How I installed Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS on an old MacBook 2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo (T7200)

I’ve had this old MacbBook 2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo (T7200) with Mac OS 10.6 Snow Leopard gathering dust for years. I still used it to browse the internet but both Firefox & Google Chrome had stopped providing updates for Snow Leopard. These days I wouldn’t advise browsing the internet without a current web browser you can update.

So I thought why not replace the system with Windows or Linux so I can run a current web browser on it? I decided on Ubuntu Linux because it runs better on older systems than Windows. Through trial and error I found that my old MacBook from 2007 didn’t support Ubuntu 64 bit so I found a 32 bit distribution of Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS that worked for my machine.

I tried in vain to create EFI bootable USB drives with Ubuntu that my old MacBook would recognize when I started up the computer holding down the OPTION key. I tried Etcher and Unetbootin neither one made USB bootable drives that were recognized by my old MacBook.

Lucky for me I had a Superdrive DVD burner in an external USB enclosure I had removed from a Macbook Pro to replace with a SSD drive. So I downloaded the ISO file of Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS then used Disk Utility to burn that ISO file to a blank DVD. I first burned a 64 bit version and when I tried to boot from it I got an error asking me to “Select CD-ROM Boot Type” and the keyboard froze so it would not boot. If you get that error you’re probably trying to boot a 64 bit version of Ubuntu on a Mac that doesn’t support it.

Everything started to make sense when I burned a 32 bit version of Ubuntu Linux Desktop 16.04.1 LTS to a DVD and booted up the MacBook with that. Here’s the process…

1.) Download Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS 32 bit Desktop Version ISO file from Ubuntu and save it to your downloads folder.

2.) Put a blank DVD in your DVD burner and open it with Disk Utility when prompted.

3.) In Disk Utility go to File Menu > Open Disk Image then find the ISO file of Ubuntu you just downloaded and mount it in Disk Utility.

4.) Click the Burn Icon in Disk Utility to burn your Ubuntu Linux install DVD.

5.) Startup your old MacBook either by holding down the C key as you put the Ubuntu Linux DVD in it’s Optical drive or by holding down the OPTION key and then selecting the disc that says “Windows” to boot from and let it boot up in Ubuntu Linux test mode.

Now you can test out Ubuntu Linux on your machine before you install it. My ten year old MacBook now has a brand new life as an Ubuntu Linux Laptop with a current version of Firefox and Google Chrome (Chromium) for me to use.