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Formatting an old Macbook Pro (3,1)


Well-known member
Apr 6, 2010
Hey all, I'm not much of an Apple user (in fact, I've never used an Apple product in my life outside of the old 1st generation iPods), but my Father has an old Macbook Pro 3.1 (OSX V 10.6.8 / Intel Core 2 Duo 2.2 Ghz / 2GB RAM) which is a total mess.

I'd like to format it, but I don't have an OSX cd. Would it be worthwhile for me to simply upgrade to the latest version of OSX (Mountain Lion)? And would doing so allow me to format?

I've heard rumours that Mountain Lion doesn't run particularly well with older laptops, so what are my other options?

I know I've asked a lot of questions, but I'm totally lost when working with an Apple product...


Well-known member
Dec 31, 2012
Ok well there's something you must know about Macbooks other than their uselessness :p

Formatting a Macbook without a Mac OSX CD is gosh darn practically impossible. Unless of course you download an ISO image of say... Mountain Lion.

If you think that's to much of a risk, you can buy Mountain Lion for 30$ at an Apple Store (retail or online). So once you have hence name DVD (I do hope to god it's DVDs now, the old Mac OS X required 3 or 4 CDs to install) You will be treated to a nice blue screen and unlike the Windows version of the blue screen, this one means it actually works.

Since you said you never touched Apple in your life I suppose I should explain how Mac works. Unlike Windows, Mac has this "unified taskbar" I said unified because the taskbar (which btw is on top of the screen instead of bottom) changes depending on the program you're currently using. So once the DVD finished loading, you'll have that taskbar displayed on top, in it you'll find a bunch of tools, one of them is Disk Formatting (around those lines) open it up and it should be straight forward in figuring out how to format it.

If you already played with a Linux installation then you'll know what to do. Once you formatted the disk, the rest should be simple enough, click on Install and let it go, after install is complete and they ask you for an Apple ID you'll be filling out the basic info like name, computer name etc... and then poof you're in OS X. Of course however the rest is longest part.... updating. Yes just like Windows updating may take hours to install.

Hope it helps.


Well-known member
Aug 8, 2011
Vancouver, BC
Do not format the machine until you find out if you can even buy the USB installer. I looked at the Apple Store website and it's not even listed. So you may have to buy it from App Store and make your own DVD. It is true that Mountain Lion stop supporting some older Macs.

EDIT: Forgot to add that format is under Utility -> Disk Utility. You can access it from the install disk if you're formatting the primary drive.

Which Macs will be able to run Mountain Lion?

Apple says the following models are supported:

iMac: Mid-2007 and later
Mac mini: Early 2009 and later
Mac Pro: Early 2008 and later
MacBook: Late 2008 Alumnium, Early 2009, and later
MacBook Air: Late 2008 and later
MacBook Pro: Mid- and Late 2007 and later
Apple’s current specs page omits the 2009 Xserve, which was included in the supported models back in February. That may be more of a reflection of Apple’s regard for the now-retired Xserve than that machine’s ability to run Mountain Lion, however.

You may notice that some models supported by Lion aren’t in that list—just because your Mac can run Lion doesn’t mean it will be able to run Mountain Lion. Specifically, the following models can run Lion, but aren’t compatible with the initial developer preview of Mountain Lion:

2006 iMacs
Mid 2007 Mac mini
2006 and 2007 Mac Pro
2008 (original) MacBook Air
Early 2008 and earlier MacBook
2006 (15-inch and 17-inch) MacBook Pro
2006 and 2008 Xserve

How to Burn OS X Mountain Lion to a DVD or USB Flash Drive

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