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Released June 2009 / 2.66, 2.8, or 3.06 GHz Core 2 Duo Processor

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Losing my hair quickly, this MacBook has it in for me!

Hi all,

Well, I got a macbook pro 15” mid 2009 from an auction nearby. I was told that the hdd was removed, and that it worked. Uhhemm, ok. Opened it to fund the hdd cable had been severed. I bought a new cable (2 actually) and have had no luck getting it to boot. I did the following:

Replace cable, twice. Flashing folder resulted

Cleared nvram about 25 times

Cleared smc

Made a boot disk

Connected a hot network cable to it

Usb start up disks

External ssd drives

Regular sata drives

Holding option, and about every key option

Removed hdd copletely, i did get an “install catalina” but when I clicked it went back to flashing folder [no hard drive being recognized to install]

I cannot get it to go into recovery mode, no matter what i push, push and hold, dual pushes? It all just comes back to blinking folder. Even tried a hot network cable, bupkis!

I am begging for any help, guidance, please. Running short on options, and can't take it much longer. Thanks guys!!

Screen comes right up, keys work, batt seems good, dvd drive spins, it chimes..


Update (03/09/2020)

How do i make a boot drive of el capitan from my working catalina machine? Every time I try, disk utility stops me with errors.

Update (03/10/2020)

Block Image

Block Image

Hi again,

I’ve purchased Apple OS X El Capitan so I can get my personal Macbook Pro to somehow boot. My work Macbook Pro is a 2015 running Catalina.

I’d love to know the steps to install El Capitan to a SSD connected to the 2015 Catalina Macbook?

I can mount my SSD, erase it, and so forth. But, it won’t let me recover the El Capitan image to it, so I can use it on the older Macbook Pro. Does the SSD need to be formatted/partitioned a certain way for it to write the old OS to the SSD?

Much thanks, in advance for any help.

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Thanks guys for all the help. I am getting past the blinking folder now with a usb flash drive with OSX El Capitan. I go to install the OS, and it stops. It says “copy of el capitan can’t be verified”. I ordered software from Apple to download, but they have yet to provide me with a redemption key that downloads the El Cap software to my Catalina mac for me to install to flash drive (they took my $20, though). I’m at the highest level of frustration, and so close to getting this macbook pro operating. I can’t seem to get it to rebuild via the wifi, although it does connect, once it’s booted.

I’ve tried option/cmd/R, option R, option alone. Nothing seems to work but a boot drive.

I’m not sure what to do from here, I just really would like to get it working.


I actually found a download link for El Capitan from apple:

But, I still get the same message about the file being corrupt or tampered with. I'm really, really stumped. I sure could use a break. I could use a slight moment of your time to get past this, if there's a way?


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I fixed it on my own.

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First thing - your machine will not boot from anything higher than El Captain natively.

Pre-Installed MacOS:X 10.5.7 (9J3050)Maximum MacOS:X 10.11.x*

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Thanks, help with steps to create a working El Capitan ssd from a mac running catalina? I have the El Capitan dmg file. I would love to install el cap to the ssd. All I need are the correct steps. You guys are quick and awesome! Thanks.


You are not going to be able to install 10.11 from a machine that booted from Catalina, Find you original system DVD that came with your machine and boot from it, you will then be able to install El Captain. If the installer say it is damaged, look at the date on the 10.11 install. Now go to your Date and Time, unlock it, turn off the auto update and turn back the clock to a couple of months after the date on your install.


No dvd's, nothing came with it. I really want to get this running, and learn from it. That way, I could purchase more for my daughter's school.


If you plan on doing several of these it would be well worth it to just get the DVD Apple sold > Snow leopard 10.6.3. You can pick one up on eBay. Then install it on an external USB drive so that it is a bootable drive. Then locate the succeeding Mac OS systems images and have them on this drive.

Cost with shipping will run about $15


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Actually scratch that . If you’ve just replaced the HDD with a new one your computer basically doesn’t have a primary OS to boot from . You will more than likely have to install a fresh OS on to your new HDD then try again . If that fails don’t worry like all state stands … your in good hands ! Lol

Update (03/09/2020)

Yea after rereading im almost 98% certain that the computer is doing that because it cannot find a HDD with a fresh OS to reinstall to your Mac .

Disk utility , partition drive !?

Open Finder from your dock.

Select Applications.

Scroll down and open the Utilities folder.

Double-click to open Disk Utility.

Select your hard drive in the Disk Utility window. It will be the first drive on the list. It might be named "Fusion," or "Macintosh HD."

Click on the Partition tab. You will be prompted to either add an APFS volume or a Partition.

Click Partition.

Click the Add partition button it looks like a plus (+) symbol.

Change the size of the partition you wish to use by dragging the resize controls. The used space is represented in blue.

Name the new partition.

Specify which file system format you want to use. If you're running macOS 10.13 or higher, you'll want APFS. If you are running macOS 10.12 or older, you'll want Mac OS Extended.

Click apply.

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