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Fixing Your MacBook on the Road: Updated 4/2011

April 10, 2011

Don't Talk Back to the Authorities!

I have a 2006 Macbook. This baby has more miles than the average human being. On my first week, while in my small room at the Cosmic Guesthouse in Hong Kong, it crapped itself. To me, it was Armageddon. It was 2012. It was the meteor that killed off the dinosaur.  All my writing, my pictures, my programs, my access to the world was shot. Of course, I looked at this as another uncontrollable event during my travels and I had to fix it.

After consulting couple of people, I figured out that I needed to reinstall my OS. Unfortunately, since I was in the beginning of my travels, I had no way to access any OS cds. I had the Mac Tiger OS, so I looked at this opportunity to upgrade my OS. As Mac OS are cheap, I went to the nearest Apple retailer and diligently bought myself the Snow Leopard OS.

Here is where a wrench was thrown at my head. Macbooks are notorious to have a dysfunctional DVD/CD player, especially the way I treat my baby. My laptop refused to read the DVD I bought. I thought about other ways to install the CD. I even went and bought a Macbook Superdrive, which I returned the next day as I figured out that regular Macbooks couldn’t read the Superdrive. (This could have been avoided with access to the Internet.)

Lucky for me, I was headed to Bangkok and I had a friend who had a Macbook as well. Unfortunately though, we did not have a fire wire cable so we could not do a remote install. We also could not do a remote install via the Internet, as a remote install requires a password-less network. (I could be wrong about this, but this is the conclusion we came to.)

I told him to rip the DVD to a .cdr file using Disk Utility (which can be accessed from Applications/Utilities/Disk Utility.) After he ripped the DVD, I asked him to put the DVD-rip into my external hard drive. Unfortunately, I forgot that I formatted the hard drive as a FAT32; therefore the biggest file I can transfer over is about 4 gigs. The DVD-rip file is about 6.8 gigs.

I was in a bind; I didn’t know what to do now. After, more brainstorming, I came to the conclusion of using my 8 gig flash drive. I was able to do a little more research and figured out that one cannot just transfer the DVD-rip file onto the hard drive and double click. You would have to format the flash drive with the DVD-rip.

Therefore, I had to re-format the flash drive so it could take big files (see below under instructions), and then install the file onto the flash drive (see below again). After doing this, with the flash drive still installed in the laptop, I restarted the computer, while holding option. A prompt came up and I followed the prompts. 30 minutes later, my computer was fixed. Hooray!

After 3 weeks, lots of patience and brainstorming, I fixed the laptop. So instead of having the same issue, I have written clear instructions below.

Step 1: Buy or somehow get the latest Mac OS.

Step 2: With another computer, rip the DVD. In a Macbook, go to Applications/Utilities/Disk Utility. Then click on the CD image, and then on top click new image. Follow prompts.

Step 3: Make sure the flash drive is formatted to Mac OS (Extended). If not, do so under Disk Utility. The flash drive should be at least 8 gigs.***

Step 4: Take your flash drive and go back to Disk Utility. Click on restore and drag the CD image to the area under ‘Source’.

Step 5: Restart computer and hold the option button. Follow the prompts. Computer OS installed. Voila!

**This information is for academic purposes.

***WARNING*** Re-formatting flash drives too many times can cause the flash drive to malfunction.

UPDATE: 4/2011

Ok, so my laptop shat itself once again. Fortunately, this time I went to a Official Apple Store. They fixed my computer immediately as it was a software issue. Although the whole time they were pushing me to buy a new laptop. They were also really surprised by my laptop.

I learned a couple of things while I was there but the most important lesson was:

1) Bring an external HD if you have one as they are probably going to reset your laptop’s HD. It’s nice to keep your private documents/media. (Maxfied, that means all the porno you have).

Last but not least, in the excitement of hearing that I did not have to buy a new laptop, I forgot to ask the Apple Genius Bartenders if they fixed my computer because I had the latest OS installed already. Can one just go in and ask them to update the OS then? Find out for me people! Thanks!

One Comment leave one →
  1. February 16, 2011 1:33 am

    Yeah dude, thanks for the Snow Leopard OS upgrade. hahaha.

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