I have a Macbook Pro that had a hard drive failure, I've replaced the hard drive but I don't have a boot disk of any kind. I could just order a Snow Leopard DVD, but I have to wait a few days for this. So I'm wondering if it would be possible to download either Snow Leopard or Lion to a DVD from a PC that I have access to, that I could then use as a boot disk on the Mac. Is this possible?

4 Answers 4


Is it humanly possible, if you received an ISO from some source, that you could create a burnable disc from a PC? Yes, no reason why not. That being said, if you have upgraded the firmware on a recent-enough MacBook Pro, and have a fast enough connection to pull down a OS install disc, you could use internet recovery:

Apple's Knowledge Base Article for Internet Recovery-Capable Macs

I believe this won't work if you hadn't run this updater on your Mac after already upgrading to Lion, but it would pull down a recovery partition of less than a GB first, from which you could at least browse the web with the 'get help online' Safari Kiosk mode, or go on to do a full reinstall.

Beyond the 10.6 disc, there is also a USB drive for Lion that can be purchased as well, of course. Good luck

  • Actually if I recall correctly there should be also an option to restore from Time Machine. Might be quicker.
    – bdecaf
    May 22, 2012 at 13:40
  • @bdecaf Would you be able to provide more info on this? Sounds interesting.
    – Regmi
    May 24, 2012 at 22:06

The Mac OS is copyrighted and Apple does not give it away. It comes with a Mac when you buy the Mac, but otherwise you have to buy it. Thus there is no legal way for you to get a copy without paying for it. Apple only supports downloadable software purchases via the AppStore, which only runs on Macs so far. So no, there's no legal way for you to download the OS on a PC. That said, you can probably find an illegal copy of an install DVD somewhere.

Don't you have the DVD that came with your MacBook Pro? That's the normal way to recover. I guess you're not near an AppleStore, either, or you could go there and have them install Lion on your MBP.

Do you have a TimeMachine backup? Some other kind of backup? If you had a Carbon Copy Cloner backup then you could boot from that.


Yes, technically you can create a Mac OSX boot disk on a PC. For Lion, you will need the image, a file named InstallESD.dmg (which can be written using something like UltraISO).

You can acquire the needed file either by downloading the Lion installer from the Mac App Store (requires a Mac initially, you can copy the files to a PC afterwards) or downloading the file from other sources (hint:torrents).

Legally you should be covered in most jurisdiction since installing Lion requires your purchased it (and usually you are entitled to own a backup copy) but you know you shouldn't get legal advice from the Internet.


If you own your legal copies of software, then you can use Alcohol in Windows, or Daemon tools, or even Nero (Nero is tricky) to do a 1:1 burn from your DVD into the HD, or from a HD into a DVD. You can also buy MacDrive for Windows to look into HFS+ disks, specially double optical disks with different files viewable depending if you insert the CD or DVD into a Windows or a Mac computer.

I once had a mac with a broken optical drive (this works in MacBook air too), you can copy your free linux or any other boot disk into a blank external HD, or even a flash drive (they are extremely fast) and boot your mac with holding the Option (Alt) key, boot img will show up in the white screen.

This link has pretty much all the info you need for copying CDs in windows. http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/243423-32-image-flash I believe I can trust that you will assume responsibility over your actions, and that you own all the licenses to the software you want to copy. I am just giving information here. What you do with it is your problem, not mine.

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