MacBook Pro Hard Drive Upgrade / MacBook Pro won’t boot from OS X Leopard Installer DVD

I bought a new 750GB hard drive for my MacBook Pro. It’s the “second-generation” MacBook Pro which means the hard drive is easily accessible inside the battery compartment. You need a #00 phillips head screwdriver, and a T6 torx driver. It takes a typical 2.5″ laptop SATA drive. This article helped to convince me it would be pretty easy. However, that article also oversimplified the process of booting from the OS X install DVD and doing a full system restore from a Time Machine backup (which was / is my plan).

The magical requirement that I failed to meet initially, and which has inspired this post, is that, besides the installer DVD that came with the system, a MacBook Pro will only boot an installer DVD that contains a version of OS X that is newer than the one that shipped on it. (This forum discussion helped me to realize this.) Simple enough requirement, but if you fail to use a suitable disk, the failure mode is pretty opaque.

Power on the system, hold ‘C’ or ‘Option’ or some other key combo that you like after hearing the chime to tell it to boot from the DVD, and then watch as the screen turns black and the system reboots itself. Without a bootable hard drive installed (e.g., if you just installed a fresh-out-of-the-box hard drive), the system will actually sit there in a loop of reboots with the DVD spinning the whole time. Anyways, I was using the wrong installer disks because I incorrectly remembered the system as shipping with OS X 10.4 (which does not support Time Machine and thus would greatly complicate my data restoration plans). In fact, my MacBook shipped with 10.5.5, and I was trying to use a very early OS X Leopard (10.5) install DVD that I bought back when it was first released.

I was able to boot from the DVD that came with the system on the first try. Right now the restore from Time Machine is in progress, showing about 6 hours remaining. Fingers crossed that everything goes as planned.


2010 in review

Crunchy numbers

This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2010.

In 2010, there were 32 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 356 posts.

The busiest day of the year was June 21st with 78 views. The most popular post that day was iptables / NAT in Xen.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for rendezvous proxy, erickson gizmo, linux fake com port, shadow $6$, and xen iptables nat.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


iptables / NAT in Xen August 2008


Compiling a kernel for a Beagle Board November 2008


Warning: post-commit hook failed (exit code 255) with no output. January 2010
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Virtualization Stuff April 2006


$1$ vs $6$ in /etc/shadow July 2009