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I have a macbookpro that wont boot properly. I've tried resetting the PRAM (holding down option - alt - P - R), but it doesn't work, it gets halfway through the boot process and says "You need to restart your computer" in several languages.

Recently I downloaded a USB Key compatible Linux OS. This USB Key works as a boot loader on Windows machines, but on OSX it can only find the Harddrive partitions when I go into the boot loader menu (holding down Option on startup). I am assuming it is because it is formatted as FAT32, and not GUID Table.

I believe my CD drive is also bust, it hasn't worked in a long time.

I don't have another Mac computer, so is there a way I can format the USB key as GUID Partition from a windows 7 machine?

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As an alternative, if you have or can borrow another computer with Firewire (not necessarily a Mac), start your Mac up with the 'T' key held down to enter . Then, connect it to the other computer, where it will show up as an external Firewire disk. You'd need to get hold of some Windows HFS+ drivers to read any of the data, though.

Also, have you tried booting into Safe Mode (hold 'shift' on startup)?

Finally, if you haven't already, give your CD drive a go - try to start up from the software restore disk that came with your Mac by booting with the 'C' key held down. That's the go-to way of recovering an un-bootable Mac. If your CD drive is dead and you can't beg, steal or borrow another Mac you may have to permanently settle for Linux.

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Oh Crap - it won't even power on now. Pronounced dead at 09:15am. – digiguru Jan 13 '11 at 9:25
One last desperate thing you could try would be to reset the SMC: If that doesn't work, I fear not even Linux will fix your problems - it sounds like a major hardware fault. My commiserations. – Scott Jan 13 '11 at 10:21

AFAIK Windows 7 does only create partitions on an USB storage device if it announces itself as USB HDD, on a regular USB stick which announces itself as simple removable USB stick you can not even create a partition - whether GUID nor MBR.

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