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I have a new-to-me early-2009 iMac. It came to me without any updates since early 2016 and I decided to update it from OSX Yosemite to El Capitan (the last version supported on this hardware.)

I downloaded the "app" from the Store on the iMac and restarted to begin the installation process. During the install I receive the following message:

OS X could not be installed on your computer

No packages were eligible for install. Contact the software manufacturer for assistance. Quit the installer to restart your computer and try again.

I hit restart and I end up in a boot-loop. When I try to use the Alt (Option) key to select a recovery boot it just restarts back into the installer without giving me an option to select a boot source.

When I search for information about this error, I found suggestions to use the Terminal date command to set the correct timestamp. This does not appear to be the issue though as when I run the date command it returns the correct date and time (although the wrong timezone - PDT instead of the correct MDT).

Further research suggests I may have to use a bootable USB with the OS X installer on it. I do not, however, have any other Macs in my home. I have tried using TransMac but the drive doesn't seem to be recognized as a bootable device by the iMac.

Are there any other steps that I can try to make this work and escape this boot loop?

Thanks!

  • Google is your friend. "Create Bootable El Capitan USB Drive in Windows">>>>>>>jafty.com/blog/… – Moab Oct 25 at 2:26
  • @Moab I followed those instructions (I linked to the SuperUser post that I followed). When I hold down the Alt Key (I only have a Windows keyboard) and click restart it does not appear in the boot selector. – Asclepiadae Oct 25 at 2:32
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    You don't use date to set the correct date, you use it to set the date back to when the certificate was valid. sometime mid-2016 should be safe. Try that & tell us what happens. Alternatively, try Internet Recovery, Cmd/opt/R at the boot chimes. [Ah, I note that article was written in 2016, when its info was actually correct.] – Tetsujin Oct 25 at 7:29
  • @Tetsujin that's the answer dude, post it in answeres not comments – Death Waltz Oct 28 at 5:18
  • I wasn't aware of this new message, so it was a guess. I've got a far more comprehensive Q&A over on Ask Different, for reference, to which I've now added this error message: apple.stackexchange.com/questions/309399/… – Tetsujin Oct 28 at 10:52
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News
October 2019

Apple have now released new certificate versions of the last 6 major OS versions, Catalina right back to Yosemite.
This means you no longer need to change the date to install.

Apple KB - If an installer says it can't be verified or was signed with a certificate that has expired
This contains links to further KBs for each of the 6 most recent OSes from Catalina back to Yosemite.
The three newer ones link to the App Store, but Sierra, El Capitan & Yosemite link to direct downloads.

  • Two notes: 1) Those direct downloads are for upgrades only. They will not install onto a blank disk with no version of macOS on it. 2) I just redownloaded the El Capitan installer (the real one, from the App Store) today and it still gave me the "No packages were eligible to install" error. I verified that the installer had a valid certificate. Changing the date to September 2019 fixed the problem. – Calion Nov 7 at 2:40

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