Question Girlfriend updated Macbook Pro 2009~ to El Capitan. Can't figure out how to revert.

jared030858

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Mar 20, 2012
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She updated to the latest iOS (El Capitan), but found out after the fact the computer isnt able to run it properly and found she wasnt able to reinstall the old OS. I am very experienced with windows and all of its glory, but Apple has eluded me professionally. I have no idea how to fix something like this. I cant find any info online or a way to get an old iOS downloaded. So what she has done is wiped the HDD and now theres a 'safe mode' (is this just hard built into mac HDDs?) and that she was able to get to the internet. However she says it wont download any files, but it will load webpages. Need back up.
 
Which Mac OS was previously installed?
It could have been very easy to revert back if the disk wasn't wiped.
Does she have a Time Machine backup? She could revert back from it.

If she doesn't then follow these steps.
Make sure your Macbook is connected to the internet via Ethernet.
Hold down Command+R while you power on the Macbook.
Click on Disk Utility in the OS X Utilities.
Click Continue.
Select your Startup Disk.
Click on the Erase icon.
Type in Macintosh HD for the name (or a name of your liking.)
Select Mac OS Extended (Journaled) from the Format list, and Click Erase.

Click on Reinstall OS X in the OS X Utilities.
Click Continue on the OS X Installer.
Agree to the licensing terms and your Macbook will revert into previous OS
 
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jared030858

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Mar 20, 2012
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She had Maverick installed before.

So shes done all of that but thats the part shes stuck at. After she does all of that it tries to install El Capitan only to be told there is an error and then it will restart.

Ive found a little bit more info since posting. Seems bootable installers work the same on the apple products. I found a .pkg file that seems to contain the old OS on an External HDD of hers, but everything I'm seeing says I need a .app file to make a bootable media.

Small update: We found an old Yosemite OS download from main apple website. Downloading now, after, will use Terminal to create bootable USB.
 
Last edited:
Aug 18, 2019
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a 2009 MacBook Pro supports up to High Sierra. I urge you to install that since both El Capitan and Mavericks do not have support anymore and don't get security updates.
 

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