After upgrading to Lion my computer is really slow. Chrome-takes-a-minute-to-open-a-tab slow. I decided to do a clean Lion install and copy all my stuff to see if that fixes it, so I got a new hard drive for this.

I burned the Lion image to a DVD and also a USB memory. The first time I tried installing, everything seemed to go well until rebooting. I got a kind of forbidden sign and a spinning wheel (with the gray boot background).

I booted from the DVD again and it said "Install failed, try again." but the installer wasn't run again. I found it on / by using the console and run it manually. Both from the DVD and the USB I did several installs, making sure the Internet connection was working before starting and in all cases it finishes, reboots and it looks like the partition in the hard drive is not bootable. It won't boot from hard drive.

Any ideas what's going on and/or how to solve and perform this clean install?

Thank you.

  • If you still have a recovery partition, you may need to just erase the main partition to clean things and use the supported options. You may not be able to determine if your installer is faulty or the mac is faulty without changing things up...
    – bmike
    Commented Sep 14, 2011 at 21:15
  • @bmike, there's no recovery partition, this is a new hard drive. Commented Sep 15, 2011 at 4:14
  • Aaaah - i missed the implication there... You should have a recovery HD but might not have an external enclosure to mount it and the new HD at the same time. Add that to the options available to you. In the US, a generic enclosure is the price of a lunch sandwich and would save you the DVD time and need for SL media.
    – bmike
    Commented Sep 15, 2011 at 13:56
  • @bmike, I don't understand; I have enclosures for HDs and I'll use them to copy the data, but what are you recommending here? Commented Sep 16, 2011 at 4:36
  • When I buy a new SSD/HD - I will connect it externally to install the OS / migrate data - once I can boot from that drive externally, then I put it inside the mac. Something like this works well as does a traditional drive enclosure. Does that help clarify the enclosure statement?
    – bmike
    Commented Sep 16, 2011 at 14:15

3 Answers 3


It's hard to know where the failure lies, but you might be able to get around the issue by re-installing Snow Leopard from media and then running the installer you have saved on the DVD/USB. This will avoid having to try the "official" Lion install and see if your installer is the cause or the mac has issues of it's own.

  • I like this solution too, given that you have no personal data on the system in the first place. Commented Sep 14, 2011 at 21:38
  • I'll probably do this, even if just as an experiment, but I was hoping for a very clean install. Commented Sep 15, 2011 at 4:28
  • Installing this way worked, so the install media was ok, but not able to deal with standalone install. I actually haven't found a single mention of anyone doing the standalone install. Lot's of blog posts how to make the media, but not how to use it. Commented Sep 16, 2011 at 18:43

I am unclear on the state of your machine. It sounds as though all the files may have been installed, though the system cannot boot form it.

If that is the case, you ought to be able to boot from the OS X DVD/USB install volume that you have created and then launch the terminal and use the following command:

bless --mount /Volumes/Macintosh\ HD/ --setBoot

I am not sure how you will get to the terminal with the Lion boot disk, but previous versions of OS X will let you get to it by booting from the install disk, and then when it is ready to install, you will need to quit the installer... perhaps by using cmd-Q. Then one of the menus will let you select various utilities, and one of them shoudl be terminal. Run the command I specified above.

Your mileage may vary using this... I have not yet had to recover from Lion, so I don't really know what you are going to find.

  • Thanks. There's a terminal right on the top menu bat from the installer. Unfortunately, even after running this command, it's like the hd is not even plugged at boot time. Commented Sep 15, 2011 at 4:26

You can't install lion from dvd or usb; 10.7 lion has to be installed from a HDD that has a partition that lets you goto internet recovery.(pressing cmd+alt+r)

in your case you HDD is clean... you must now install os x 10.6.8 first (you can still buy the snow leopard dvd from the online store) and install lion from the app store afterwards.

hope this helps !

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