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I understand that my white Macbook4,1 is able to install Mac OSX 10.7 Lion, but whether I try option-boot to install via DVD, USB drive or by double clicking on the installer while in Snow Leopard, it doesn't work.

The DVD and the USB drive are both readable when in Snow Leopard -- their were burned straight from the Lion DMG file. The Macbook simply doesn't recognize them as bootable when I option-boot.

If I try to install by double-clicking on the installer, it installs for a while and then fails.

I've also made sure that the Macbook has the latest firmware available. I have 4GB in the machine.

Wikipedia says Lion supports this model of Mac. Apple's web pages says it supports this model of Mac.

Is there another way I can try to install this OS?

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How much RAM does it have? Lion requires at least 2GB. –  Gordon Davisson Feb 10 '13 at 3:17
    
4GB. More than enough. But it is not because of memory. The machine will not recognize the DVD or USB drive as bootable. –  user197067 Feb 10 '13 at 5:10
    
Ok, one more try: what partition scheme is the USB drive formatted with? (There are so many that can go wrong with a DVD that I'm not going to worry about that...) –  Gordon Davisson Feb 10 '13 at 5:37
    
GUID, 1 partition, and restore onto that partition. Exactly the same as described in lifehacker.com/5823096/…. –  user197067 Feb 10 '13 at 7:55

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