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I have a 2008 Mac Pro that I bought w/o a hard drive. I have a hard drive to install, but can't figure out how to get it up and running since the hard drive doesn't have OS X on it... I created a bootable version of Sierra on an external drive and tried to boot from that drive, but just got an error and the machine shut off. What can I do?

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Someone may come up with a better solution than this, but I've never found one in 9 years of owning an 08 Mac Pro...

Though, first of all, it cannot run Sierra, so you'll need El Capitan or older.

Your choices are:-

  1. Get a boot image onto a spare hard drive in the same way you got it onto a USB stick & boot from that.

  2. Get a bootable CD/DVD of Lion & work from there.

or I suppose a late 3

  1. Take it to an Apple Store & they'll do it for you.

I have never been able to get an 08 to boot from a USB stick, no matter what I've tried. The 09's will, but not the 08's.

It's also too old to boot to Internet Recovery.

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  • Is the '08 too old for Internet Recovery because the image is no longer supported at Apple or because the feature never existed?
    – bjb
    Nov 21, 2017 at 18:17
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    Oops - way late to see this, but the feature simply never existed until about 2011. Some cusp machines will boot to it if they've had a firmware update, but nothing this old.
    – Tetsujin
    Mar 27, 2020 at 12:29

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