My Macbook pro won't start
August 31, 2008 4:01 PM   Subscribe

Mac emergency! I was forced to shut my mac down in the middle of upgrading to Leopard and now it won't start up again!

I stupidly started an installation when I was with friends at a cafe. It closed so we had to leave and it was pouring rain but it was saying it would still be over an hour until it was done. I closed the lid and now it won't start. The power goes on but it just has the apple sign and the "thinking" thing. It spit out the Leopard disk. I tried the original Mac OS X startup disk I had and that won't work either.
posted by Ringo to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Put the Leopard disk back in, hold C as you turn the laptop on, and it should boot off the CD. I wouldn't go crazy after that point -- but it should atleast let you load disk utils so you can see everything is still there and fine.
posted by SirStan at 4:14 PM on August 31, 2008

Response by poster: I have the old startup disk in still. How do I pop that out so I can put the Leopard disk back in? I hold down the eject button but it doesn't do anything.
posted by Ringo at 4:16 PM on August 31, 2008

mouse button on startup
posted by rikschell at 4:22 PM on August 31, 2008

Cold boot and hold the eject key until it ejects. Failing that you can boot the old CD, and if necessary reinstall the old OS. Do an Archive and install. Then redo the Leopard upgrade. The only danger here is that the old OS may not install over the old OS since it is probably some mutant hybrid created during the interrupted upgrade.
posted by Gungho at 4:25 PM on August 31, 2008

If you can't get a CD boot or you end up with a corrupted install you might try target disk mode. Find a friend with a Mac, boot yours while holding the T key (you will see the firewire symbol), attach via firewire and wipe your drive from your friend's Mac via disk utility. Then reinstall.
posted by roygbv at 5:02 PM on August 31, 2008

Agree with roygbv (what happened to indigo?) I had to do this with my powerbook during a leopard install, booted into target disk mode and used my mini to wipe it.
posted by senseigmg at 6:06 PM on August 31, 2008

My husband had a similar issue while installing on his G5. He had a bad logic board. Leopard is memory intense, so that could also be an issue. Bringing it to the closest Genius Bar would probably be a safe bet. Good luck!
posted by 6:1 at 6:47 PM on August 31, 2008

This is simply a corrupt OS issue as a result of a botched install. Here's what you need to do.

First, get the Tiger disc out by holding down the trackpad button after starting up. The disc will eject after the gray screen has been showing for a little while. Next insert the Leopard disc and wait for the computer to boot from it — or reboot and hold down C to force a boot from the disc.

By botching your upgrade attempt, you will be forced to either do an Erase & Install or an Archive & Install. If you want to keep your files, then the Archive & Install is what you want. This will archive your old system folder and install a completely new system folder. Your home folder, other personal files, and any applications you installed will be kept.
posted by pmbuko at 7:51 PM on August 31, 2008

Forget about the OS on the Macbook. Boot the macbook in target mode (hold the T key down) on startup. Plug it into another mac with firewire, migrate the files off.

Alternatively, you can boot the mac from an external firewire with an OS.

Either way, you're going to want to wipe the macbook clean and start over. You can install as is, but at a minimum you need to do the "Archive and install" (as Gungho suggests), but you stand a good chance of your user folders being weird, and you will end up with a "previous system" folder.

No way I would just keep going. Of course this means a reinstall of your software, which will probably be hit and miss anyway.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:54 PM on August 31, 2008

Oh yeah--we did exchange the disk in the beginning for a new one. Apple thought it might be a bad disk. This may be another option.
posted by 6:1 at 8:27 PM on August 31, 2008

This previous question might give some clues -- I figured out the sneaky fix for a Leopard upgrade (not your problem, but maybe close). Good luck.
posted by Rumple at 11:54 PM on August 31, 2008

No one seems to have mentioned this, but you *did* have your personal files (generally, your user folder) backed up, right?

Because the advice to wipe and start afresh above is good, but everything you had will be gone. Just making sure you're clear on that.
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:05 AM on September 1, 2008

Just to add to the "How to get the Disc out of the drive" question, you can also turn the machine on holding down the Option key. That will get you a boot screen where you'll see your CD. You can hit the eject key then and the disc will pop out.
posted by inviolable at 9:43 AM on September 1, 2008

Response by poster: I did the "T" firewire transfer to my housemate's machine, so my stuff is all backed up. The Apple people said to pop the disk out with the "option" method inviolable mentioned. We got Leopard back up and loading but it didn't finish properly (probably because it was ripped off the net) so I'm getting a brand new copy tomorrow and they said that should work. Progress! Thanks AskMe.
posted by Ringo at 2:39 PM on September 1, 2008

You used a copy of Leopard ripped off the Net, and had the guts to call Apple for help with the install? Wow.

Your problem could well be due to the use of an illegal copy that may have been corrupted or even insecure.

I feel a little less good about offering advice.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:13 AM on September 2, 2008

Response by poster: I bought a real copy so it's all good now.

posted by Ringo at 9:13 AM on September 2, 2008

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