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you need to <br />
A) download a copy of linux (i always use ubuntu) <br />
http://www.ubuntu.com/desktop/get-ubuntu/download<br /><br />
B) burn that copy of linux to a CD<br />
(to do this you need to go to your disk utility app and click burn image to disk and than select the iso you chose, using other software the option will be something like "create mountable disk" OR "burn bootable image")<br /><br />
C) boot to that cd--- to do this you put the cd in and reboot your mac while holding the 'C' key <br />
D) open the partition editor and create a partition on your hardrive the
size that you want linux to be (idealy replacing the main partition on
your computer not one of the smaller boot partition)<br /><br />*Optional- If you are planning on dual booting do not replace the main partition completely instead create a new linux partition from the main partition's free space additionally if you are dual booting and using Leopard or later you can
use the bootcamp app to create a partition than use the linux partition
editor to format the bootcamp partition to free space and than install
linux on it<br />
E) once you have the partition made simply follow the initial
instructions to install there will be an installer app that replaces
your now free partition with linux.<br />
<br />*if you chose to dual boot to access linux simply hold the 'Alt' key when booting up and than highlight the linux/windows HD<br />
When you start up your computer, hold down the option key. This will bring up the bootable devices menu. Depending on wether or not you have an Operating System installed, you should see either 1 or more icons. Click on the one with the CD icon that should be labeled "Snow Leopard". Once you have clicked on the icon, click the arrow beneath it and your Mac will boot off the OS CD.
Here's something to try: Boot the Mac up, and as soon as you've pressed the power button, hold down the Alt (Option) key. This will bring up a list of all the volumes (places) that you can boot the machine from. You should see 'Macintosh HD", or some such hard drive - Click it and press the arrow.
If that works, you then need to go into System Preferences, and click on the 'Startup Drive' tab. Select the same Volume you selected when booting up, and the Mac will remember to boot from that one in future.
If that doesn't work, could you post some more details please? The Macbook Air has no CD drive - are you using an external one?
Hope that helped!
Try the following:
1. Reset the powermanager by pulling the battery and holding down the power switch for 5 seconds than wait a few more seconds reinstall the battery and plug in your power supply. Push the start button. You can watch the light on the magsafe adapter to confirm that the power manager resets.
2.If you still do not boot to the CD try booting while holding down the C or the option key.
3.If you still do not boot up and have a second mac: try booting into target disc mode connect to the other mac with a firewire cable and install your software on the hard drive remotely.
unfortunately on the newer mac computer including the macbook you cannot boot to open firmware but there are other options
option 1)simply try holding down the mouse button or track pad button during boot after the first chime is sounded this will instruct the computer to eject the cd through the firmware
option 2) you can bypass the cd boot by holding down the option key after the first boot chime another simple solution this will allow you to choose a startup disk during...startup
after which you can try the eject button on the keyboard or select the disk in finder and eject via trash can or eject symbol(symbol located in the open folder view of finder)
option 3) there is also a manual eject button though it may be harder to locate as they have change placements of it over the years however it can usually be found by probing the top center or far right of the cd slot with a paper clip just be gentle you don't want to damage an expensive piece of equipment by just carelessly jamming metal in it
you may want to try searching apple with your particular model and search for manual cd eject