I couldn't figure out how to properly explain the issue in my title.

Here is the deal: My HDD is broken in my MacBook, every time I boot it up it's freezing. I bought a totally new SSD, but I didn't think before I bought it, so now I am stuck in a bad situation. I cannot download a new OS X, because they are downloaded from the App Store and I can't use my MacBook. I can't use disk utility to format the SSD either, because funnily enough, I also need my MacBook to work to do that.

So what options do I have here? The HDD is not operational at all, I do have a Windows desktop if I can do something here though.

Maybe I should also mention my insane stupidity of not having my installation disk either. I have an external harddrive though, so maybe if I could get the OS X iso and get my external Hard drive to install OS on the new SSD. But right now, I'm deep in the water.


You can purchase Snow Leopard from Apple for $19.00US and install it from a optical disk reader. Once Snow Leopard is installed, (it needs to be v.10.6.8,) upgrade to Yosemite through the App Store. Make sure your MacBook is not too new to run Snow Leopard, though.


If you can, plug the SSD into an external case with USB out. Plug the USB (external SSD) into the Macbook. Boot into Recovery mode, go here for instructions. Using Disk Utility you can format the external SSD to MacOS Extended Journaled*. Now shut everything down, install your SSD in the Macbook. Boot up the Macbook into Recovery mode again, and following the instructions at the apple support link, you should be able to reinstall Mac OSX from the internet.

  • 1
    What a detour. If the HDD is broken, the (internal) Recovery HD probably is also non-functional. So put the SSD directly in the MacBook and try to boot to Internet Recovery Mode (if your MacBook is capable of doing that: list of older Macs if you've already installed the latest firmware earlier and any newer Mac) – klanomath Sep 4 '15 at 13:23
  • I missed that, sorry, I'm at work :) Yes, if the original HD is completely kaputt, skip the external USB case and just install the SSD in the Macbook. – Dingkavid Sep 4 '15 at 13:35
  • Should I edit your answer because you are busy or do you want to do it yourself on your imperturbable ascent to the Strunk & White badge? – klanomath Sep 4 '15 at 13:42
  • Go for it. I tried to create a list, but yea... Strunk & White here I come! – Dingkavid Sep 4 '15 at 15:47

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