Reinstall Yosemite on MacBook Pro

Note: This post is part of the the series: Reformat Macbook Pro to make brand new. You can always refer back to the table of contents to follow the entire process.

[su_note note_color=”#fefebb”]Note: If you simply just want to upgrade from OSX Mavericks to OSX Yosemite without reformatting your computer (just a simple upgrade), you can find easy instructions here. [/su_note]

We’ve arrived at our final destination. If you’ve stuck with me, you’re on your way to a faster, and cleaner Macbook Pro. And let me tell you, it’s worth it! Faster start up and shut down, faster processing and just knowing the hard drive is free of clutter and much better organized will put a  smile on your face. In the last chapter you wiped your data clean from the laptop. Now it’s time to breathe life back into the Macbook Pro by using your boot drive you created in the earlier steps.

Here we go!

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Reinstall Yosemite on Macbook Pro

Now is the time to install the operating system so your dead computer can come back to life. This is the fun part. You will now use the boot drive you made to install Yosemite onto your brand new Mac!

1. You’ll want to insert the thumb drive into your now ‘dead’ mac.
2. Press the power button on your Macbook (if it’s off), or choose restart from any menu the Macbook has left you on.
3. Hold down the OPTION key as the computer starts.
4. You’ll get a menu giving you options to use the Yosemite startup installer.
5. Click the installer and let it load OS X Yosemite onto your new Macbook Pro.

And Voila! You’re there. Once Yosemite is installed, you will have to set up the computer as you did when you first purchased it. Be sure to add your Apple ID and pick your Wi-Fi connection. You’ll have to add in your passwords, so hopefully you have them nearby.

Once you’re taking to the desktop, you’ll notice it’s BARE! All of your programs will be gone – so you can track down the programs and reinstall them Doing so will ensure that all of the old, uncessary files you created will be gone. If you just install and pull over content from your backup on your external hard drive, a lot of those junk files may come with it. I recommend just reinstalling software piece by piece so you know the hard drive is clean and remains that way.

Accessing files from your Time Machine backup

I understand a lot of you will want to access folders full of information from your Time Machine backup we created a few chapters ago. It’s very easy to do. Here’s a couple quick ways.

Accessing raw data

1. Plug in the external hard drive you created the backup on
2. Double-click the hard drive icon.
3. Double-click the Backups.backupdb folder.
4. Double-click your computer-named folder.
5. Now you will see a set of folders. These folders are all the backups you made during the process of backing up your data.
6. Click on the date of the folder that contains the file you’re looking for.
7. Double-click your computer-named folder.
8. Double click on the folder named Users.
9. Double click on your user name folder.
10. Now you’re free to track down your folder. Drag and drop it to the new computer desktop and you’re good to go!

Accessing Time Machine data from another computer

This is essentially what you’re doing if you’ve renamed your user name on the new Macbook Pro you’ve just cleaned. So to access the data from the old computer, follow these steps:

1. Double click on your hard drive, double-click into Applications.
2. Find the Time Machine icon and drag it to your dock.
3. CONTROL + CLICK on the Time Machine icon in the dock.
4. Click on Browse Other Time Machine Disks…
5. Navigate to the backup time period and drag and drop files as you wish!

TIP: You can also access the 'browse' feature another way. You can use the Time Machine icon in your menubar.  Hold the Alt/Option key, and the Enter Time Machine option will change to the Browse ... option.

Congratulations! Your computer is as good as brand new! Enjoy the extra speed and space. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please add them in the comments section below and I’ll try to help the best I can. Also, please revisit the series table of contents to look back at any of the steps.

Please let me know how this worked for you below in the comments. Are you a happy camper? I sure hope so.

Enjoy your new Macbook Pro!

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About the author

Josh Benson


  • Hi Josh. So i’ve gotten to the point where i’ve reinstalled Yosemite from the usb stick, i’d held down Option and clicked the ‘install Yosemite’ drive and an install image came up (Apple logo with progress bar) after that had finished, to computer went straight to OS X UTILITIES and i can’t seem to get into my computer because there is no option to open into the desktop. I’ve restarted and all but it keeps taking me back to OS X UTILITIES screen. I have followed your steps as carefully as I could as well. Is there a step i’m missing?


  • Hi Josh! Just want to say a HUGE thanks you for uploading this extremely helpful guide. Followed the instructions and now my Macbook Pro is as brand-new! Thank you! 🙂

  • Hi Josh. My start up disc is not working. I followed steps as instructed. But I get the message “the path/system/installation/packages/OSInstall.mpkg appears to be missing or damages”. Is there another way to get this computer started?

  • I get to the point where I boot from the USB. It start to prepare the installation, and when it get to the point where it says one second remaining it stops there. No reboot. Anybody else having this issue? Or does anybody have any idea how to fix this?

  • Panic mode! I’m freaking out a little bit – backed up, reformatted, rebooted with Yosemite, plugged in my external, and it says it isn’t readable!! All of my data is solely on this external.. Help!!!

  • I’ve done it but still stuck with the Bootcamp 100gb partition that I want to get rid of. Tried disk utility before installing Yosemite but it gave the error “Couldn’t unmount disk”. So I installed Yosemite anyway on the other partition. Now that OS X is installed, How do I now get rid of the other Bootcamp partition?

  • Got stuck half way through booting Yosemite but sorted that fairly easily and otherwise worked a charm! thanks very much!

  • Hi Josh I followed your notes but now my disk utility reads
    Format: Logical Partition
    I realised this when my old ext hard drive wouldnt take time machine (it was before). And quoted I need a case sensitive hard drive.
    Then I tried to install Adobe and it said it wouldnt work with case sensitive.
    Please help I have no idea what happened or how to change this!

  • Help please. 🙁 I was u successful installing the OSX Yosemite the first time (it was already “one second remaining” last time i checked then next thing my laptop is blank again) So i t hasn’t installed the osx yet. I tried installing again following the instructions but it says “no bootable device found”. It the booting of OSX from the usb only a one time thing?
    What do i do next? 🙁

Josh Benson


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