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So I would like to know if it is possible to diagnose and install new OSX using blank SSD in an iMac that has broken LCD and no hard drive?

I bought this iMac out of auction where you cant test anything and buy as-is, and looks like I'm in deep trouble as the display doesn't work and it has no hard drive. The iMac chimes with Apple sound when turned on so that tells me motherboard is working.

  • What model of iMac, please. – IconDaemon Feb 27 at 12:31
  • Do you have any other Macs which can be used to put macOS on the SSD? – David Anderson Feb 27 at 12:47
  • @IconDaemon its 27" iMac 2009 or 2010 model – gfdsal Feb 27 at 13:22
  • @DavidAnderson no this is my first ever mac – gfdsal Feb 27 at 13:22
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Yes it is possible to diagnose and install macOS on an iMac with a broken LCD and missing hard drive.

The iMac all-in-ones from that vintage has a mini Display Port for a second display. It supports Leopard through El Capitan. Here’s what you’ll need at a minimum:

  • A mini display port to VGA, DVI, or HDMI adapter, depending on the monitor you’re hooking up to.
  • A bootable USB - either an installer or a USB with a full installation on it. You can create an installer by following one of the many guides found online. If you want to use the full install, you’ll need to install macOS to a USB flash (64GB is sufficient) or a USB hard drive.

As for a keyboard, I’m assuming it comes with one, but if it doesn’t, you don’t need an Apple one; a cheap USB keyboard will work fine. Just remember, the “Windows” and “Alt” keys are the Command and Option keys, respectively.

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  • Makes so much sense. So the followup question is does the bootloader automatically shifts to second monitor connected by VGA or HDMI or the operating system has to be loaded first and from there we can use maybe a keyboard shortcut? I mean to say that when the power button is pressed, will iMac automatically show the boot options which are necessary to install the OSX into external monitor? – gfdsal Feb 27 at 13:45
  • It will mirror, by default, the same way a PC does. – Allan Feb 27 at 13:48
  • @Allan: Is there something special about 2009 iMacs? I ask because I currently have a 2007 iMac with a second monitor connected using a DVI jack. When I boot from a USB El Capitan installer, the displays do not mirror. I can drag the initial window to the second monitor, but the initial window does not appear by default on the second monitor. Also the menu bar remains on the builtin display regardless of where the initial window resides. Opening the Disk Utility results in the Disk Utility appearing only on the builtin display. – David Anderson Feb 27 at 15:50
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    @DavidAnderson I don’t know about special, but I did this exact thing with a 2010 iMac I bought from a government surplus store that had a physically broken LCD – Allan Feb 27 at 15:56
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    Here’s to hoping you are as lucky with your purchase as I was! :-) – Allan Feb 28 at 0:04

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