Help with old MAcbook Pro - how do I make it boot up?

Soldato
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Hey all. I have an old MacBookPro here. It came without a hard drive in it. I've put one in, but can't get it to boot up, or enter recovery mode by pressing Option and R at bootup. I just get a flashing picture of a folder with a ? in it.

With Windows, I can just make a bootable USB, plug it in and away I go. I have no other Apple gear here, and don't really have much idea about the Apple OS. The machine was my mates one. Unfortunately he's no longer with us, so I can't ask him lol! If I swap the SSD with one with Windows 10 on it, the machine boots into Windows fine, so I guess I need some way of getting the OS on it somehow? I believe it's not a very new one.

Would appreciate any pointers. Ta
 
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Just double checking, did you press Option + R at boot up, or Command + R? Because it's supposed to be Command + R, and you want to hold it after pressing the power button, not just press it. Because it's a blank HDD I'd try internet recovery (Command + Option + R) as well

Also, do you know what model it is exactly? I believe the recovery mode tools were only added in models later than 2010 so if you have a very old model it might not work that way
 
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Soldato
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If it's newer that 2012, Internet Recovery (Command + Option + R) is one of the options; you won't have a recovery partition on a new drive to do a typical recovery boot. Otherwise some older Mac's can be enabled for Internet Recovery if it had a firmware update.
Failing that, you're going to need to burn (to USB/CD) a supported copy of OSX/MacOS. On Windows that's a bit more challenging than doing it with another Mac but there are guides like - https://andersonbzk.medium.com/all-possible-ways-to-burn-dmg-to-usb-on-windows-10-3614bc5e1f91.

IIRC, the model number (along with serial) should be etched on the bottom of the case.
But if it's not there, then how old do you think the Mac is? As you could try and use EveryMac to identify it.

Once you know the rough model/age of the MBP, then you can work out what your options are if Internet Recovery doesn't work.

Edit - For reference, this is what Internet Recovery looks like on a 2012 MBP - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yx18Y70s54M
 
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Soldato
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Cheers for the replies. Nothing underneath, but after getting it to boot back up with the Win 10 disk, I did find out it's running a P7550 chip, so that puts it at a 2009 using the link @visibleman put above. OSX 10.8 Mountain Lion is the last fully supported OS that works, going to see if I can use that to make an install USB.
Ta for the help so far.
 
Soldato
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Cheers for the replies. Nothing underneath, but after getting it to boot back up with the Win 10 disk, I did find out it's running a P7550 chip, so that puts it at a 2009 using the link @visibleman put above. OSX 10.8 Mountain Lion is the last fully supported OS that works, going to see if I can use that to make an install USB.
Ta for the help so far.
If it's a 2009 MBP, then you should be able to get OSX El Capitan 10.11.x installed. Apple does host a few old versions, HERE, but their CDN can be a bit temperamental - Yosemite and Mountain Lion seem to currently work, so you could try one of those and then upgrade (potentially via App Store or built-in updater).

Once you've got the DMG, then you can create an ISO/USB using something like TransMac - there's a 15 day trial of it.

Edit - 10.11 link does work from the Apple site, it's just slow.
 
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Commissario
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That's impressive.
My NAS hates me!

LHNfEBgl.png
 
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Use this site to download whatever version you need direct from Apples servers:

Then make a usb bootable installer, and away you go - there's many simple apps you can use in windows to make a bootable installer :)
 
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My NAS hates me!
That reminds me, I need to figure out why it takes Finder so long to browse the SMB shares on my NAS. On Windows it's instant, on my Mac it takes a good 10 seconds to initially show the share and then it's perfectly fine.
 
Soldato
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Well I'm still struggling. Downloaded 10.8, 10.10 & 10.11 from the APple links above, and tried using Transmac and Anyburn to make a boot disc, but whenever I plug it in ant turn on the MCP and hold Option, the MCP doesn't see the USB stick. Never thought it would be this difficult lol! Any more pointer please? Cheers
Edit: If I put in a Windows 10 ISO and power on and hold Option, that ISO then shows to install win10
 
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Soldato
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@haaammit - Mac's are fussy and it's a lot easier to create a USB installer within OSX/MacOS. But, try extracting the the 'BaseSystem.dmg' from the OSX installer using TransMac and restoring that to the USB drive (again with TransMac), rather than restoring the entire OSX installer - obviously make sure you either convert the partition to GPT or use the 'Format Disk for Mac' option within TransMac.
This and this may be helpful.
 
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Soldato
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@haaammit - Mac's are fussy and it's a lot easier to create a USB installer within OSX/MacOS. But, try extracting the the 'BaseSystem.dmg' from the OSX installer using TransMac and restoring that to the USB drive (again with TransMac), rather than restoring the entire OSX installer - obviously make sure you either convert the partition to GPT or use the 'Format Disk for Mac' option within TransMac.
This and this may be helpful.
Cheers again - using the info in the first link, the MCP would then boot from the USB drive. Using 10.7 and 10.8 builds, it gets to the point where it says "Checking with Apple for installation" or similar, then says there was an error and to try again. Rinse and repeat! Getting closer though lol!
 
Soldato
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That reminds me, I need to figure out why it takes Finder so long to browse the SMB shares on my NAS. On Windows it's instant, on my Mac it takes a good 10 seconds to initially show the share and then it's perfectly fine.

Turn off the .DS_Store hidden files for the shares. Something like this:

defaults write com.apple.desktopservices DSDontWriteNetworkStores true

Related article here.
 
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