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My prev gen (non-unibody) MacBook Pro could use an SSD. I want to replace the existing HDD with an SSD. That's the easy part.

The hard part is that the CD/DVD drive on this MacBook is broken. So I can't think of a way to install the OS etc after having replaced the drive.

Is there a way?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

You could try to use Remote Install Mac OS X from another computer (in /Applications/Utilities on a Mac, on your install DVD on Windows). It essentially allows the CD drive of another Mac to be shared by another machine. It's intended for MacBook Airs and Server Mac Minis that don't have CD drives, but I haven't heard of it not working on other models - I presume it does some sort of NetBoot magic.

Alternatively, if you have (or can borrow) another Mac you could start your MacBook up in Target Disk Mode (hold the 't' key down during start up) and connect it to the other Mac with Firewire. Then put the system DVD into the other Mac, and install to the "Firewire disk" that is your MacBook.

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Target disk mode worked great :) – August Lilleaas Aug 29 '10 at 11:37

You could put the old drive in an external enclosure and then use Carbon Copy Cloner to create a bootable clone of the hard drive on the SSD. You'd have to boot from the external drive (hold down the Option key during boot to select the boot drive if it doesn't find it automatically) and run CCC on that machine to make the copy on your SSD.

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Nobody I knew had an external enclosure but lots of people have macs, so I ended up using target disk mode. :) – August Lilleaas Aug 29 '10 at 11:39

Not exactly an answer, but Apple’s MacBook Air USB Superdrive won’t work.

You’d imagine a regular USB DVD drive would though. Something like this should work? I guess?

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I guess it's kind of hard to find a USB drive that works without OS X running.. I.e. at Mac "BIOS" level. – August Lilleaas Aug 29 '10 at 11:38
@August: Ah, of course. – Paul D. Waite Sep 1 '10 at 13:29

You can create a bootable USB flash disk that contains the Mac OS X Install DVD using nothing more than Disk Utility and an image of the DVD.

You need to ensure the USB flash disk is a single partition with a GUID layout (partitions tab will do all of this).

Once partitioned correctly drag the Mac OS X Install DVD image to the source field on the restore tab and the USB flash disk partition to the target field. Click restore and after a while you'll have a bootable Mac OS X Install flash disk.

I do this regularly with my Mac OS X developer image (DMG file) and it works every time. So much faster, more portable and great to also keep a copy of the latest combo updater.

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That's interesting. I do this all the time when I install Linux, so I don't have to waste time and plastic on burning CDs. I only have Snow Leopard on a DVD, where do I get a DVD image? (That's what you mean, right, a img or dmg or something?) – August Lilleaas Aug 29 '10 at 11:40
You can make your own restorable Mac OS X DVD image from Disk Utility. Insert the DVD, launch Disk Utility, select "New image from Mac OS X Install DVD" from the File menu, select Read Only image then save the image. Once created you MUST then use the "Scan image for Restore" function in Disk Utility to allow you to use that image for restoration purposes (USB flash disk or another hard disk partition if so required). As I say I do this all the time with no issues. – Asinine Monkey Sep 6 '10 at 23:27

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