I had to replace the hard drive in my 2010 21.5" iMac. When I went to install the OS, I rebooted into the OS selection screen (using option). The Mac OS X install disc was there (but my external HD, where I back up wasn't), so I selected it.

It starts by showing the Apple logo, as expected, but after a while, the logo changed to a "cannot proceed" icon (circle with a slash). Thinking I installed the drive incorrectly, I tried my old WinXP CD.

Long story short, XP is installing right now. I used my Mac CD trying to repair the install just before the HD failed, so I know it's readable.

Edit 1: I would like to re-iterate that the Time Machine volume doesn't show up in the boot menu either. Shouldn't it be?

Edit 2: When I boot in verbose mode (from the CD) it works fine up until it attempts to find the "root device." Then it just keeps repeating that it can't find it.

Edit 3: Windows successfully installed, and the BootCamp drivers installed fine, so the CD isn't the issue either. I'm going to try Rilakkuma's suggestion and contact Apple to get an image of the last OS version I downloaded to put on a USB.

Final Edit: Never could get a USB image of the latest operating system that I purchased. Disappointed with Apple support. I'm just keeping Windows on here (with Bootcamp drivers).

  • That's the illegal instruction icon. Did you try re installing again? – Spotlight Dec 12 '14 at 2:21
  • @awesomebing1, I can't install. I get the icon when I try to install from CD. I don't have a USB install source. – gregsdennis Dec 12 '14 at 2:22
  • What version of OS X? – Spotlight Dec 12 '14 at 2:24
  • @awesomebing1, I don't think the version should matter, but it's the disc that came with the computer: 10.6.2. – gregsdennis Dec 12 '14 at 2:47
  • Did you ever apply the firmware update to allow that machine to use Internet Recovery? [It may have just been an auto update] If so, try Cmd/R at the chimes & see support.apple.com/en-gb/HT4718 – Tetsujin Dec 12 '14 at 8:30

The best way to install Mac OS X on a new drive is to clone the old drive. If I remember correctly the disk coming with Mac will not allow you to make full installation. Installing WinXP onto the drive without BootCamp will turn it into MBR and therefore unusable for Mac OS X, so you will need to reformat it.

  • The hard drive failed. I can't clone it. – gregsdennis Dec 12 '14 at 2:44
  • I understand that I have to reformat. I just wanted to verify the disk was installed properly. – gregsdennis Dec 12 '14 at 2:44
  • Had the same problem with Seagate Barracuda in 2010 iMac... Welcome to the club. :) Then get a generic snow leopard online, as mentioned by @awesomebing1. Usually they can be downloaded from Apple website. Even if Snow Leopard is not available anything later will work too - 2010 iMac's are compatible with all Mac OS X to date. – Rilakkuma Dec 12 '14 at 4:53
  • @Rilakkuma just for the record, recovery discs that originally ship with Apple hardware provide a full installation of OS X and all applications that came with the system from new. They aren't restricted in any way other than the OS build, which may be machine specific thus preventing them being used to boot other Mac systems. – ScunnerDarkly Dec 12 '14 at 13:24

Since your machine only shows that icon if something is not compatible with someyhing, I would say two possible things:

  1. Your CD that came with the computer is messed up. Try buying a generic Snow Leopard disk online.
  2. Your new drive is not compatible. I hope not, but it could be a possibility.

If you can find any error messages by booting from the disk by holding command-v, please post them here, so we can help.

  • The new drive was the same brand/model of the one I pulled out: Seagate Barracuda. The only difference is that it's 1TB instead of 500GB. – gregsdennis Dec 12 '14 at 3:34

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