MacOS – How am I supposed to install El Capitan on a new SSD without recovery partition


My old mac's hdd died. It's dead. So I got a ssd and installed it in the macbook.

Now how do I get El Capitan on there? I find lots of tips online that speak of creating a bootable USB drive from the Capitan installer. But I can't download the El Capitan from the appstore because the mac has got nothing to boot from.

On my newer macbook running Catalina, I also cannot download El Capitan from the appstore because it doesn't show up when searching for it.

What I did download is El Capitan's InstallMacOSX.dmg via

But now I need to run/open this on the old mac with the fresh ssd.

I feel I'm stuck in a loop. I need a working OS to install an OS…..

Who can help me out here?

Best Answer

  • You said you downloaded the installer. Did you download it to another Mac? If so, mount the .DMG, copy the install file to the Applications folder, then follow this documentation:

    Once the new SSD is installed, and you've created the bootable USB drive - insert USB drive into the Mac, start it up holding the alt (option) key, and select the Install El Captian drive.

    Format the SSD from Disk Utility, then install.