Have run Ubuntu on an older PC before and have some (limited) experience in using it. Once I get it loaded I don't have too many issues.

Running mid 2009 Macbook Pro 5,5 with 120 GB SSD and 4 GB 1067 MHz DDR3 that won't upgrade to Sierra or High Sierra. It's slowing down and I am thinking that by moving over to Ubuntu I can extend the life of it.

However, I have downloaded 17.10 and have used Etcher to flash the image but cannot get a bootable icon when holding down the Option (Alt) key.

Any ideas?

Thanks in advance.


For me sometimes the C key worked.

Other times I had to press and hold the alt key, wait until the HDD icon appeared, and only then plug the USB stick in.

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The official way to startup a mac from USB stick is to press the c key as soon as you hear the startup sound... and, until the Apple logo appears.

The 'Option' key is generally used to list alternate MacOS startup disks.

Optionally, and in the event your USB boot is not detected, you can try the x key. But, that is generally used to force startup from the main MacOS disk.

Also, you may want to clear your NVRAM before installing Ubuntu to force the system to rebuild its settings.

Also, make sure you have already prepared a USB stick with rEFInd to install after Ubuntu install has completed. (Or you will not be able to select Ubuntu at boot time).

The publisher of rEFInd is a member of this exchange, and generally picks up help requests quickly.

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  • Looking for a bit more info Orian as I am a Newbie. How would I clear the NVRAM? – T Morris Nov 7 '17 at 3:47
  • The command to clear NVRAM is "Option-Command (⌘)-P-R" All four keys pressed just as you hear the boot sound... Hold all four keys down until you hear the boot sound a second time. – Orian Nov 7 '17 at 5:17

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