How can I recover or reinstall my iMac system after a failed Windows install?

Anonymous February 19, 2014

I have an iMac 10.1. I tried to install Windows through Boot Camp. I messed it up and ended up wiping my hard drive installing Ubuntu, reformatting it again and I still can’t boot into Mac OS. I’ve been using System Rescue CD from USB as I don’t have a CD drive. I also can’t use the Mac install disc. I’ve been trying to mount the second hard dive that was working. Have had no luck. Any ideas?

  1. Haley M
    February 20, 2014 at 3:19 am

    My optical drive is broken

  2. Haley M
    February 19, 2014 at 10:18 pm

    There isn't a way I can do it myself at all without taking it to apple

  3. Anonymous
    February 19, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    If you not only formatted the Boot Camp partition for Windows but the entire drive then Mac OS X is gone, regardless if it being done within the Windows installation, during Ubuntu installation or with the SystemRescueCD.

    Given that you have installed Ubuntu over it afterwards I would say that (while possible) attempting data recovery will probably take a lot of time with very little reward.

    Your details don't make sense, at least not to me.
    The iMac10,1 is a model with an Apple SuperDrive so it should have an optical. Also, any Mac that is shipping with physical Installation Discs does have an optical drive.

    That aside there are basically four options.

    Recovery HD:
    Since you wiped or reformatted your drive the Recovery HD is most likely gone. Still, you can take a look if it is still present. Power your Mac on and press the Option (alt) key before the gray screen comes up. After a while you will be presented with all bootable drives connected to the Mac.

    Internet Recovery:
    Technically an iMac10,1 does not offer the Internet Recovery via it's firmware and as far as I know it wasn't refitted with a later firmware update. But since you said your iMac doesn't have an optical drive, maybe it does have the firmware based recovery after all
    Press and hold Command + Option + R during boot until a spinning globe on the gray screen appears.

    Actually pressing just Command + R will attempt both, try to boot from the Recovery HD and if it isn't present or damaged, attempt to perform a firmware based Internet Recovery.

    Recovery Disk Assistant:
    Assuming you have access to another Mac you can create a Recovery Disk Assistant USB drive or external hard drive. You can then boot from this drive (by pressing the Option key as described at Recovery HD).

    All the option above require internet connectivity e.g. via cable or a WPA/WPA2 secured WiFi.
    All the options above only work for Macs that shipped with OS X Lion (or later) OR if you have an Apple ID that was used to purchase OS X Lion (or later)

    Assuming that the Installation Discs you have are compatible with your Mac (they are not hardware locked, they are at least the OS X version that shipped with your iMac) and you have access to another Mac you can clone the Installation Disc to an external hard drive and boot from that to perform the OS X installation.

  4. Oron Joffe
    February 19, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    It depends on what you have overwritten on the hard drive. Try starting the iMac with Option and R held down. This should initiate the repair sequence, which should allow you to rebuild the Mac OS. If you have overwritten the critical part of the drive though, you'll need to take the iMac back to Apple to have the system reinstalled on it.

  5. Anonymous
    February 19, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    Apple provides you with a copy of the OS on two DVDs. use them.

    • Anonymous
      February 19, 2014 at 3:31 pm

      I don't have a cd drive

  6. Anonymous
    February 19, 2014 at 9:37 am

    OS X: About OS X Recovery

    If you have another mac try Mac into target disc mode; allowing it to mount as an external drive on your other working mac.

    OS X: About Recovery Disk Assistant

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