Forum Question: How Do I Install OS X Lion On a New Hard Drive?

I have a mid ’09 MacBook Pro and it came with OS X Leopard, Apple upgraded it to Snow Leopard on a service visit I had where they ended up replacing my HD. When Lion came out I just upgraded through the Mac App Store and now I need more capacity on my HD so I want to purchase a 500GB but in order to install Lion you have to have Snow Leopard (which I don’t have the CD’s).
Apple care is already expired…. and Apple won’t sell me the flash drive with Lion on it because they say they only sell it to people that do not have it or do not have internet access How do u think I can get this done
thank u in advance
Luis P

Comments: 5 Responses to “How Do I Install OS X Lion On a New Hard Drive?”

    11/6/11 @ 10:25 pm

    An easy way IS to get that Flash Drive. Who told you that they wouldn’t sell it to you? You certainly can buy it. They even have it online (
    But you can also create your own “recovery disc” to use for situations like this. See
    Of course normally you could just use the Snow Leopard DVDs, install Snow Leopard, and then upgrade from there. That’s the path that most people would take. But it sounds like you got Snow Leopard for free, but without the discs. That’s odd. But another route would be for you to simply get the Snow Leopard disc (you can buy it online) and do it that way.

    11/7/11 @ 3:50 am

    I did it this way:
    1. Open the Mac App Store
    2. Click on the Purchased tab (but hold down the option/alt key)
    3. You’ll see that Mac OS X Lion is available for download
    4. Download it (but after it’s downloaded, do not run the installer)
    5. Locate the Mac OS X Lion installer in your Applications folder
    6. Right/Control Click on it and choose: Show Package Contents
    7. Locate the file called InstallESD.dmg and copy it to the desktop
    8. Insert a USB Stick (8GB or so)
    9. Open Disk Utility
    10. Select the USB Thumbdrive
    11. Select Restore
    12. Drag the InstallESD.dmg file to the source path and place the Thumbdrive as the destination
    13. Click on Restore
    Now, whenever you install Lion, you do not need to re-download it first.
    14. Turn off your Mac and replace the HD.
    15. Insert the Mac OS X Lion thumbdrive
    16. Turn on your Mac and hold down the alt/option key
    17. Select the thumdrive and press Return
    18. Now you’re ready to install Lion onto blank media

    Cheers! (If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to ask them!)

    JB Bryant
    11/7/11 @ 6:05 am

    Apple’s recovery disk they tell you how to make is only able to be used for recovery tools. It’s not a restore disc…

      11/7/11 @ 8:07 am

      You would use it to install Lion from Apple’s servers.

    Luis p
    11/9/11 @ 11:32 am

    Thank u All for the advice. I’ll swap drives this weekend and I’ll post the results after.
    Thank u

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