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Can't reinstall OS X El Capitan on MacBook Pro

This is a discussion on Can't reinstall OS X El Capitan on MacBook Pro within the Mac Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. Hey guys! Let me preface this by saying I'm a Windows guy, helping a friend out with her new MacBook


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Old 12-16-2016, 09:23 PM   #1
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Hey guys! Let me preface this by saying I'm a Windows guy, helping a friend out with her new MacBook Pro. She just bought it used as an emergency computer because she really needed something to do school work on. When it boots up it immediately goes to the OS X Utilities menu, with options to restore from a time machine backup, reinstall OS X, get help online, or open the disk utility.

Since it's new for her and she has no data on it, I tried to click Reinstall OS X. When I do, however, the window to install OS X 10.11 comes up, and a notification pops up, telling me that the computer's eligibility will be verified with Apple. I click Continue, and then this extremely vague error comes up:

"An error occurred while preparing the installation. Try running this application again."

And I haven't been able to find a way around it. Every time I came across someone online with this problem, they say that setting the correct date and time through the terminal fixed it, but it hasn't for me.

I also tried to boot into the internet recovery menu with command-option-R, but nothing happened so I'm assuming this MacBook is too old for that feature.

If this was a Windows computer at this point, I'd simply download an .iso of the operating system, make a bootable USB, and install it from there. Is there an equivalent I can do here? Everything I find online talks about downloading the OS from the app store... but I obviously can't make it as far as the app store. I also unfortunately don't have another Mac to work off of, so if there is a way to make a bootable USB to reinstall, I'll have to do it from Windows.

So in short, unless someone else has a simpler solution to this problem... what's the easiest way for me to manually totally reformat the disk and reinstall Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan, with only a Windows PC at my disposal?

Thanks in advance for any help you guys can give me!
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Old 12-17-2016, 04:51 AM   #2
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Go into Disk Utilities and Verify and Repair the Disk, as well as Verify and Repair the Permissions.
You can download an El Capitan DMG (ISO), but would need another Mac to burn it to a USB Flash Drive.
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Old 12-17-2016, 11:58 AM   #3
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Okay, I can try and track down another mac to use then. Any idea where I can find either an ISO or DMG of El Capitan?
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Old 12-17-2016, 12:10 PM   #4
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The El Capitan installer can be downloaded from the Apple Store if you have an Apple ID. If not, there are other solutions, just ask Mr Google.
How to Burn OS X El Capitan to a USB Flash Drive
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Old 12-17-2016, 12:18 PM   #5
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I can download things from the Apple Store without a Mac? I was under the impression that I couldn't from Windows, and I still can't seem to find a way. Even Googling around, the only thing I can find is the occasional torrent link, which I'm trying to avoid since the firewall here blocks them anyway.
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Old 12-17-2016, 12:24 PM   #6
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I can download things from the Apple Store without a Mac? I was under the impression that I couldn't from Windows, and I still can't seem to find a way. Even Googling around, the only thing I can find is the occasional torrent link, which I'm trying to avoid since the firewall here blocks them anyway.
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Old 12-17-2016, 12:29 PM   #7
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No, as stated, you need another Mac to download from the store and burn it to USB Flash drive
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Old 12-20-2016, 08:39 AM   #8
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Alright I'm all set now! As it turned out, the problem was indeed the date on the computer. It's not that I needed to set the present date, but some older date, presumably closer to the download or release of the OS or something? I set the computer date to 01/16/2016 randomly, and the installation went through perfectly. Thanks for the help in the meantime anyway!
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