Error Installing Lion (OS X 10.7): “the installation information is damaged or incomplete”


The Short Version: I needed to re-install OS X Lion on a system after formatting the standard partition. The install process required downloading the software from Apple first but it was blocked by network authentication. Requesting a temporary lifting of network restrictions for this system provided me with enough time to complete the download.

I needed to format a MacBook Pro that came with OS X Lion (10.7). My assumption was that the process would work the same as with disc-based installs.

The usual saying about assumptions applies.

The system didn’t have any problems at the beginning. I formatted the primary partition by booting to the recovery partition. Then, I let it begin the installation process by downloading the latest version of 10.7. I thought everything was working fine.

However, after I returned I discovered that the download had failed.

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Windows 7 Boot Camp Partition Won’t Start (OS X Lion)


The Short Version: I fixed the problem by running the “Repair Disk” option in Disk Utility.

I attempted to boot into Windows 7 (Boot Camp partition) but it failed. Instead, the system restarted back into OS X. I knew I had a working partition and had used it recently. Rather than search for tips I went straight into Disk Utility in OS X, clicked on my primary hard drive, and selected “Repair Disk”.

The process only took a moment and in the report it showed that the Windows boot.ini file was updated.

I started the Windows partition back up and this time it worked.

Attempting to Restore an eMachine Using a Copy of the Recovery Partition


My wife’s older computer is an eMachine T3958. It hasn’t been used for a long time and is several years old. It was her primary desktop and eventually became my first home automation server. I moved on to other hardware so it’s been sitting unused for some time.

I decided to get the computer working again so we could give it to someone that might have a use for it. When I first repartitioned the system I had the foresight to backup the recovery partition to a DVD.

Unfortunately, despite spending a few hours trying to work it out, I wasn’t able to use the recovery data to reinstall Windows and bring the system back to its factory state.

Perhaps there is a way to use it but I wasn’t able to get the system to boot into the recovery mode and as far as I could tell the Windows XP install files are not included within the recovery partition or they are obfuscated somehow. Marking the partition as active among other methods simply didn’t work.

Whatever discs that may have come with this system were lost a long time ago. The burned recovery discs were never made, as far as I know.

At this point I appear to have three options:

  • Borrow a Windows XP Home install disc and attempt to use the activation code on the system
  • Purchase a new copy of Windows XP Home
  • Purchase a copy of the original recovery discs from eMachines

I’m currently working on the last option. Since the machine is rather old I won’t be surprised if eMachines sends me an e-mail stating the discs are no longer available for purchase. If that turns out to be the case then I’ll try the first option.

Updated 08/15/2011: Last night I received a response from eMachines. The recovery discs for this machine are no longer available. “Recovery discs are only available for systems for 3 years from the date the system part number was created”.

Moving a Windows 7 Partition into VirtualBox on a Mac


I’ve been running Windows 7 on an older machine for a while but recently I had the idea to move the partition into a VirtualBox VM running as a guest OS in OS X Snow Leopard. I wanted to save some electricity, reduce the total number of computers, and make management simpler. The old Windows machine seemed to use a lot of power and and most of the time when I was at home the iMac was also turned on.

Here’s a run-down of the major steps and issues that I encountered.

Convert Windows 7 Partition to a VM Image

I didn’t want to have to start from scratch so I started searching for a tool that could convert an existing Windows install into a virtual machine image. Sure enough, I quickly found Paragon Software Group’s Paragon Go Virtual.

Paragon Go Virtual is free though it requires completing a form to receive a product key and serial number, both of which are required to install and use the program. The installation and configuration was simple enough. I already had an extra drive installed in the Windows system that I used as a backup so I just turned off the backup schedule, formatted the drive, and set Paragon Go Virtual to create the image on that drive in a VirtualBox format.

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