2011 at 21:16
  • @user4734 you should use the original or newer installation disk. Try running diagnostics from the second DVD and see what happens.
    – mspasov
    Mar 28, 2011 at 21:31
  • yup, using the newer installation disk did the trick. Thanks so much for all your help!!
    – sivabudh
    Mar 29, 2011 at 12:42

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .