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  • According to Mactracker, you have a 15" MacBook Pro Mid-2009 model with a Core 2 Duo processor. This is considered obsolete by Apple, it will support up to OS X 10.11.6. There is a DVD drive or it can be booted from USB or Firewire drives.

    This article has a list of startup key combos:

    https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201255

    This article has options for recovering an Intel-based Mac:

    https://support.apple.com/guide/mac-help/use-macos-recovery-on-an-intel-based-mac-mchl338cf9a8/mac

    I'm not certain if your machine has all of the recovery options listed, you'll need to test and see. If you have access to another Mac, you can download the OS X 10.11 installer and make a bootable USB drive or DVD.

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  • If there's a BIOS password set, you may need it to start in Safe Mode. You can access recovery mode by holding the Command and R keys during startup (on some models the key combo may be different.) If you're prompted for a password, ask the person who gave you the laptop if they can enter it and allow you to change it. If there is one and nobody knows it, you can reset to factory settings by booting and holding Command, Option, P and R keys until you hear it make the startup noise 3 times. Then try to boot to safe mode.

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  • I don't think Safe Mode involves holding down the power button. You press power to turn it on then hold the SHIFT key until it boots into Safe Mode.

    Note there is Safe mode and Single User mode. One is accessed by holding SHIFT and the other by holding the S key. I don't remember which is which.

    *edit:

    Single-User mode is accessed by holding Command-S

    SafeMode is accessed by holding SHIFT, pressing power on (but not holding the power button), then continue to hold SHIFT until you see the logon prompt or desktop.

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  • You may try to get the update this way: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT211683

    https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204156

    https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201255

    You may also get it through by plugging into Ethernet or WiFi.

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  • This machine is limited to 10.11 and doesn't support 10.12 Sierra. So the only supported choice is go back to El Cap.

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  • egp_dave wrote:

    According to Mactracker, you have a 15" MacBook Pro Mid-2009 model with a Core 2 Duo processor. This is considered obsolete by Apple, it will support up to OS X 10.11.6. There is a DVD drive or it can be booted from USB or Firewire drives.

    This article has a list of startup key combos:

    https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201255

    This article has options for recovering an Intel-based Mac:

    https://support.apple.com/guide/mac-help/use-macos-recovery-on-an-intel-based-mac-mchl338cf9a8/mac

    I'm not certain if your machine has all of the recovery options listed, you'll need to test and see. If you have access to another Mac, you can download the OS X 10.11 installer and make a bootable USB drive or DVD.

    Thank you. I'll check the articles out.

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  • Honestly I'd question if a computer that old is even worth messing with. It certainly isn't in a business context unless you're simply trying to recover data off of it.

    OS X 10.11 hasn't seen a security patch in over four years and would be a risk to use on the internet.

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  • kevinmcox wrote:

    Honestly I'd question if a computer that old is even worth messing with. It certainly isn't in a business context unless you're simply trying to recover data off of it.

    OS X 10.11 hasn't seen a security patch in over four years and would be a risk to use on the internet.

    Good point. I'll confirm that to the customer.

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