How can I install OS X Mountain Lion onto MacBook Pro from USB using a PC?

Julie C July 22, 2013
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I’m stuck in a bit of trouble. I recently managed to boot a Dell laptop from a USB and install Windows 7 by changing the boot order of the computer etc.

I now have a MacBook Pro, with no operating system installed, so I am stuck at the OS X utilities menu.

I was wondering if I could download OS X Mountian Lion on my PC, mount it onto some kind of fake disk on my hard drive, copy the files onto a USB and then plug the USB into the Mac and boot the Mac using the USB to install OS X, like I did with the PC. I have never before used a Mac and to me it’s like trying to read another language.

Also, I’ve heard of the Iatkos project and Hackintosh. Can you install these operating systems on Macs or are they just ‘lookalikes’ for PC?

All help appreciated


  1. Julie C
    July 24, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    yes i know it is unethical and illegal to download pirate material. however the only reason i didn't have a copy is because i wiped the hardrive to re-install before making a copy .iso, (being a windows user, and having succesfully re-installed windows on pc's without the need for a copy, i didnt think i needed one) I was then stuck needing a mac to download os x, I was going to use my friends but couldn't borrow his for a couple of days. seeing as before i had had an original software on the mac, i felt no guilt in aqiuring a free working copy.

  2. julie caltuni
    July 22, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    ok, so after ALOT of tinkering about I have managed to down load mountain lion onto my mac, using a pc to make the bootable usb stick. Im going to give instructions incase anyone else is in the same situation.

    first on my pc I downloaded dmg. file of os x from pirate bay.

    I then downloaded the free trial of transmac, which allows you to read mac files and mac formatted disks on your pc.

    I then erased and formated two usb sticks using the mac, on disk utility go to the partition tab, select a usb. change format to 'mac os extended journal', change current to 1, and in options tick guid partition table. do this for both usb, they may not show up on your pc, you need to use the transmac programe.

    I then entered the os x file i downloaded on the pc, went to contents, shared support and then copied the InstallESD onto usb #1.

    Then plug BOTH usb sticks back into the mac.

    now select the restore tab. drag the empty usb #2 to the destination. then click image and choose the InstallESD file on usb #1. then click restore.

    this should create your bootable usb drive, however there are a bunch of other files in the original download so heres what i did (and my macs working fine)

    in disk utility select one of your hard drive partitions (or your hard drive if its not partitioned).

    in the partitioned tab, change current to two and drag the line in between all the way down so you have one big drive and one tiny one. click apply.

    you the need to take the now empty usb #1 and copy the whole original os x file onto it from your pcn and plug it into the mac.

    now on the restore tab, drag the smaller harddrive partition to destination. then click image and select the os x file. click restore.

    you can now insert your bootable usb flash drive and restart the system. as it restarts hold the alt key. select the usb and it will take you back to disk utility. proceed to the re-install (second choice down) and choose the smaller hardrive to install on. this will mean that the small drive has all the os x data all in one place, so its easy to keep track of. after this just follow instructions and you should have a perfectly working mac, so long as the os x file you downloaded is decent.

    this took me absolutly ages to work out but it was worth it, and to every one saying that the os x downloaded from torrent is bad, i havnt had a single problem yet.

    • Oron J
      July 23, 2013 at 1:03 pm

      Julie, I wouldn't say a copy downloaded from torrent is bad, but it is illegal!
      What I don't understand is why, if you had a working Mac to begin with, you didn't simply upgrade it from the Mac's App Store!

    • Justin Pot
      July 23, 2013 at 5:32 pm

      Oron: the Mac didn't have an operating system on it. She could have bought a USB key from Apple, but this was easier. Illegal, but easier.

      Julie: Congratulations on finding a solution.

  3. Justin Pot
    July 22, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    You're probably not going to find a way to do this from Windows, but if your Mac has a DVD drive you might be in luck. Check out this discussion:

  4. Oron J
    July 22, 2013 at 11:24 am

    I don't know of any straightforward way to do this on a PC, particularly as it's only available as an upgrade for the Mac App Store. However, if your MacBook Pro is compatible with Mountain Lion (i.e. if it's Mid/Late 2007 model or newer), you could go to an Apple Shop and they should be able to put the system on for you.

    Hackintosh is the real Mac OS, which has been hacked to allow it to run on non-Apple equipment (i.e. on a PC). I don't see why you wouldn't be able to install it on a Mac, but nor do I see why you would want to do so. iATKOS appears to be a similar project, but I'm less familiar with it.

  5. Jan F
    July 22, 2013 at 11:15 am

    To download OS X you would need the Mac App Store which is only available on OS X itself. Personally I wouldn't trust other third-party downloads of OS X.

    I'm not sure what you mean by OS X Utility screen but basically all current Macs come with the Recovery partition and/or firmware based Internet Recovery. All you have to do is press and hold "command + R" after turning the device on.
    There you can select to reinstall OS X and the necessary OS X files will be automatically downloaded from Apple – Ethernet or WiFi connection is necessary.

    If you have access to another Mac you can also create a Recovery USB stick (which basically does the same) using the Recovery Disk Assistant.

    • Sassah122 S
      July 22, 2013 at 9:25 pm

      I'm not 100% sure of this method. The only way to obtain Mountain Lion is through the app store. But even if you get Mountain Lion from the app store (somehow) it won't install onto a blank Mac. So one method is to get Snow Leopard in disk form from the apple website. This disk should install Snow Leopard onto your Mac. Or you can try this method - But you need another Mac for that. Maybe a friend can let you use one. By the way how did you end up with a blank Mac?

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