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by classyirish / September 17, 2009 1:47 AM PDT

I got a macbook from the goodwill. It boots up to a gray screen with a question mark. Does this mean the macbook does not work? Any help is appreciated.

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It means that the macbook works but,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / September 17, 2009 2:31 AM PDT
In reply to: macbook

it cannot find a drive with a valid system folder on it.

Couple, or so, reasons for that.
1. The previous owner formatted the drive but did not install OS X on it.
2. There is a system on there but it is corrupt and cannot be used
3. The hard drive is defective.

Given the source of this machine, I doubt that you have any of the original installation disks to do any trouble shooting with. You will need OS X installation disks to proceed with this project.
HD's are relatively cheap and are easy to install on this machine.
Of course, this assumes that this machine is actually a MacBook and that you are not using that name as a generic term for an Apple Laptop.


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it is a macbook
by classyirish / September 17, 2009 3:03 AM PDT

I have one that I bought new a few weeks ago, and then I found this one at the goodwill. I did the option+command+r+p and it does give the sound of booting. I then inserted the cd I had gotten of leopard with my recent machine purchase and held down the C key so it would boot. It went about it's business and came up with the apple logo, then the default background, but then a dialog box came up stating it could not install the software, Ok, or shutdown. Tried several times. Do you think it could need Tiger? I know the battery is totally dead, when I plug it up it show's green as if it is fully charged, but if you unplug, off in an instant. Do you then think that the possiblity of a bad harddrive might be the case? Would it be a 'wise' move to put the harddrive from my new macbook into the one from the goodwill and see if it will boot? I don't want to buy pieces if it is in fact bad. I paid 25 for it, so, if I can't get it to work, at least the money went to a good cause.
Nothing but the macbook was offered. no plug, software, etc. I only bought it cuz I have one like it that is just a few weeks old, and thought IF I could get it to work, I could use it in the basement on my wireless.

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Not a bad deal,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / September 17, 2009 9:40 AM PDT
In reply to: it is a macbook

The CD you got with your new Macbook is designed to work with your series of Macbook which is probably why it said that it could not install the software.
It should run Leopard easily but if you have a copy of Tiger handy, you could always try that.

The fact that the machine booted correctly and got as far as to actually make a decision would indicate that there is not much wrong with that machine that could not be fixed fairly cheaply.

I think it would be worth $50 to find out. That would be the cost of an 80GB drive for that machine.
Check out this site . Good value Mac suitable parts at that store, with a no quibble guarantee.
For $75 + shipping, there is a distinct possibility that you would have yourself a decent machine for the basement.
Of course, you would still need the OS for it.

Lastly, NO, I do not think it is a good idea to put your new drive into that machine. Too risky.


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sounds like
by classyirish / September 17, 2009 10:20 AM PDT
In reply to: Not a bad deal,

I need to purchase tiger or leopard and try again, perhaps before investing in a new hard drive or a new battery. Shall do that, and then, will let you know one way or the other if it worked or not.


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OK, but,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / September 17, 2009 9:51 PM PDT
In reply to: sounds like

be prepared to find that you cannot install that either, if the HD is defective.

There has to be a reason why this ended up in Goodwill.

Good Luck


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