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I have a MacBook Air 2008 running 10.5.8, and I need to install 10.11 on it instead. Since there is no app-store, one of the ways is to find an install CD of 10.6, and then install El-Capitan. I however want to avoid this, as I don't have the install CD.

What I first wanted to do is delete /var/db/.applesetupdone from Single-User mode to redo the setup and make a new administrator's profile. I did this, but the setup got stuck with a spinning beach ball, so I had to force shutdown. Upon doing this, the mac no longer boots at all. I made an attempt on fixing this issue by going to single-user mode again, and executing touch /var/db/.applesetupdone. Then, I ran fsck -fy. This has not fixed the boot issue however.

Returning to the problem of installing El-Capitan, I made a USB removable media (both with recovery disk assistant, and with dd, copying only the recovery hd partition at disk0s3, and leaving the GUID partition map and EFI the same) with El-Capitan recovery to boot to on the old MBA, and "reinstall" El-Capitan. The disk is detectable by EFI, but after entering it, I see a forbidden icon (circle with diagonal line through) for a few moments, and then the mac shuts down.

Is there any possibility that I cannot boot to the Recovery I made because apple setup is marked as not done? How can I update from 10.5.8 to 10.11 with or without using the method with Recovery?

Note that the mac does not contain any data, and methods that cause data to be removed are possible.


I am currently trying to re-remove .applesetupdone, and booting into safe mode

  • Which MacBook Air 2008 do you have? The original MacBook Air 2008 can only run Mac OS X 10.7.5 as its latest OS, however the MacBook Air Late 2008 can run OS X 10.11.x. – user3439894 Aug 3 '16 at 20:45
  • @user3439894 I cannot check now, but the MBA is probably not late 2008. From images, the ports of the MBA late 2008 on the side, and on the model I have, they are below the mac. – TheBro21 Aug 3 '16 at 20:48
  • If it's the original MacBook Air 2008 then, according to Apple you need a "MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer)" to do so. – user3439894 Aug 3 '16 at 20:51
  • @user3439894 I will try lion later, and report back on the results – TheBro21 Aug 3 '16 at 20:52

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