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I Can't Install macOS

Hey guys, I am working on a MacBook Pro for someone else, and it needs a new Hard Drive. I swapped out the old one for a Solid State, and I have run into lots of problems. No matter what I do, I can't get macOS on it!

I have created a USB installer using the code at Terminal. I put it into the MacBook Pro. It boots without a problem, I format the Solid State drive choosing the name "Macintosh HD" GUID Partition Map, and Mac OS Extended (Because I am installing High Sierra). Once I choose Install macOS from the recovery menu, I choose the drive to install the system on, it loads, restarts, and that's where I have a problem.

It restarts to a prohibitory sign. It will stay there for a while, then go away, and load to the recovery menu from the USB drive again. Even if I choose Mac OS Install while holding Option at startup, the problem remains.

I have installed macOS on lots of MacBooks and iMacs in the past, I do not know what's happening here.

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This series is limited to Sierra as the highest that can be installed, then you can apply shim software which will allow higher releases if you need to go newer (be careful! Apple often updates which can mess up the shims service).

Do you have access to a second Mac system which you can create a bootable OS installer USB thumb drive?

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I do, that's how I created the installer. Strangely, this article shows that High Sierra is compatible.

I did try to install El Capitan as well, same issue.


Also, I figured out after experimenting with it that I only get the prohibitory sign if something is in the USB drive. If I pull out the installer, the Mac boots fine. Could this be anything related to Firmware or the NVRAM?


@lyonmissions - This series firmware was not upgraded when Apple jumped to APFS which took place between Sierra (HFS+) and High Sierra (APFS).

PRAM (NVRAM in the newer systems) doesn’t get into the drives format, but does get into the blessed drive (the booting drive/partition when more than one is present).

So neither can explain your symptom.

To better understand what’s going on one needs to know what the booting drive is running for an OS as Windows or Linux have very different drive structures and file systems. Or, someone encrypted the drive which prevents you from accessing it from an external bootable drive.


@danj Does this mean that the MacBook will always have this issue?


@lyonmissions - I don’t see it like that. Replacing the drive or just reformatting the current drive should zero things. If this was a school systems system there was a point some messing about in the firmware did take place locking it up. That was a short lived event as it created more problems than it tried to stop.


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