Cracked screen - trying to internet fix and reinstall OS


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Hello!

I was given an all singing and all dancing MacBook but the screen doesn't work. I thought I would just use it as a desktop with an external monitor, which works really well.

However, the Mac ran into a problem and is trying to internet fix it (after showing the ? Folder for the longest time) but when it has finished downloading, the Mac no longer recognises the external monitor and I can't see what I am doing as the inbuilt screen is broken!

All I need to do is to start the OS Reinstallation - I am so close! How do I bypass the inbuilt screen so that it shows the external one as the main screen?
 
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Hello!

I was given an all singing and all dancing MacBook but the screen doesn't work. I thought I would just use it as a desktop with an external monitor, which works really well.

However, the Mac ran into a problem and is trying to internet fix it (after showing the ? Folder for the longest time) but when it has finished downloading, the Mac no longer recognises the external monitor and I can't see what I am doing as the inbuilt screen is broken!

All I need to do is to start the OS Reinstallation - I am so close! How do I bypass the inbuilt screen so that it shows the external one as the main screen?
Are you fortunate enough to have access to a second Mac? If you don’t have one, maybe a friend?

Not knowing your Mac’s model, depending on available connections, you can boot the MacBook in Target Disk Mode (even if you don’t see it on the screen), give it about a minute, then connect it to the second Mac. With an older Mac, you will need Firewire; newer Mac needs Thunderbolt 3.

If you need to know, to go into Target Disk Mode, reboot and hold down the “T” key.

Your screenless Mac will register on the second Mac as an external disk. Hopefully from there you can reinstall macOS.
 
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Are you fortunate enough to have access to a second Mac? If you don’t have one, maybe a friend?

Not knowing your Mac’s model, depending on available connections, you can boot the MacBook in Target Disk Mode (even if you don’t see it on the screen), give it about a minute, then connect it to the second Mac. With an older Mac, you will need Firewire; newer Mac needs Thunderbolt 3.

If you need to know, to go into Target Disk Mode, reboot and hold down the “T” key.

Your screenless Mac will register on the second Mac as an external disk. Hopefully from there you can reinstall macOS.
Hello! Thank you for the reply.

It's a 2018/2019 model, just pre the Apple chip.

I have a work Macbook that I can use as long as it's only as a monitor and it doesn't require me to wipe anything on it.

So just to make sure I have this correct, is the process as follows? (I will call the broken Mac Mac1 and the work one Mac2):

1) Turn on Mac1 to Target Disc Mode by holding down "T" on startup

2) Plug in Mac2 via a Thunderbolt cable wire (one of these?: Deal: Spigen USB 4 Cable for Thunderbolt 4 Cable, USB-IF Certified 100W Charging 40Gbps Data Transfer 8K Video Type C for Thunderbolt 4 3 Macbook Pro iPad Pro 2021 Mac Mini M1 External SSD eGpu Dell 0.8m https://amzn.eu/d/5NTUAuH)

Would any USB-3 cable do?

3) Do I need to do a thing else to Mac2 to make it show the screen of Mac1 and, if so, how?
 
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Hello! Thank you for the reply.

It's a 2018/2019 model, just pre the Apple chip.

I have a work Macbook that I can use as long as it's only as a monitor and it doesn't require me to wipe anything on it.

So just to make sure I have this correct, is the process as follows? (I will call the broken Mac Mac1 and the work one Mac2):

1) Turn on Mac1 to Target Disc Mode by holding down "T" on startup

2) Plug in Mac2 via a Thunderbolt cable wire (one of these?: Deal: Spigen USB 4 Cable for Thunderbolt 4 Cable, USB-IF Certified 100W Charging 40Gbps Data Transfer 8K Video Type C for Thunderbolt 4 3 Macbook Pro iPad Pro 2021 Mac Mini M1 External SSD eGpu Dell 0.8m https://amzn.eu/d/5NTUAuH)

Would any USB-3 cable do?

3) Do I need to do a thing else to Mac2 to make it show the screen of Mac1 and, if so, how?
Thinking back to the “old days,” I always used Firewire cables for TDM. I haven't tried USB cables for newer Macs, just Thunderbolt 3 or 4 cables, but it looks like both Macs have USB-C, so you can try regular USB-C connection. Mac1 will appear to Mac2 as an external drive. You need to have the macOS installer file on it. So the operation will run as if you are installing macOS on the external drive. None of the Mac2 data will be compromised.

If you don’t have the macOS installer app file, you can get it from the Apps Store, or from here:

 
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Ok, so I am getting there!

I have downloaded the file - but I cannot install it on Mac1. It is saying that because the Mac is in Targeted disc mode it can't be done.
So I saw online that I needed to partition an extra space to drop the imagine onto but it is greyed out so I can't so it.

So close! Would love more help
 
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Ok, so I am getting there!

I have downloaded the file - but I cannot install it on Mac1. It is saying that because the Mac is in Targeted disc mode it can't be done.
So I saw online that I needed to partition an extra space to drop the imagine onto but it is greyed out so I can't so it.

So close! Would love more help
As long as you have a reliable backup or clone of the Mac1 drive, you can completely erase its drive. You can do this from Mac2 because it will see Mac1 as a connected external disk. In effect, you will be installing macOS on an external drive. Using Disk Utility, erase it as APFS, then select it as the target drive when you run the macOS installer.

After installation, migration will ask for the source of the data. You can choose the Time Machine backup or the data on the cloned copy, or you can elect to start from scratch. You can still choose to migrate your previous data after the initial setup.

Migration from the clone will be faster than from Time Machine.
 
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As long as you have a reliable backup or clone of the Mac1 drive, you can completely erase its drive. You can do this from Mac2 because it will see Mac1 as a connected external disk. In effect, you will be installing macOS on an external drive. Using Disk Utility, erase it as APFS, then select it as the target drive when you run the macOS installer.

After installation, migration will ask for the source of the data. You can choose the Time Machine backup or the data on the cloned copy, or you can elect to start from scratch. You can still choose to migrate your previous data after the initial setup.

Migration from the clone will be faster than from Time Machine.
The issue is, when I try and set it as the target drive, it gives an error message of "You may not install to this volume as it is a Mac in Target Disc Mode"
 
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The issue is, when I try and set it as the target drive, it gives an error message of "You may not install to this volume as it is a Mac in Target Disc Mode"
Okay, I didn’t think it would not work with TDM. But were you able to erase the Mac1 drive in Target Disk Mode? I know the main problem is the monitor is not working. Have you tried reinstalling from Recovery Mode (on Mac2) with Mac1 still connected in TDM? That’s what I would try next.
 
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Sadly, that didn't work either. My external monitor works as a primary one while it downloads from the internet, but when the download is completed, it restarts and renders the external monitor useless.

I am unsure how attached a second Mac would help thought, so I might be missing something. Can I use Mac2s screen instead of the broken one on Mac1 somehow?
 
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I've even tried using a usb mouse and keyboard, keeping the lid close, but after it downloads what it needs it just doesn't recognise the external screen at all.
 
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Sadly, that didn't work either. My external monitor works as a primary one while it downloads from the internet, but when the download is completed, it restarts and renders the external monitor useless.

I am unsure how attached a second Mac would help thought, so I might be missing something. Can I use Mac2s screen instead of the broken one on Mac1 somehow?
The approach I had in mind was to use Mac2 throughout the process, which means starting Mac1 in target mode, connecting it to Mac2 and rebooting Mac2 into Recovery, so that Mac1 remains connected to it as an external drive. Then you can attempt to erase/format the “attached” (Mac1) drive and then install macOS onto Mac1. In short, throughout the process, Mac1, aside from running in TDM, will be passive. Mac2 will do all of the formatting and installation. I admit that I haven’t personally done the process myself, but I would do it this way in a similar situation.
 
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Ahh, a cracking idea, but sadly the same issue arises. The volume is greyed out and it says "You may not install to this volume because it is a Mac in Target Disc mode"
 
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Ahh, a cracking idea, but sadly the same issue arises. The volume is greyed out and it says "You may not install to this volume because it is a Mac in Target Disc mode"
Darn. The next thing I would try is to create an external boot drive, perhaps using Mac2, then using it to boot Mac1, assuming that through that process, you can attach an external monitor that Mac1 will recognize.
 
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Darn. The next thing I would try is to create an external boot drive, perhaps using Mac2, then using it to boot Mac1, assuming that through that process, you can attach an external monitor that Mac1 will recognize.
How would I go about doing this?
 
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How would I go about doing this?
Go to the previous link I posted “How to download macOS” and download a copy of the macOS installer version that you will need. You have to have an external disk, preferably SSD, erase it with Disk Utility as APFS, and just launch the installer file you downloaded and select the external disk as the target. If successful, you should be able to boot with it from any Mac that’s supported by that version of macOS.
 
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Go to the previous link I posted “How to download macOS” and download a copy of the macOS installer version that you will need. You have to have an external disk, preferably SSD, erase it with Disk Utility as APFS, and just launch the installer file you downloaded and select the external disk as the target. If successful, you should be able to boot with it from any Mac that’s supported by that version of macOS.
Ok, I'll give it a try! And when that is done, how do I get Mac1 to boot from the external SSD?
 
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Ok, I'll give it a try! And when that is done, how do I get Mac1 to boot from the external SSD?
That's a good question. Anyway, I thought about that ahead of time. As long as you have a good backup of Mac1 before this happened, I assume the data is safe, or else you don’t care if you lose all of it. You can boot it once again in Target Disk Mode and have Mac2 completely erase the internal disk of Mac1. Now comes the tricky part. Connect the external monitor once again and then start it with external SSD (with the new system installed) connected. Since it will not find a system in the internal Macintosh HD (Mac1), it should default to starting up from the external SSD. Good luck!
 

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