Reinstalling OS X

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Hello. I have a 2010 macbook that came with OS X Snow Leopard. A few years ago my son upgraded it to El Capitan. Now when I try to start my computer, I get the OS X Utilities screen and if I try to reinstall OS X, it defaults to trying to install El Capitan, not Mountain Lion. Any ideas on how I can fix this and reload 10.8 Mountain Lion?
 
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Unfortunately, you are caught in the infamous "Apple OS loop". Given that El Capitan was already installed on your machine (via the App Store), that is the minimum, "default" Mac OS you can obtain from the App Store. If you happen to have the file "Install MacOS Mountain Lion", then you can use it to install OS 10.8. But if you don't, you are out of luck in terms to getting any "earlier" Mac OS (for free) from the App Store. (By the way, you state that the machine had OS X Snow Leopard (OS 10.6.x), but then you stare that you want to re-install Mountain Lion, OS 10.8.x. Seems to be some confusion here).

You can purchase the Snow Leopard DVD from the App Store:

https://www.apple.com/shop/product/MC573Z/A/mac-os-x-106-snow-leopard

As for Mountain Lion, on amazon.com, I only saw links for purchasing either Lion (OS 10.7.x) or Yosemite (OS 10.10.x) on a flash drive:

https://www.amazon.com/Apple-Thumb-Drive-Model-A1384/dp/B0065V30NM

https://www.amazon.com/Mac-Yosemite-10-10-5-Bootable-USB/dp/B00S4ZIO88

I suspect Mountain Lion is also available, but I can't find it.
 
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Unfortunately, you are caught in the infamous "Apple OS loop". Given that El Capitan was already installed on your machine (via the App Store), that is the minimum, "default" Mac OS you can obtain from the App Store. If you happen to have the file "Install MacOS Mountain Lion", then you can use it to install OS 10.8. But if you don't, you are out of luck in terms to getting any "earlier" Mac OS (for free) from the App Store. (By the way, you state that the machine had OS X Snow Leopard (OS 10.6.x), but then you stare that you want to re-install Mountain Lion, OS 10.8.x. Seems to be some confusion here).

You can purchase the Snow Leopard DVD from the App Store:

https://www.apple.com/shop/product/MC573Z/A/mac-os-x-106-snow-leopard

As for Mountain Lion, on amazon.com, I only saw links for purchasing either Lion (OS 10.7.x) or Yosemite (OS 10.10.x) on a flash drive:

https://www.amazon.com/Apple-Thumb-Drive-Model-A1384/dp/B0065V30NM

https://www.amazon.com/Mac-Yosemite-10-10-5-Bootable-USB/dp/B00S4ZIO88

I suspect Mountain Lion is also available, but I can't find it.
 
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Thank you very much. I will look into that. I appreciate your help and I will try to pay it forward.
Pthei
 
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Thank you very much. I will look into that. I appreciate your help and I will try to pay it forward.
Pthei

One important thing that you need to be doing is making backups to an external device. Are you doing that, and if so, what software are you using?

Also, when you are ready to get this going, post here and we can advise you how to proceed. But again I cannot emphasize enough how critical backups are needed!
 
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Thank you very much. I will look into that. I appreciate your help and I will try to pay it forward.
Pthei

So, basically your OS (which is/was El Capitan) won't load... You obviously want to fix that, and you also want to replace the OS with an older version...
You have several options depending on several factors.
1. Do you still have the stuff that came with your computer- specifically the OS installation DVDs for Snow Leopard? If so, start off by re-installing Snow Leopard so at least you have a working Mac.
2. If not, do you have (or have access to) another Mac? Or any other working computer? (I'm assuming yes since you're corresponding here- but of course that could be via phone). If not, that may limit your options.
3. You need to obtain the installer for Mountain Lion somehow. As far as I know, beginning with Mountain Lion Apple stopped selling their OSes on physical media (DVDs/discs)- they just sold it in the app store. So you probably won't be able to find any "hard" copies for sale- unless the did include a back-up copy on some kind of physical media with some of their computers that someone is willing to sell. However, you should be able to find a downloadable version somewhere online if you search thoroughly...
4. If you haven't re-installed Snow Leopard to get your MacBook running again, you will need either a blank DVD (dual-layer—8GB capacity) or a USB flash drive or memory card (with USB adapter) with at least 8GB capacity (the DVD is definitely the slowest option!) to boot up and install the OS from.
Here are some instructions on how to create the installer:
https://mac-how-to.gadgethacks.com/...vd-usb-drive-os-x-10-8-mountain-lion-0138303/
https://itekblog.com/create-os-x-mountain-lion-bootable-usb-from-windows/


Just a word of caution: Even if you are able to get ahold of a Mountain Lion installer, I would recommend you carefully consider whether you really want to install it. Don't get me wrong, I love it- I'm still using it! But it is no longer supported by Apple at all, so any security weaknesses will never be fixed, plus more and more updates of applications do not support ML. Unless there is some software that you own and must use which is only compatible with Mountain Lion, I really think you would be better off with one of the newer releases.


I hope you are able to get your Mac back up and running ASAP!
 

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