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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Floppy Disk Access when your Mac runs on OS X 10.11 El Capitan-Scenario #4

Scenario #4: Your Mac came from the factory with a version of OS X prior to El Capitan. But you’ve kept on upgrading to OS X 10.11 without making clones of these earlier versions of OS X for safekeeping.


And no, Time Machine backups won’t boot. What do you do?


Don’t Panic. At least not yet. You will use Internet Recovery.


You will need the following:


A. An external USB hard drive. You will erase it in the course of this recovery, so it doesn’t matter if it came Windows formatted.


B. The external floppy drive.


C. A lot of patience, as you will have to download several gigabytes worth of files from Apple. Aren’t you glad you got that high-speed connection?



D. A Wired USB keyboard. Wireless keyboards won’t work where you’re going. You need a hard-wired connection.


The heart of this procedure lies in Apple including the Internet Recovery option. This differs from the standard recovery option which you access by restarting your Mac and holding down Command + R.


No, in this instance you hold down the Command + Alt + R keys to get to Internet Recovery. You’ll install the version of OS X that your Mac came with from the factory. In my case, it is OS X 10.7 Lion. This installation runs slower than the regular recovery option because you need to access Apple’s servers.


So, here are the steps:


1. You need a USB hard drive. If you bought it recently, it probably came formatted in Windows NTFS format. That’s fine. You will reformat it in a moment.


You can get a 500 GB USB hard drive for $50-60 at many computer retailers, such as Frys, Costco, Staples, Office Depot/Office Max, Sam’s Club, Wal-Mart and Best-Buy. On-line you can get them from,, and


I’m guessing that 500 GB will handle your file copying needs.


2. Fire up your Mac running 10.11. Plug in the USB hard drive. See that its activity light comes on and that you see it in the Finder’s sidebar. You don’t want to find out you bought a dud drive!


3. Plug in the Wired USB keyboard. You can use a cheap Windows USB keyboard that you bought at the drug store or computer retailer for $5-$10! It doesn’t have to be a Mac-specific keyboard, which cost a bit. Just know that the Windows key is the same as the Mac’s Command key.


4. Now read these next instructions before proceeding. Don’t rush headlong in, even though you feel impatient and sweaty from anxiety.


A. Go up to the Mac’s Apple Menu, the outline of an apple with a bite out of it in the upper left-hand corner.


B. Click on Restart and follow the directions you see on screen.

Restart under the Apple Menuy




C. The screen will become black.


D. When you hear the Mac “bong!” noise, hold down together the Command, the Alt, and the letter R.


E. The screen turns white and then you see a spining glode with the text, “Entering Internet Recovery Mode. This may take a while.” You’ve been warned to stay patient.


Spinning Globe in INternet recovery

F. You’ll end up at a windows with the Title “Mac OS X Utilities” You will see 4 items.


Reinstall Mac OS X from Internet recovery

I. Restore from Time Machine Backup. You don’t want this.


II. Reinstall Mac OS X. You’ll want this in a moment. Just not yet. Notice the tiny picture to the left of the text. It shows what version of OS X you will install on the external hard drive. In my case, it’s OS X 10.7 Lion. Yours should specify a version from 10.7 Lion to 10.10 Yosemite.


III. Get Help Online. Always good to know.


IV. Disk Utility. That’s where we’ll start.


5. You read the instructions? Good, read them again just to make sure. Print them out if need be.


6. Now to the Disk Utility. Click on it once to highlight it. Now press the Continue button in the lower right-hand corner of the window.


Disk Utility in Lion

7. I suggest you make two partitions, one for OS X itself and the other for the files you will copy from the floppies. I suggest this because you could run into permission problems if you use names and passwords on this external drive that differ from what you used with OS X 10.11. If you use two partitions, the strictly data partition won’t have permission problems.


8. To make multiple partitions with Disk Utility, you click on the double-headed arrow at the right-hand side of the box that says “Current.” It drops down to show possible partitioning schemes from 1 to 16.


Partion scheme shown as Current



9. Click on the “2” for just two partitions.

Partions Two Scheme



10. Now you will see two boxes of equal size. One is “Untitled 1” and the other is “Untitled 2”. Click on “Untitled 1” to highlight it with a blue border. You can do the same for “Untitled 2” later.


Partitions split into two equal parts

11. Change the names of the partitions to something you can remember. Change the size of the first partition to 100 GB to 200 GB. That’s plenty.


Partition resize

12. Change the format to Mac OS X Extended (Journaled) in both partitions from Windows FAT.


Partion disk format

13. Most important! Go down to the “Options” box below the partitions, click on it to bring up a window and select “GUID” You don’t want Windows’s Master Boot Record.

Partition scheme options you want GUID


14. All right! It’s time to install OS X on your OS X partition. Click on the  “Partition” button and then on the “Apply” button and the process begins.


Partition start the process

15. When you finish, you’ve got an external hard drive partitioned and ready to go.


Partition is done

16. Click on the Red exit button in the upper left-hand corner to leave Disk Utility.


17. You’re back at the main window. Carefully click on “Reinstall Mac OS X” to highlight it.


Reinstall OS X Lion

18. Click on the Continue button in the lower right-hand corner of the window.


19. Click on the Continue right-facing arrow.

Begin INstallation of OS X LIon




20. You’ll get a message about verifying your computer’s eligibility with Apple. Click on Continue.


Verify eligibility



21. You get an installation software license agreement. Read it quickly and click on the right-facing Agree button

Software License Agreement


22. One more message. You have read and agreed to the Software License Agreement. If you didn’t make a backup before, make sure you have one on hand. You can’t sue Apple in case you lose your data!

Software LIcense Agreement read and understood


23. Now you’re at the hard drive selection screen. You’ll notice that you can’t overwrite your pre-existing OS X 10.11 installation. You can only install 10.7 Lion on the new blank partitions you just created.


Where to install OS X Lion

24. Now click on OS X Lion and click on the right-facing Install arrow.

INstrall OS X LIon




25. Now you wait for the installation. Now is a good time to take a shower, do some laundry, or eat some food. You can’t do anything on your computer right now anyway.


It will take some time. First, you have to download the OS X installer and then you have to install OS X.

Waiting an hour for the installer to download


I wait for OS X to install




26. Now you go through the steps of setting up OS X. This is still the same, so I’ll let  you consult the documentation that came with your Mac.


Setting your Mac UP

27. You’re at the desktop at last. A few more adjustments to make.


OS X Lion Desktop at Last

28. Go under the Finder’s Preferences (Not the System Preferences) and set the desktop to display all attached peripherals.


Screen Shot 2016 05 28 at 1 36 46 PM

29. Plug in the USB floppy drive and insert a floppy disk to test it.


30. If everything went correctly, you’ll see the floppy disk icon on the screen. Click on it to open it in a Finder window and commence copying!

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