MacBook Air (Late 2008 and Mid 2009): How to ‘Erase and Install‘ using Remote Install Mac OS X

Use this procedure to restore the original factory settings and the software that originally came with your computer. You will use the DVDs that shipped with your computer and another computer on your network that has an optical drive.

This procedure has three parts:

  1. Restore the Mac OS X Operating System using the Remote Install Mac OS X.
  2. Complete the Mac OS X Setup Assistant.
  3. Restore Bundled Applications using DVD or CD Sharing and the Applications Install Disc.

Important: This procedure will completely erase the contents of your hard disk.  If you have multiple partitions, it will completely erase the partition you select.

This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.

Part One: Remote Install Mac OS X

  1. Insert the Mac OS X Install Disc 1 into the optical disc drive of the other computer.
  2. If the other computer is a Mac, double-click /Applications/Utilities/Remote Install Mac OS X. On Windows, choose Remote Install Mac OS X from the Install Assistant.
  3. On a Windows computer, read the introduction and click Continue.
  4. Choose the install disc you want to use and click Continue.
  5. Choose a network connection: AirPort, if you are using an AirPort network, or Ethernet, if the other computer is on an Ethernet network and you have an optional Apple USB Ethernet Adapter connecting your MacBook Air to the same network. Click Continue.
  6. Restart your MacBook Air and hold down the Option key as it starts up, until you see a list of available startup disks.
  7. Click Continue in Remote Install Mac OS X.
  8. If you chose AirPort as your network in step 5, choose your AirPort network from the pop-up list on your MacBook Air.
    If the network is secure, you are prompted for a password. You can enter a private network name by choosing the ellipsis (...) and typing the name.
  9. If you chose AirPort as your network in step 5, when you see the AirPort status icon indicating signal strength, click Continue in Remote Install Mac OS X.  You should now see the Mac OS X Install DVD appear.  Click to select it and then click the arrow underneath it. The MacBook Air will the start up from the Install DVD on the other computer. 
  10. Select a Language and click the arrow on the bottom of the screen. 
  11. When the Mac OS X Leopard Installer screen appears, click Continue.
  12. When the license agreement appears, click Agree.
  13. Select the destination and click Options.
  14. Select Erase and Install and click OK. The arrow on the destination changes to a green and a note on the bottom of the screen indicates you have chosen to erase the volume you selected
  15. Click Continue. An Install Summary screen appears.
  16. Click Install. A status bar appears on the bottom of the screen while Mac OS X installs.
  17. An Additional Information screen appears, advising you that your operating system has been installed. This screen advises you that the bundled applications have not yet been installed. Click Continue.
  18. An Install Succeeded screen appears. Click Restart.
  19. On the other computer, the Remote Install Mac OS X application will also inform you that Mac OS X was successfully installed. Click Quit and eject the Mac OS X Install disc from the other computer. You will need the optical drive again to install the bundled applications in Part Three.


Part Two: Completing the Mac OS X Setup Assistant

When the restart has completed, a Welcome video plays, then a country/region selection screen appears. 

  1. Select your country or region then click Continue.
  2. Select a keyboard layout and click Continue.
  3. A migration screen appears. If you wish to migrate your data from another Macintosh, see MacBook Air: Migration Tips and Tricks. If you do not wish to migrate, or want to migrate later, select Do not transfer my information now and click Continue.
  4. A Wireless Service screen appears if you have wireless services available within range of your computer. Select one and click Continue.
  5. If the network is password protected, you be asked for a password when you select it. Type the password and click Continue.
  6. An Apple ID screen appears. This is used to purchase content from the iTunes store. .Mac or MobileMe IDs can be used here as well. When complete, click Continue
  7. If you do not have an Apple ID, .Mac, or MobileMe account, click Continue to move to the next screen.
  8. A Registration Information screen appears. You are not required to fill this out, but it is helpful if you do. When complete, click Continue and your product registration will be sent immediately.
  9. A Create Your Account screen appears. This will be used to create a User Account with Login ID and Password for you computer. It is important to remember this password. You'll be asked for it when you install new software or perform other administrative tasks on your computer. When complete, click Continue and your account will be created immediately.
  10. A Select a Picture for this account screen appears. Take a snapshot with the built-in camera or select a picture from the Library.  When complete, click Continue.
  11. A MobileMe screen appears. Select an option and click Continue.
  12. A Thank You screen appears. Click Go to finish the Mac OS X Setup Assistant.

Part Three: Installing the bundled applications

Installing DVD or CD Sharing on the computer with the optical drive:

  1. Insert the MacBook Air Mac OS X Install DVD into the optical drive.
  2. Double-click DVD or CD Sharing Setup.
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to install the software.
  4. Eject the DVD. You'll need the optical drive to install the bundled software.


How to enable DVD or CD Sharing, if your other computer is a Mac:

  1. Make sure the other Mac and your MacBook Air are on the same wireless network.
  2. Check the AirPort status icon in the menu bar to see what network you're connected to.
  3. On the other Mac, choose Apple > System Preferences and open Sharing.
  4. In the Sharing panel, select DVD or CD Sharing in the Service list. Sharing will become disabled if your computer goes to sleep. You will be reminded of this when you enable sharing and be offered an opportunity to modify you Energy Saver settings. To prevent the computer from sleeping, move the topmost Put the computer to sleep slider to Never.  If you want other users to request permission to share a DVD or CD, select Ask me before allowing others to use my DVD drive.

How to enable DVD or CD Sharing, if your other computer is a Windows computer:

  1. Make sure your MacBook Air and the Windows computer are on the same wireless network.
  2. On the Windows computer, open the DVD or CD Sharing control panel.
  3. Select Enable DVD or CD Sharing. If you want other users to request permission to share a DVD or CD, select Ask me before allowing others to use my DVD drive.

How to use DVD or CD Sharing to install the bundled software:

  1. On the computer with the optical drive, insert the Applications Install Disc into the optical drive.
  2. On your MacBook Air, open a Finder window by selecting File, then New Finder Window.
  3. Select Remote Disc.
  4. Double-click on the hard drive icon with the name of the computer with the optical drive.
  5. If you see the Ask to use option, click it.
  6. On the other computer, when prompted, click Accept to allow your MacBook Air to use the DVD or CD.
  7. On the MacBook Air, double-click the Applications Install Disc icon.
  8. The disc will mount and an Applications Install Disk dialog appears. Double-click Install Bundled Software to install your iLife applications.
  9. The Bundled Software Applications Installer screen appears. Click Continue.
  10. A software license screen appears. Click Continue then click Agree to accept the terms.
  11. To install all the bundled applications, click Install.
  12. To select individual applications, click Customize. Click the disclosure triangle next to Bundled Applications to select individual applications, then click Install. Clicking Standard Install on the Customize screen installs them all.
  13. Type the password you created in Part Two, Step 9 to start the installation.
  14. The installation application will keep you informed of the progress of your installation until it is complete.
  15. When the installation is complete, an Install Succeeded screen appears. Click Close.

The restore process is now complete. You may want to use Software Update from the Apple menu to check for the latest updates for all the software you just installed.

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