My Macbook with Leopard wants to play in the snow! Rawr!
November 18, 2012 7:44 AM   Subscribe

Upgrading a mid-2008 aluminum macbook from leopard to snow leopard (and eventually on to Lion). The superdrive is broken, and I am trying to boot the OS from a usb drive but having problems. Details inside.

Hi all,

I am (belatedly) attempting to upgrade my trusty mid-2008 aluminum macbook from Leopard to Mountain Lion. I understand that Snow Leopard is required, so I ordered the installation disc from Apple and attempted installing. Unfortunately, the Superdrive seems to have taken a turn for the worse - it usually spits the disc out after about a minute of attempting to read, and sometimes makes it to the installation screen but then says the DVD is damaged (which it is not: Pretty much every CD/DVD is sputtering in my drive).

So, I did some researching and found that you can transfer Snow Leopard to a usb drive, boot the system from there and then proceed to install the OS. I went and borrowed my friend's pc running windows vista (there are no macs around), and attempted to put SL on the usb drive - but apparently the format(FAT) the drive was in only allows sizes of up to 4GB. So I formatted the usb drive to NTFS, got SL onto the drive successfully and attempted to boot from it on my macbook - no dice. It seems you can only boot from the previous format the drive was in, FAT (I could be wrong on this).

So, I have two questions:

1: Is there a workaround for this NTFS/FAT issue so that I can get Snow Leopard onto my computer with only the usb drive, my computer and my friend's pc? SL is currently on the usb drive in NTFS format, but I can easily format it back if needed.

2: If not, is there a quick and dirty way to try to fix the superdrive without taking it for repairs? The computer is honestly on its last legs, and I am not willing to fix everything that is wrong with it. I have an external hard drive with everything backed up, but unfortunately I will not be able to get to it for at least a month so that is not an option for me.

Thanks in advance!

PS: The processor is Intel Core 2 Duo, so I should be okay requirement-wise.
posted by Thanquol180 to Technology (4 answers total)
Best answer: Could you get an external DVD drive? You can get one for $30.

But if you want to use the USB flash drive method, you'll need some third party software for handling DMG files and formatting the flash drive. TransMac is popular and has a free trial. Here are instructions.
posted by jedicus at 7:58 AM on November 18, 2012

If memory serves, the USB stick must use a GUID partition with a Mac HFS+ filesystem. I don't think you can do any of that with a windows box.
posted by chairface at 8:15 AM on November 18, 2012

Response by poster: Update: My friend just tripped, knocked the computer off my desk and broke my usb drive. It seems like the external DVD drive idea is now the most cost effective option. Thanks for the replies, everyone!
posted by Thanquol180 at 9:34 AM on November 18, 2012

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