Upgrading 17 inch MacBook Pro 2008

Created at: 2021-05-26 21:59:52
Questioner General

Hi everyone,



I have a MacBook Pro 17" from 2008, the one with an external battery. I recently tried installing a new OS (El Capitan) with no luck. The hard drive wouldn't take and the reason is its basically finished.



I want to install an SSD but have no real way of making a boot drive for it. I can get an SSD for fairly cheap and this will bide me time til I get a new computer in the future.



My questions are basically will this work? How high of an OS upgrade can I go to? Can I upgrade my ram more then the 4GB that I have?



All help is appreciated in keeping my vintage MacBook Pro alive and well



Graphics01

Answer #1:

By: Merl Reinger

Hi everyone,



I have a MacBook Pro 17" from 2008, the one with an external battery. I recently tried installing a new OS (El Capitan) with no luck. The hard drive wouldn't take and the reason is its basically finished.



I want to install an SSD but have no real way of making a boot drive for it. I can get an SSD for fairly cheap and this will bide me time til I get a new computer in the future.



My questions are basically will this work? How high of an OS upgrade can I go to? Can I upgrade my ram more then the 4GB that I have?



All help is appreciated in keeping my vintage MacBook Pro alive and well



Graphics01

Answer #2:

By: Jailyn Padberg

The latest version of OS X that your MacBook Pro can run is 10.11.6 (El Capitan).



What is it running now? What exactly do you mean by the hard drive being "basically finished?" Are you saying that it has failed or failing and the reason you could not upgrade it?



As far as a replacement SSD, one reliable source is Other World Computing. They would also be a good source for a RAM upgrade. The maximum will be 6 GB.



You can make a bootable installer using the following support article:

Answer #3:

By: Johnnie Stoltenberg

Awesome. I'll look into it.



I was running 10.6.8 Snow leopard until now. I've been having issues with the drive until now, it was being a little louder than normal and after prolonged use ( sometimes a few hours or longer) it would make a much louder kind of like a sputtering noise. I turned my computer on this morning and it tried again to install the new OS and after maybe 20 minutes, the drive made that loud sputtering noise again, so I just shut if off. My personal conclusion is that it's not workable anymore.



When trying to install the new OS, a failed screen came up twice saying it could not be installed or had failed.

Answer #4:

By: Mr. Keanu Streich

Yes that hard drive likely is on its way out.



I would use an external Firewire drive.





Answer #5:

By: Toney Hoeger

Yep, it does sound (no pun intended) like a failing HDD. On excellent diagnostic tool is DriveDx. They have a free trial, but it's inexpensive and definitely worth having in your troubleshooting "toolbox." My guess is that it will confirm what we both suspect.



Ref: DriveDx - Binary Fruit

Answer #6:

By: Prof. Darian Schimmel

I'll try to get it and run a diagnostic on my old drive.



In regards to the boot drive, I've seen that link before, do I need to create it on a Mac. The other computer I have that could download the OS again would be a PC.

Answer #7:

By: Miss Clarissa Rice III

Yes., that article only applies to having a Mac. Off-hand, I'm not sure how this can be accomplished with a Windows PC. I can do a bit of research, but I'm pretty sure there isn't an equivalent set of steps using a PC. I would suggest seeing if a friend or relative can help you out. Alternatively, you can pay a visit to your local Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider for assistance with this.



Normally, I would suggest using Recovery Mode, but pre-2010 MacBook Pros do not come with a Recovery Partition, but probably doesn't even matter if the current HDD is trashed. In these cases, you would need to use the installation CD that came with the notebook (... but, who still has these?) In addition, it wasn't until the 2011 Mac model did they come with the Internet Recovery option ... so no luck there either.





Answer #8:

By: Dr. Hollie Rice Sr.

I'd have to look but I'm pretty sure I have the install disc I got when I bought the computer. I think it's the Leopard OSX.



You figure if I did the install with that, I could download and try again with El Capitan?

Answer #9:

By: Dr. Joany Flatley III

Yes, that's what I'm thinking, but unfortunately, I don't have a 2008 MBP to test my theory out on.



You will still need to consider replacing that HDD as it would make no sense to go through all the trouble just to have it fail on you. Then again, it may prove to be a good test run if you got the time & patience to spare.



The other thing is that El Capitan is quite out-of-date. You may find that you may not be able to do much with it regardless of the effort spent.



If you do locate that OS X Snow Leopard disc, the typical upgrade path is to install it, and then, upgrade directly to El Capitan. If you can't find the disc, Apple (I believe) is still selling them.



Anyways, you may find the following article helpful:

Answer #10:

By: Georgianna Sipes

I've ordered a new SSD after looking at the link you sent, so when that comes in I'll just install the new drive, then the disc to have a bouncing off point, then El Capitan attempt 3 lol



I know it's out of date but it should be ok for what I need it for if it manages to be a successful endeavor lol



I really appreciate all the help. Been very informative and life saving.

Answer #11:

By: Katelin Pacocha

Hi all,



Just a little update. Got my SSD and installed it very quick, I even found a random screw inside that Apple forgot to tighten and was floating around. It ended up being for the keyboard and there were 2 others very loose.



I loaded in the Leopard 10.5 disc I had on hand and it went in just fine. I then proceeded to download the El Capitan 10.11 OS and once the download was complete, I got an "Error-4960" message.



Any thoughts on a remedy? When I downloaded the file previously, it downloaded fine so I'm confused lol



Graphics

Answer #12:

By: Dr. Dejuan Lueilwitz

Graphics01 wrote:


...I then proceeded to download the El Capitan 10.11 OS and once the download was complete, I got an "Error-4960" message...

OS X error code -4960 relates to a coreFoundationUnknownErr. Basically that means an unknown error occurred in the Core Foundation functions in OS X. I've seen these when attempting to run a corrupted .DMG file. Typically, when they get damaged during an interrupted download process. Have you tried re-downloading it?

Answer #13:

By: Alexys Von

Yup, I re-downloaded and it gave me a different error after that.



I decided to try and download a free version of Mountain Lion, did that on my PC and burnt a DVD. It said it couldn't do anything because it was "too new", so now I've just decided to find a copy of Snow Leopard, which I have, and am downloading that and making a DVD to install that.



I'm trying this the baby steps way lol. Since the El Capitan loader worked on my old HD, minus the whole dead hard drive issue, I'm going to try and download the file again and see what happens (El Capitan). During all this, my right fan is starting to kick the bucket, so if all this works, I'll replace that too lol

Answer #14:

By: Karli Pfannerstill

El Capitan will not download directly onto Leopard installed system. You need to upgrade to Snow Leopard first with the retail Snow Leopard installer disc,

run the 10.6.8 combo update, then the El Captain installer will work.



See:

https://discussions.apple.com/docs/DOC-2455





Answer #15:

By: Prof. Marianne Hickle IV

Just an update.



Found a download of Snow Leopard and maxed it out to 10.6.8. I made that a boot drive just in case, which was a good thing.



I tried to install El Capitan, but once again, it didn't take. Tried it 3 times. So my solution was to download and try to install Yosemite 10.10. That took and that's where I will leave it for now.



I'm in the process of installing all the programs and things I had before to make sure it all works, and so far it's going well.



Thank you everyone for your help. I really appreciate it.



Graphics