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Basically here is what happens when I try to install Lion from USB on a HDD with a corrupted Snow Leopard installation:

  1. Press power button on Mac
  2. Hold option
  3. Select EFI Boot (USB drive direct from Apple that has Lion on it)
  4. I get a symbol like what you would see on a "No Smoking" sign and then the screen goes black after a few seconds

Has anybody had this problem before?

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This looks relevant. They suggest you zap the parameter RAM twice (Cmd-Opt-P-R until you hear a second chime). What kind of Mac do you have (the exact model)? – Daniel Beck Feb 9 '12 at 20:31
@DanielBeck should move your comment into an answer, in case the OP wants to accept it. – xorbyte Feb 10 '12 at 0:59
This is a first generation MacBook Pro with the battery that can be easily removed. I will try what you recommended and see if that does the trick, thanks! – Windows Ninja Feb 10 '12 at 11:35
That was an interesting article and I appreciate the link, however, it did not resolve my problem unfortunately. Thanks anyways. – Windows Ninja Feb 10 '12 at 11:46
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I ended up swapping a HDD from a similar MBP into this system and then upgrading it from Leopard to Snow Leopard 10.6.3 to 10.6.8 and then again trying to install Lion to see if that was the issue. It was at this point when I tried to upgrade to Lion from inside OS X vs. at boot up that I saw the problem.

This particular laptop is a first generation MBP with only a Core Duo processor. Lion requires a Core 2 Duo, i3, i5, i7, or Xeon processor.

So there you have it folks...a lot of wasted time simply because I wasn't aware of the hardware requirements.

Thanks to Daniel for his attempted help!

share|improve this answer
Totally forgot about those. You're right. I'd have expected them to print a proper error message instead of just breaking... – Daniel Beck Feb 10 '12 at 21:07

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