So here is what happened. I installed Ubuntu onto a flashdrive hoping to be able to dual boot Linux/OSX. I burned Ubuntu onto the flash drive on my desktop PC (windows 8.1) with universal USB installer, I believe. I plugged it into my Mac OSX, rebooted, held the option key, and booted from the flash drive (it recognized it as "windows" by the way).

It then started to install and I must have somehow clicked install onto the hard drive because now both my hard drive and my flash drive are Ubuntu (both recognized as "windows" in the boot screen) and I really need to get my Mac OSX back.

I get this screen every time I boot from the hard drive then get stuck at a blank (looks terminal-ish) screen which doesn't load.


I can boot from the flash drive and get this.


It at least boots into Ubuntu.


I'm really not experienced with Ubuntu and I really don't want to have to keep Linux, so please if anyone can help me I would appreciate it.

p.s like I said earlier I have a windows 8.1 PC, so I can use that to help fix it if necessary I just really need my OSX back.

If you need any more information I'll gladly give it. Here is what it looks like with my flashdrive plugged in when I choose where to boot from.



  • Please boot to (internet) recovery mode, start Terminal.app from the menubar /Utilities/Terminal, enter diskutil list hit enter and add the output or a pic to your question
    – klanomath
    Dec 25, 2014 at 21:34
  • What does MacOSX do that Ubuntu doesn't do for you? Just curious.
    – NoBugs
    Dec 30, 2014 at 5:17

4 Answers 4


It sounds like you don't have a backup of your original OS X setup, and since you also likely don't have the Recovery partition, you can reinstall in the following way from scratch (assuming you have a relatively recent machine):

See How to use macOS Recovery for reference - but the relevant steps are below:

macOS / OS X Internet Recovery

  • Restart your Mac, and hold down Command + R at startup until the Apple logo appears.

After your computer finishes starting up, you should see a desktop with an OS X menu bar and an OS X Utilities window with the options listed above. If you see a login window or your own desktop instead of the Utilities window, it's possible that you didn't press Command-R early enough. Restart your computer and try again.

Choose the option you want to use from the Utilities window or the Utilities menu.

In order to reinstall OS X, you need to be connected to the Internet using Ethernet or Wi-Fi. If you're using a wireless Internet connection, click the Wi-Fi menu in the upper-right corner of the screen to select a nearby Wi-Fi network. Choose your preferred network name and enter a username and password to join the network if needed.


You have two options.

  1. You can restore your OSX using Mac's built-in + R.

    This requires a little explanation, so here it goes.

    1. Shut down your mac.
    2. Power-on, while holding down + R. You may release these keys as soon as you see the apple logo.
    3. When you see the OS X Utilities screen (pictured below), click Reinstall OS X

OS X Utilities

  1. This might take a while, but after you're done, you should have OS X installed. You can update it to the newest version from the Mac App Store.


  1. You can take your mac to an Apple Store

    This should be pretty self-explanatory, due to Apple's good support.


The simple way is to turn your Mac in at an authorised service provider or Genius Bar.

What you can try yourself is to make a bootable USB drive with OS X. Since you only have Windows I do not know if this is possible.

You could also try to download OS X and place the dmg file on a USB drive, then try to boot from it.


So basically yes you made a rather large mistake. If if you don't have a backup the chances of getting the data back are slim to none. Even if you are willing to pay a number of Hamiltons to a data recovery company Ubuntu has likely overwritten most if not all of your files. Chalk it up to a learning experience (EG always have a current backup. Always) and work on reinstalling your Mac O/S.

If you do want to play with Ubuntu it would be much easier to use VMWare, Parallels or the free Virtualbox and run it as a virtual machine inside of your Mac OS.

If you really have to have a dual boot, spend some time on the Ubuntu forums looking for advice on dual booting on your Mac.

Basically you'll have to use GParted (a partition editor) to shrink the Mac partition and add the Linux partition. What you did was overwrite the Mac partitions with your Linux partition. Modifying the partitions is not hard to do but it must be done carefully with attention to detail.

And once you have restored your Mac like Scot said, make a backup.

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