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The issue: I have a 2011 MacBook pro with an i5 processor. The screen is intermittently working. I do not want or use Macs in any way, but I am keen to turn this computer into a fully working Ubuntu machine as the only OS on the system.

The downside: I followed the instructions on making a bootable USB drive and got to the install Ubuntu base screen but then it stalls. Nothing further happens, and this is only seconds into the installation.

So I had a bright idea (as it is no issue to me whether or not this MacBook ever works again) to take the HDD out of the MacBook and I can install Ubuntu this way and put the HDD back in... But I think that way is equally fraught with error and issue. I assume that the drivers that will install won't be the ones I want for the Mac, is this right?

In short; is it possible to install Ubuntu externally from the MacBook (using a PC with more up to date hardware than the MacBook) and then reinstall the HDD back into the MacBook and switch it on with its new OS?

Thanks in advance for your replies.

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"is it possible to install Ubuntu externally from the MacBook"

No. When you install Ubuntu, the installation is tailored to your hardware. If you remove a hard drive from a PC's Ubuntu installtion, it will not work on your MacBook. You will need to install Ubuntu to the device on which you intend to use Ubuntu.

You should also probably format the disk where you intend to install Ubuntu before beginning the installation. This can be done easily using the Disks (gnome-disk-utility) application on the LiveUSB (The "Try Ubuntu" option). Then you will have a clean slate to install Ubuntu.

If you are having problems after you sucessfully boot into the Ubuntu USB, the USB is probably corrupted. This could be from a corrupt .ISO or a bad flash or faulty hardware. Make sure that you have verified the checksum/integrity of your .ISO before flashing it to a USB. Once you have verified the integrity of your download, the easiest, no-nonsense, way to flash that .ISO to a USB is using the cross-platform Etcher tool. Also consider that the USB device you are using could be corrupted, so you may want to try a different flash drive or another USB port.

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