I wanted to re-install my mid-2010 15-inch MacBook Pro (Intel Core i7 2.66 gHz 8 GB 1067 MHz DDR3 RAM) which is currently running Mac OS X 10.6.8.

I inserted the retail Mac OS X 10.6 install disc, and held the C button on my keyboard to boot the machine. The disc can be heard spinning up, and the grey Apple logo appears. However, the computer hangs at that step, there was no grey spinning wheel and the installer never starts. After a few minutes, I can hear the disc SPIN DOWN, and the machine still sits at the Apple logo after more than 40 minutes.

To boot from the install disc, I also tried (1) holding down the Alt key during boot to choose the disc, and (2) using System Preferences to set the disc as the startup disc. However, the boot still hangs at the grey Apple logo.

To diagnose the problem, I tried other startup discs, including my retail Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard install disc. They all hang at the grey Apple logo.

Also, just to see if it was a problem with my optical drive, I followed instructions to use Disk Utility to make a disc image of the install disc, and "restore" that image to an USB flash drive. I am see and choose to boot from the USB drive when I hold down Alt during startup, but again it hangs at the grey Apple logo.

Next, I ran Micromat TechTool Deluxe that came with my AppleCard protection plan to check my hardware, all tests passed. I also held the D button during boot to run the Apple Hardware Test, again it found no problems.

Finally, I tried to reset the NVRAM with no success, and I used Disk Utility to verify the internal hard drive which produced the following message:

Verifying volume “Macintosh HD”
Performing live verification.
Checking Journaled HFS Plus volume.
Checking extents overflow file.
Checking catalog file.
Checking multi-linked files.
Checking catalog hierarchy.
Checking extended attributes file.
Checking volume bitmap.
Checking volume information.
Invalid volume file count
(It should be 1071709 instead of 1071710)
Invalid volume directory count
(It should be 200209 instead of 200208)
The volume Macintosh HD was found corrupt and needs to be repaired.
Error: This disk needs to be repaired. Start up your computer with another disk (such as your Mac OS X installation disc), and then use Disk Utility to repair this disk.

I installed Applejack to fix the problem and scan my computer again. Nonetheless the problem remains...

Is there anything else I can do to get my MacBook Pro to boot from the install disc? Thank you very much!

P.S. As an additional test, I booted other Macs with the install discs I have, they all worked fine...

  • Why the down vote? I am sorry if I did something wrong, but please let me know what it was so I can correct any errors in the post. Thank you.
    – hpy
    Nov 13, 2012 at 15:44

1 Answer 1


The MBP model you have shipped with version 10.6.3 build 10D2094 -- this is a special build of 10.6.3 with support for that model (and probably some others released at the same time) added. Anything older, including the standard build of 10.6.3, won't have drivers/config info/etc for that model, and hence cannot boot it. It sounds like your retail disk has an older version, so it won't work on that Mac.

If you have the installer DVD that came with the computer, you can use that. Otherwise, if you have another (older) Mac with FireWire, there's a trick you can use: start your computer with the T key held down, and it'll go into target disk mode, which essentially means it turns its brain off and acts as an external FireWire hard disk. Connect it (via FireWire) to an older Mac, start the older Mac from your retail 10.6 DVD, and have it install onto the "external disk" -- the MBP. Then, restart the old Mac from the "external disk" (the MBP should still be in target mode at this point), and update to 10.6.8. Now that the OS on the MBP's disk is new enough to support it, shut everything down (older Mac, then the MBP) and restart everything from its regular disk.

  • Wow I had no idea. I will give this a try this weekend after work, and report back. Thanks for the tip!
    – hpy
    Nov 13, 2012 at 15:43
  • I successfully used the FireWire target disk trick to install Snow Leopard on a MacbookPro6,2 (Macbook Pro mid-2010) using the 10.6.3 Snow Leopard retail disc. Very useful! Sep 8, 2014 at 13:42
  • I just used this technique to install the OS on an iMac. One "hiccup" we experienced was doing the update. There were a number of updates to be installed; I tried the default "install all" but the machine hung on the subsequent restart. I had to force shutdown by powering off. I was able to restart it, retried software update with selective install of only vital system updates. This worked, I then applied remaining updates one at a time.
    – user118555
    Mar 17, 2015 at 22:40
  • Tried this with my MacBook Pro 6,2 (Mid-2010) and it worked awesomely! Thank you so much Gordon for posting this solution! Now I can avoid El Capitan and run my fast machine with my favourite OS; the sleek and sensible Snow Leopard!
    – user190802
    Jul 5, 2016 at 0:34

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