MacBook Pro Corpse Reanimations

My Macintosh-hording neurosis project has equipped me with various (mostly) 2008-vintage MacBooks. I’m a particular sucker for the 17″ ones. Two of them I paid $20 for, the other two were $34 and $50. Each one of them was sold for scrap as they were tested & reported as totally non-functional.

I tend to take warnings for dares.

Most actually worked fine with nearly zero effort. One needed its RAM reseated. But two of them were really dead, that is to say, I could not get them to POST. As a person who builds the odd thing, when I look at a “broken” device, I think to myself: If I were gonna make one of those from scratch, this one’s like 99% done as-is.

Suffice to say, I got them all working and it was decently hardcore.
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Dear Diary: Windows 10 on early Intel Macs

A local eRecycler is enabling me to develop kind of a thrilling computer-hording neurosis. I’ve managed to score 4 17″ MacBook Pros and 2 15″ units ranging from 2006-2008 vintages and it’s cost me very little. Some of these have serious problems, no matter, I’m having fun.

The 2008 Macs top-out at macOS 10.11, which is good for now. There’s some room to bump them over the edge in to Sierra, though I’m kind of pissed at Apple’s business model at the moment. I feel they’ve kind of abandoned the desktop entirely and the old machines are getting shafted the hardest. Granted they ARE old, Moore’s Law’s been on vacation for a while now. I guess we live in a sad world and anyone who buys a new Mac Pro will arrive in this well-populated sad space in about a year. 4,5,6 Apple. Seriously wtf? I know.. I know, it’s just business and the best margins are mobile. But I seriously digress.

These old machines that max out at 4-6GB of RAM. Microsoft sells new machines running Windows 10 on 2GB of RAM. I’m sure they lick the well-toned ass of satan (not a good thing, in my books). These wimpy new machines still have to at least pretend to work, which has a modicum of merit. So, disgustingly, Windows could become the best option for folks with ancient macs that won’t die. (Yes, there IS Linux. I’ve used Linux daily for ~17years, I love it. It’s complete shit on the desktop, if you wanna argue that, then you know, that’s cool, you’re welcome to be wrong. IT IS the Trump-era now, so anything goes)

I discovered that if you’re willing to commit a Windows License to a specific machine, then you can get a non-transferable license, called an OEM license for a vastly lower price. I actually talked with Microsoft’s online sales about this and they said they only sell the Retail version ($150) to end customers. The retail version has the notable merit of being a transferable license. I showed the Microsoft rep a kind of a greasy-looking OEM license vendor I found online. Microsoft’s rep didn’t call the OEM vendor a scam and said it is an actual option. So I think it’s fully legitimate, which actually matters to me. Ultimately, I found an OEM key from an ebay vendor that I think is legitimate for $7.50. I would think THAT would have to be scam, but there were hundreds of positive ebay reviews, guess we’ll see. $7.50 is a price I’ll actually pay, so here we go with Windows. My core hope is that Starcraft II run better enough under Windows to enable me to equip some friends who want to play with me, but lack systems that can swing it.

It’s been about 7 years since I goofed with native Windows on an Intel Mac, so I had to relearn a couple things and keep fighting. After many hours and lots of music, it seems I’ve got a nice dual boot setup going.

Here are my steps, if nothing else, I’m documenting them here so I can figure my way back through this shitshow again at a later date…

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Dear Diary: Installing OSX 10.9 on Late 2007 MacBook

Here’s my notes on how I approached installingĀ OSX 10.9 on my Late 2007 MacBook (MacBook3,1).

Note I did most of this on a current Mac running 10.9.

Also, this kind of worked. I got the install to run but it wouldn’t boot after install. I’m probably quite close to it working. I’ll update this post with notes if I work on this further.

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Snow Leopard Upgrade on a Triple Booting Macbook

SnowLeopardHowdy World, so last friday was release day for Snow Leopard, woot! I went out and grabbed a copy and rushed home to upgrade my macbook… Here’s the tale of a bit of resistance I met and how I resolved it.

Yellow Triangle of Rejection

So the problem I quickly encountered was that my “Macintosh HD” partition had an ugly little yellow symbol over it rejecting me from updating my OS X install. I forget (unfortunately), the particular error message. Nevertheless the short version was that regardless of how I launched the installer or a number of other things I tried, it wouldn’t let me run the upgrade.

Quest Accepted

Well, I wasn’t about to settle for reformatting – though that is a decent option. I decided to ‘be a man’ and directly address my challenger.

I tried calling Apple support, but they were closed, as was it was late at night. I googled around and found someone’s suggestion that for those who had changed their partitioning scheme around could just get Disk Utility to resize their target partition. The idea here was that when using a tool like gparted (which I adore) to change around your partition scheme, it’s easy to emerge with a working structure that’ll cause the OS X installer to consider an otherwise perfectly healthly partitioning scheme unusable for installation.

“Fixing” my OS X partition

So the best help I found online was suggesting to resize partitions with the Disk Utility (which as of Snow Leopard has an option for doing that). But for me, that didn’t work, I got some lame error messages that I can’t recall.

The way I did the resize was with the command-line version of Disk Utility – ‘diskutil’.


In my caption there, you can see me make a call to diskutil list to show my partitions. As you can see, I’ve got 6 partitions on my drive. You can see on the second line a call to resize my OS X partition. All I did to get the Snow Leopard installer to play nice was decrease the size of that partition slightly. I’m sure after the install I could just as easily increase the size too.

After this it was smooth sailing. The upgrade went as expected, my data was all there and happy and so on.

Upgrading my Mac Pro

Several days later, I decided to upgrade my Mac Pro as well. What concerned me about this is that on that machine I setup Leopard to live across a 3 hard drive RAID. I wasn’t sure if the upgrade would have been able to accomodate that configuration.

Well, I did the upgrade and it went well, only thing to report there was that when I tried to run the installer from inside Leopard, it didn’t list my RAID volume. It only showed it when I rebooted off of the Snow Leopard DVD. Other than that, it was very simple.


So far I’m really liking Snow Leopard. As Apple has said, it’s not a redesign. So the learning curve isn’t really present, especially if you’re a Leopard user. This is in my mind a massive set of regular improvements bundled with some minor changes to the UI workflow and the introduction of some new libraries that I suspect won’t really matter for awhile yet. I love the $30 price tag and we’ll see if the 8 cores in my Mac Pro show better overall use, though I think that’ll probably require some additional application side support.

If you’re thinking of upgrading, go for it. It’s inexpensive and gives you access to some sweet new features. If you want a glossy list of the details, go look at Apple’s page on Snow Leopard here.