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Installed a new empty hard drive on a MacBook pro 2010, the old one is not usable any more, and I do not have the original DVD.

As show e.g. here, pressing Cmd+R during boot, I should get an image of earth with a dialog to choose network. In my case I only get the image of a blinking folder with a question mark.

I tried with Cmd+alt+R, with the same result.

Why is my Mac behaving differently? How can I reinstall OS-X, even the original version?

Could it be a BIOS issue?

2

It's quite possible that there's no recovery partition on the drive, since it is a completely empty drive. I would highly recommend using Disk Maker X to create a bootable USB disk. Here's what you'll need:

  • Another Mac with access to the App Store.
  • A USB drive/stick with a capacity of at least 8 GB. Also be sure it has absolutely no data on it, since it will be formatted.
  • An internet connection in order to download Disk Maker X onto the other Mac.

First, download macOS Sierra on the other Mac by searching for it on the App Store, but don't install it! Next, download and install Disk Maker X on the other Mac. Then, open Disk Maker X and follow the steps listed. After that, make sure the Mac you're trying to fix is off. Plug in the USB Stick, then press Option and press the power key. Select the USB disk in the window that loads, follow the setup process, and you should be good to go! Let me know if you have any questions.

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    is right! There is no recovery partition so the computer has no idea what to do. You need to have a bootable CD or USB drive to do anything with that computer besides use it as a very expensive paperweight. – NoahL Oct 1 '16 at 23:52

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