I got an old 13-inch 2011 MacBook Air which as I understand should run macOS Lion.

I'm new to mac, BTW.

The issue is that every time I turn on the laptop I get greeted with the 'macOS X Utilities', where I can do some certain stuff: Restore from Time Machine backup, reinstall macOS, get help online, and Disk Utility.

I tried to reinstall from the options above but as soon as the loader is finished Mac restarts and greets me with the same window. At this point, several GBs are created on the laptop disk, I checked it from Disk Utility.

When I try to Choose the Startup Disk, there is nothing -- it's completely empty.

What should I do to get my Mac working?

Should I create an image of the downloaded file that can be chosen as an installer disk? If yes, how can I do that?


1 Answer 1


This happens all the time when people do a clone of the installer to the internal storage. What is needed is to let the installer erase the drive and install a running OS on the Mac. You’ve got a catch 22 since the installer can’t run and install on top of itself easily.

  • Can you instead connect an external drive?
  • Select reinstall macOS
  • Direct the reinstall to the external drive
  • Boot from the external drive and complete the setup assistant.

This is only needed short term to get out of the jam you’re in.

Then you can use the startup manager to boot off the external. Then that OS can make a second bootable installer and you can perform an erase install on the Mac.

Good news is you should be able to go to High Sierra and do a well-documented and straight forward erase install once you have a proper macOS running.

  • I couldn't install the high sierra because my friends mac is some other version and it didn't let me to open the .pkg file. Instead I downloaded it on my mac and I somehow found the file. I burned it to flash drive and I tried to boot off from it. I succeeded and saw the installing screen but soon after several minutes I got an error of installation that looks like this: Try to install again. Jun 4, 2022 at 7:26
  • This error is why I suggested you use an external disk to first run the install you had. Less chance of ending up at the start of you use the working installer to install a running os and break the “make another installer” chain you’ve got going. I’ll edit the question to make it even more clear you need to run the installer you have at this point.
    – bmike
    Jun 4, 2022 at 12:33

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