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The HD crashed on my old MacBook (white Mid 2007) and appears to be unrecoverable. Though I bought a new MacBook Pro, I would like to resurrect my old MacBook, by buying a new hard drive. (It had an 80 GB drive, and those appear to be really inexpensive).

1) Is there a way for me to get an OS onto my MacBook after I install the new HD? (Can I do this myself?) I think it had the Mac OS X Lion.

2) I think that Apple keeps a record of my devices, and their OS's. If I went to the Apple Genius Bar, would they replace my OS for free and install it for me?

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The MacBook 13" Mid 2007 is obsolete! Meaning that even with the latest version of Mac OS X it supports, 10.7.5, the OS is no longer supported in any respect, has un-patched security flaws that will never be fixed. From a security standpoint, you'd be better off running a current version of Linux Mint then Mac OS X Lion 10.7.5 on that MacBook.

That said, if you really want to run the latest Mac OS X that MacBook model supports, then you'll need to acquire a copy of the Install Mac OS X Lion.app application bundle and use DiskMaker X (formerly Lion DiskMaker) to create the USB Installer as it does not support the createinstallmedia command found in the application bundles of the OS X installers starting with OS X Mavericks and later.

If you previously purchased Mac OS X Lion, then I believe it should appear under Purchased in the App Store and can be downloaded again and if not then you'll have to ask a friend to see if it's in theirs.

Another possible option is to take the MacBook to an Apple Store and see if the Genius Bar can install a copy of Mac OS X Lion for you.

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You can install OS X using either a Snow Leopard installation disk (which should have been included with the computer–however you'll need 10.6.8 to go further, as earlier versions contain no online-only upgrade path)

Or:

With a thumb drive that has been set up to install OS X. You can easily create these thumb drives using instructions in Create a bootable installer for OS X. You would do this on another computer.

The MacBook is older, so it doesn't have the ability to install the latest version without installation media.

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    Ahhh! I was in the middle of typing my own answer to this post that goes just like yours. +1 for beating me. Apr 30, 2016 at 0:45
  • Many thanks for the answer. I downloaded the installer (into my Applciations folder) for El Capitan, however, the link provides instructions (a Terminal command line to create the bootable installer for Mavericks, El Capitan, and Yosemite. From what I read, I don't think that my Macbook (mid-2007) meets the requirements for those OS versions. Is there a similar installer for Snow Leopard or Lion?
    – Dean
    Apr 30, 2016 at 6:36
  • For Lion, you would have to find the Lion download on the App Store (under purchases). If you have not already purchased it, you can buy one here: apple.com/shop/product/D6106Z/A/os-x-lion Make sure it meats the requirements. For Snow Leopard you would have a Disk you have to put in the computer, there is no download for it.
    – Ezekiel
    Apr 30, 2016 at 18:43

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