I'm trying to reinstall the OS on a MacBook Air. I got it from my former company, and they didn't keep the OS install disc, in fact they wiped it and put Windows 7 on it. I have quite a few macs, and have always used an external USB disc and can install but this machine is so fickle and throws up the multilingual failure message upon boot. I was, however, able to boot into a recovery volume that was on my external hard drive, and I burned Snow Leopard to the machine's OWN hard drive, and when it booted up, it failed again.

Does anyone ahve any experience or ideas on how to install Mac OS X on it? It now, has no operating system for me to boot into, though.


Finally, issue was solved. I burned my recovery partition from my Mountain Lion Macbook Pro onto a USB drive, and used that to boot into recovery and downloaded and installed Mountain Lion on my Mac Air, successfully.

It seems that this generation of Mac Airs have some kind of protection that will ONLY let you use a recovery drive to boot from USB and even from the drive itself.


That model of MacBook Air had custom builds for both OS X 10.6.4 and 10.6.5. Your best bet would be to use a USB installation drive made from a later version, i.e. 10.6.8 or any version of Lion or Mountain Lion.

You should be able to make a USB installer in the standard way, using Disk Utility to copy the DVD (for Snow Leopard) or InstallESD.dmg (for Lion/Mountain Lion) to a USB drive.

If that still doesn't work, then you should try running the Apple Hardware Test, as it's likely a problem beyond the OS installer.

  • Hmm, yeah, like I said, I had like a kernel panic or something everytime I tried to load in Snow Leopard from a burned CD drive. I used this snow Leopard, method and actually same drive and everything, only burned once, on two different macs, one was a first gen Macbook Air, other was an old 17 inch pro, and both were fine. I tried it on 2 DIFFERENT mac airs, but same generation, and both always fail. – Allen Mar 27 '13 at 6:03
  • BTW, what I'm trying now, is I mounted my current Mountain Lion recovery drive, then burned it to a DVD, adn now I'm using that to try and install on a newly reformated drive on the machine and see how that works. So far it's downloading and says it only needs about 2 hours to go. I'm crossing my fingers. – Allen Mar 27 '13 at 6:04

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