I have a Macbook Pro. I installed Ubuntu and wiped all the partitions in the process (fit of rage and getting angry at OS X)

someone told me to "clear PVRAM by holding Option+command+R+P" I did, this, now not even my ubuntu loads up.

when I turn on the computer i get a white screen with a flashing folder with a question mark in the middle.

when I boot by holding the option key, all I get is a white screen with a mouse pointer which i can move around.

I have created a bootable USB drive using instructions from the below, although unable to boot from USB. http://pureinfotech.com/make-bootable-usb-mac-os-x-windows/

How do I go back to OS X (or even Ubuntu, so I can at least have a usable machine)

This question is close to my situation, but I exhausted the things that fix that issue:


  1. My bootable USB doesn't work (so I need Mac OS to make a new one
  2. I cannot get to the recovery tool or the Disk Utility. I've clearly deleted the recovery HD so Command + R fails to load a now missing recovery tool.

Ubuntu was working fine before i cleared PVRAM. Even with Ubuntu, when I started with Command+R, I get taken to a white screen with a mouse on the screen that I can move. This, I would say, rules out HDD issue (unless clearing PVRAM can destroy your HDD)

Once clearing PVRAM is when I get the folder with the question mark, and Ubuntu now doesn't even load.

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    Even if this is reopened after your edit, we still don't know which MBP, OS X that was last on it, which OS you're trying to put on it, or whether it is capable of using that. You need to add that info. In the meantime, try booting holding Cmd/Opt/R & see if it will boot to Internet Recovery [which depends on the above information too] – Tetsujin Mar 25 '17 at 7:53
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    @Tetsujin is right. Let's move that specific narrow question of "how can I tell if X supports internet recovery?" to a new question. I'll answer the general case. that answer is long enough already without getting into specific builds and specific models and specific firmware updates. – bmike Mar 25 '17 at 15:25

Now that an external boot recovery or internal recovery is out of the question, you have two options.

  1. Try Internet recovery. Boot with option + command + R held
  2. Take this Mac to another Mac, use disk utility and run an installer over target disk mode
  3. Find another Mac to make a recovery USB drive or bootable installer. Recovery is smaller and does less. Installer is larger and does everything the recovery does plus has the install package to reinstall the os.

Internet recovery doesn't work on all older Mac hardware. Some protected wifi / fire walled networks prevent internet recovery. It works in most home and public wifi situations quite well. Try that first.

Target disk varies depending on what specific Mac you have. Some work over USB, some work over FireWire, some work over thunderbolt, some work over more than one of the above.

The option of just making a bootable installer or a bootable recovery USB drive will always work assuming you pick the right version of macOS for your specific Mac.

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