Sunday, February 1, 2009

Leopard boot disk for a unibody Macbook

The hard drive if my brand new "Unibody" 13" MacBook (Late 2008/Aluminum) running Leopard 10.5.6 became corrupted last Saturday night before a presentation the next week and through trying to revive it I quickly realized via the web there are no third party resources available to recover it. I also read on the web that it isn't possible to create a boot disk for Leopard to be able to run something like Disk Warrior. The options to recover your drive are:
1) Use Time Machine before the chaos began, which I hadn't set up (doh!) due to tight funds for a big external drive.
2) Run the grey OS X Install DVD and use Disk Utilities to fix up the drive.
3) Pull the drive out of the Macbook and try to mount it with and external USB->SATA adaptor to another computer. About there was when I really missed target mode..... Sob.

Anyway I recovered the drive after a while but wished I'd had a boot disk with something other than disk utility. I'm posting this as a starting point for more useful tools for drive recovery from the DVD drive on the unibody Macbooks. What I have done is make a boot disk for "Unibody" 13" MacBook (Late 2008/Aluminum) that works.

I was able to make a boot disk for my new Apple Macbook from the grey OS X install DVD that came with the Macbook using Coriolis CDMaker version 1.2.2 (17) - the version packaged with iPartition 3. I noticed that if you try to create a boot disk straight from the grey OS X install DVD in your DVD drive you'll get an error message. "Coriolis CDMaker failed to create a template from the intsallation media. Try again or use an alernative source..."

Here's a workaround I stumbled upon.
1. Using Disk Utility in the Utilities folder create a new image of the Mac OS X Install DVD. Change the Image format option from "compressed" to "read/write". Create the disk image.
2. Mount the OS X install DVD disk image.
3. Trash the folder "Optional Installs" - whatever is in this folder prevents CDMaker from creating a boot disk template.
3. Open CDMaker and it will detect the mounted OS X install DVD disk image and create boot disk template from the startup data in the disk image.
4. Follow the instructions and burn your boot disk to DVD.
5. Boot computer from DVD to test. It workerd!

Now making a disk that full of useful recovery software, that's probably another story.


Rado said...

First of all, thank you for the step by step tutorial!
I've been looking for this for quite some time now. It's a crying shame Coriolis (or Apple) hasn't released a boot image for the Unibody MBs and MBPs, I mean they've been out for some 4 months now, it's about time!

I followed the steps closely, got the CDMaker started copying the files (for the first time), got my hopes up that it finally works, but it crashes out at the very very end with the same non-descriptive error message.

I've tried creating multiple images of the installation disk (both read/write and master) but it fails the same. I've also tried removing other things from the cd (to a point where I've removed all 4 of the visible items!) but to no avail :-/

can you please help?

T1mb0 said...

Oh no. That's really annoying and I'm sorry to have wasted your time. I tried it again and it worked as I described. Maybe you have different "Mac OS X Install DVD" to me? Mine says "Mac OS version 10.5.5 Disc version 1.0 2Z691-6291-A". My unibody was bought about a week after it was released and maybe they changed something.

The image I made of the install disk was definitely read/write with no encyption. I think the key to this was being able to delete folders from in the image. I have since worked out it's the "Xcode tools" folder within the "optional installs" folder that needs to be deleted. I didn't even have to empty the trash. Just as long as the "Xcode tools" folder wasn't present in the "optional installs".

Another thing I tried (that worked) was using Carbon Copy Cloner Version 3.1.3 (3.1.3) to create a read/write sparse image of the "Mac OS X Install DVD". I did the "Incremental Backup of selected" option and left out the "Optional install" folder. As above, it is probably the "Xcode tools" folder only that needs to me left out. 30 minutes or so later I had a disk image and CDMaker was able to make a boot disk template. Retrospectively, I like this way of creating the disk image to work from way better.

I found more information on making a boot disk for my MacBook here.

Hope this helps you out.

bushwakko said...

Worked or me! Thanks a million!

bushwakko said...

I spoke too soon. It started copying but in the en quit with an error: I'll paste it here:

2009-03-12 09:07:35.544 Coriolis CDMaker[1347:720b] ignoring .HFS+ Private Directory Data?
2009-03-12 09:07:40.400 Coriolis CDMaker[1347:720b] ignoring ._Icon?
2009-03-12 09:07:40.401 Coriolis CDMaker[1347:720b] ignoring Icon?
2009-03-12 09:07:45.004 Coriolis CDMaker[1347:720b] ignoring ._Icon?
2009-03-12 09:07:45.004 Coriolis CDMaker[1347:720b] ignoring Icon?
2009-03-12 09:07:47.632 Coriolis CDMaker[1347:720b] total size: 2714767935
2009-03-12 09:07:47.636 Coriolis CDMaker[1347:720b] error: too big
2009-03-12 09:10:49.259 Coriolis CDMaker[1347:7237] ignoring .HFS+ Private Directory Data?
2009-03-12 09:10:49.869 Coriolis CDMaker[1347:7237] ignoring ._Icon?
2009-03-12 09:10:49.869 Coriolis CDMaker[1347:7237] ignoring Icon?
2009-03-12 09:10:50.102 Coriolis CDMaker[1347:7237] total size: 1487053711
2009-03-12 09:10:54.357 Coriolis CDMaker[1347:7237] /dev/disk1 GUID_partition_scheme
2009-03-12 09:10:54.358 Coriolis CDMaker[1347:7237] /dev/disk1s1 Apple_HFS /tmp/CDMaker.PRkFdRTC/Coriolis Systems Utilities
2009-03-12 09:12:43.707 Coriolis CDMaker[1347:7237] error: problem copying /Volumes/Mac OS X Install DVD 1/System/Library/Extensions/IOSerialFamily.kext/Contents/PlugIns/InternalUSBModem.kext/Contents/version.plist
2009-03-12 09:12:45.068 Coriolis CDMaker[1347:7237] "disk1" unmounted.
2009-03-12 09:12:45.167 Coriolis CDMaker[1347:7237] "disk1" ejected.

The first error is from a CD and is (too big), the second error is from the image (that it cannot copy the usbmodem thing, which I can copy manually with no problem).

I then had a glorious idea, I booted from the DVD and via terminal started iDefrag from an USB stick, however when I selected the license it quit because it couldn't write it to /Library/Application Support !!! why couldn't it just go on and let me defrag.......

bushwakko said...

Update: I managed to fix my partition by skipping cdmaker altogether. I booted the OSX Install CD and resized the partition there. Then I booted OSX and resized it back to full size. The managed to move the files that Boot Camp assistant couldn't. So when BCA tried now it worked.

Rado said...

I've tried carbon copy cloner as described and still no dice, error in the very last second (when making that copy, CCC said it wouldn't be bootable, I don't know whether thats a problem to start with).

I've also tried the method from the insanelymac forum link, and that didn't work either (this time it wouldn't even pretend it tried. errored out within seconds, before even going into the slow progress bar)

I just found the disc number (right there ON the disc XD) and its 2Z691-6277-A. Maybe that could be the problem... Can you think of anything else? I could post a console log if that helps?

tom said...

Very helpful, thanks a lot :D

Sh4 said...

Thanks for the infos, unfortunately I'm away with a corrupted partition table and I don't have my leopard disks with me, any solution ?

Brewster said...

I am exactly in Rado's boat...

Digitalicious said...

I think I get it
I had the same problem that Rado
And that's what I did:

1. I downloaded a boot cd with ipartition and idefrag lite from:

There are three files:

2. I used machacha to get the .dmg image

3. With disk utility i converted the image to read/write

4. I mounted the new image and in the folder Applications I copied a full copy of iDefrag

5. I burned the image in a DVD (i didn't have any cd :D)

6. I reboot and boot from the new CD by pressing letter C

7. Done :D

Byeee and sorry for my bad english :D

Admin said...
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Admin said...
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Admin said...

Thanks to the links you gave, but when i choose coriolis boot (hold option at startup) it restart over and over again.. is there another image template that can be download for leopard 10.5.8?

Brewster said...

I have the same problem with my computer rebooting over and over while trying to boot from the CD. i am also on leopard 10.5.8

Joe said...

I'm trying to follow your step by step but Snow Leopard won't let me remove the files from within the DMG after I have mounted it, any suggestions?

Chien said...

works like charm
thanks man

Chien said...

the progress was interrupted at "less than a minute".
any help will be appriciated

Retro Junkyard said...

Thanks! That work around was perfect for what I needed!

Retro Junkyard said...

well i lied....still got the error after the copying files part. Using a 10.6 install dvd image from a usb hdd.