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Model A1181: 1.83, 2, 2.1, 2.13, 2.16, 2.2, or 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo processor

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How to build a boot/system install disk for MacBook 2,1

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Hi guys,

I’ve read until my eyes are bleeding. I just can’t figure out how to build the proper boot disk for this 2008 Macbook White 2,1. I got one image to burn to a hard drive and it asked me to recover.

I’ve tried:

balenaEthcer.app, Carbon Copy Cloner, Disk Utility to Restore, Install Disk Creator, Mac OS X USB Driver Creator, Super Duper!.

Everything fails. I’m not used to failure. I’ve been doing this for a long time. It’s an Intel board C2D, so the option key works for the startup menu. It just doesn’t want to recognize anything as a start up or install volume. I know you can install from a USB drive. It starts with one image I made, but only asks to restore or quit. I can use the Utilities from this startup. But, just can’t seem to make the right combination for this unit.

It shipped with Tiger, so I’ve tried making Tiger, Lion, Mountain Lion, nothing seems to work for me. All I get is fail after fail when I try to create, after 2 weeks of effort. It’s for a kid, as a freebie because he needs it for school. I figured this thing should run an old version of MS Office, if I can get it to boot. Thanks for your help.

I have a regular Mac Drive inside the unit, formatted in Extended Journaled, not an SSD or anything strange - yet. It did format the drive for me from the one image I created. But just can’t get an installer to work for me. Do I have to have the DVD’s? Even though I have the ISO’s from the DVD’s on a jump drive or two?

I know there’s got to be a way to simulate a DVD install, I’m just not that smart - yet.

Thanks for any guidance, you always come through for me.


Update (12/22/2021)

I do have a couple questions, Dan. If you don't mind?

  1. I have half a dozen Apple hard drives. One is marked firmware 2010. Is there any way to tell the transfer rate from markings on the drive?
  2. Lion does not download with the Shared Support Folder. I know, I've downloaded it from Apple 6x. So, how do you create the boot disk with an EFI? I try restore, it fails “cannot determine size". I try prepping the restore before I start, fails. The only Mac I have to prep is a 2019 MBP with Monterey. I tried other imaging and restore tools, nothing creates the “blessed" usb, or a “blessed" hard drive with usb cable. It just copies files as seen from the source. There is no “create install media" on Lion's install download media. Ideas on that?
  3. The EVO series is expensive, do you know of any other autosense drives before I start my search? It's a giveaway to a needy kid for school work, so it's all out of my empty pockets, lol.
  4. Some folks say you need 2 partitions on the drive to be used for system. 1 partition should be formatted, not to “GUID”, but to the Apple File Scheme? Truth to that?
  5. The image asking me to restore did boot from that drive via USB and a usb/sata cable. I was able to format inside the Lion image that asked to restore. Does that mean that drive is the proper transfer rate since it did boot from it? It's the only 1 drive that booted in 2 weeks of trying.

Thanks again, a little tricky here.

Update (12/28/2021)

Not working for me, only a DMG file, no shared resources folder to access. I did purchase a backward compatible SATA 1 SSD that will sense the correct version.

Отвечено! Посмотреть ответ У меня та же проблема

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1 - Often the venders drive info is visible and you can look it up. Many of the drives Apple used are Seagate's.

2 - I fear Apple posted a corrupted image. As I already had the needed installer I just setup my drive using it. The only other avenue is to locate a retail version on one of the market places it will have a image of a Lion on it.

3 - Kingston had offered one. I don't know if they still do. You don't need this exact model the older ones where also Auto Sense. an 850 EVO will also work.

4 - Yes & No! If you where using Mojave and newer Yes! But are we doing that here?? No!

To confuse you more! Apple offered a recovery partition solution before they offered Internet recovery so some systems will have a hidden partition Lion to Sierra being the OS which will likely have it.

Bottomline: Let the OS installer handle the partitions if needed.

5 - Sounds like you hit the hidden recovery partition on one of the disks. So you may have a Lion recovery enabled in the hidden partition. See if it is able to work.


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Lets first review the hardware issues you maybe facing:

The SATA port is only SATA I (1.5 Gb/s) so the drive you use must be able to run at this slower speed. There are very few Fixed SATA I drives out there now (recycled is about it). And many HDD’s which offered a compatibility jumper are also rare and only recycle now. That leaves Auto Sense drives ones that monitor the systems port data rate and matches it. Sadly three strikes here as well ;-{ All we find now are fixed SATA III (6.0 Gb/s) HDD drives which won’t work in your system.

So where does leave us?? What we can find are Auto Sense SSD’s! As an example the Samsung 870 EVO In fact Samsungs drives for quite awhile have offered Auto Sense. If you check the spec sheet I posted here check out the Interface line you’ll see all three SATA speeds are listed:

SATA 6 Gb/s Interface, compatible with SATA 3 Gb/s & 1.5 interfaces

So make sure the drive you are using is SATA I (1.5 Gb/s) or is a Auto Sense drive like the Samsung by checking the given drives spec sheet if it doesn’t clearly state it find another drive.

Now let’s talk about cloning! Cloning should never be used on boot drives! As you discovered they just don’t work! If you had a bunch of thumb drives which you needed to ship off to a bunch of people with the same data files then yes! cloning works! Thats it! (the installer image/disk is also not clone-able) Best to just dump them as you really don’t need them any more and the new APFS file system drives are just not clone-able either!

The proper way is to use the tools Apple provides, here we are using: Disk Utility to format the drive, OS Installer app to prep up a bootable OS installer disk or drive with the needed system files and Migration Assistant to copy over the user accounts, apps and data files from the old drive.

OS-X and file systems! Tiger (OS-X 10.4.x) used an older file system called HFS which was a carry over from OS-9, Leopard (OS-X 10.5.x) upgraded the file system to HFS+ which made a big change in the boot sectors. HFS+ was still used upto High Sierra (macOS 10.13.x) on HDD’s. Sadly, the highest your system can support is Lion (OS-X 10.7.5)

You’ll need to download the OS Installer from here https://support.apple.com/kb/DL2077?loca... Using your Mac you can create a DVD or a FireWire drive. I’m not sure if your system will allow a Bootable USB drive or not. Here’s the guide to create the bootable OS installer drive Create a Bootable DVD Copy of OS X Lion Installer I prefer the DVD method or if you have a FireWire drive that also works!

Make sure you use Disk Utility to wipe the drive if you go with the drive and setup a GUID partition with a Journaled file system (HFS+).

With your bootable OS installer drive you should be able to boot up your MacBook and then repeat the process of wiping the drive and setting up the drive with a GUID partition with a Journaled file system and then run the OS installer program. Once done if you have anything to restore from a backup or original drive now is the time to run Migration Assistant.

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Thanks, Dan! Always count on you for these older girls.



This method does not work for me. All I get is a dmg file when I download. Can't install the stem file onto Monterey. Can I try to restore the DMG to a dvd? Not sure what to do next. I think I've tried everything I can think of....


@thomhemler - You can't use Monterey on this system! As I stated: "The highest your system can support is Lion (OS-X 10.7.5)"


No, I'm trying to create the bootable drive in Monterey.


@thomhemler - Do you have access to another older system? Let's say Sierra based.


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