My optical drive doesn't work on my MacBook Pro, and my Internet connection is too slow to use the recovery partition to download Lion. I have a disk and a Windows PC I can use on the same network.

I installed the disk sharing software from Apple on the PC, and used the remote install program that comes on the disc.

I hold down Option ⌥ when booting up my MacBook. It is plugged in via Ethernet to the same network, but the network disk never appears. If I press N then the network icon appears, pulsing, but it never finds the Windows shared disk.

What am I doing wrong? Will this work better if plug the Ethernet cable directly from the PC to the Mac, skipping over the network?

  • What do you mean by 'hold download alt' when booting the MacBook?
    – wxs
    Jun 2, 2012 at 12:52
  • alt is the option key. You press it to choose a startup disk. (as it instructs you to)
    – Jonathan.
    Jun 2, 2012 at 14:50
  • You mean 'I hold down alt' then?
    – wxs
    Jun 2, 2012 at 16:37
  • Ah yes, sorry that's autocorrect, and my bad spelling :)
    – Jonathan.
    Jun 2, 2012 at 16:38

2 Answers 2


You need a network boot server to be running somewhere on the network as Macs can't just see another CD without more help. Internet recovery is Apple's way of solving this on the newer hardware.

Something like DeployStudio would be my first recommendation for a modern, free, and all in one setup. This tool will handle the network request from the Mac and provide it with software to run so that you can then start an installation. I don't know of a boot image that is capable of doing a remote disk installation so you might do some learning with net boot, but ultimately just go get a USB drive or get help from someone with the setup ready to do a restore. Many Apple Stores are set up to image a machine while you wait through the genius bar.

  • So using the remote install program that comes on the Apple disc, doesn't let you remote install?
    – Jonathan.
    Jun 2, 2012 at 19:18
  • Only OS X Server has a remote install program as far as I'm aware. What exact model of Mac and OS are you trying to install remotely? The "Remote Disk" function on Mac Mini and Air assumes full OSX is running on your Mac and doesn't work at install time.
    – bmike
    Jun 2, 2012 at 19:22
  • I put the Mac OSX install disk (I have the snow leopard disk) into the PC, one of the programs on there is a Remote installer (exe), you run that and it steps you through the process of holding alt during boot and selecting the network disc. I'm trying to install on a MBP, from a Vista PC.
    – Jonathan.
    Jun 2, 2012 at 19:28
  • Awesome - those are probably the BootCamp drivers for windows that are intended for people running Windows on their mac as opposed to people wanting to instal Mac from Windows over the net.
    – bmike
    Jun 2, 2012 at 19:38
  • support.apple.com/kb/HT2129?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US. But it seems that this for Mac Mini and MBA only. (but I thought the Mac Mini only lost it's CD drive after 10.7)
    – Jonathan.
    Jun 2, 2012 at 20:31

The first other option you have is if you backed up your computer using Time machine, just turn the machine off, plug the drive in with your Time Machine Backup, Power the machine on and hold the option key. It will display the Time machine disk with the ability to restore from your backup or reinstall the Operating System. If you don't have a backup.. great resource is just take it to the Apple Store and they can install Lion, Mountain Lion free of charge (clean install). The 3rd option that will work is find a friend with a Macbook Pro and target Disk your machine to his/hers and you can install the Operating System that way by telling the installer to install it to the external disk (which is you HDD (Hard Drive))

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