Spinning wheel during OS X install
August 24, 2010 3:45 PM   Subscribe

MacBook Pro freezes (spinning wheel) during system install (10.5) -- what to do?

Something must be wrong with the DVD or optical drive.

Here's what happened... the install proceeded just fine until there were about 8 minutes remaining, at which point the install DVD spun down. Now it just keeps spinning up, making noises, and then spinning back down.

So I'm stuck on the "Installing" screen with a rainbow spinning wheel and no idea what to do next... It's clear to me the install has come to a halt, even though the optical drive keeps making noises, trying to read the disc.

I've had this machine for quite a few years. Do I force it to shutdown? Seems like the wrong solution since I am installing a new, clean system. Any advice would be much appreciated.
posted by dead_ to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My two guesses are a bad disc/the optical drive randomly deciding it doesn't like you, and/or a bad hard disk.

So, force it to shut down by holding the power button, then start up from the disc again, but this time select the Utilities menu, Disk Utility, click the drive in the source list on the left, then check what Disk Utility shows the drive's S.M.A.R.T. Status as. If it's "Failing", then, er, the drive is failing and will need to be replaced.

Otherwise erase the drive and try the install again. As an aside, partly because it's so cheap ($29), you might want to invest in a copy of Snow Leopard.
posted by julian_ at 4:20 PM on August 24, 2010

You can force a disc to eject by holding down the mouse/trackpad button while rebooting. This comes in handy if you're now in a situation where you can't boot from the hard drive because of an aborted upgrade. Once the disc is out, examine it for visible problems. Clean it.

It sounds like an issue with disc or optical drive, not the hard drive. But you can isolate the problem further if you have another Mac available: you can try mounting the 10.5 disc in the other Mac's drive, or you can mount the MacBook Pro onto the other computer using FireWire Target Disk Mode (booting the MacBook Pro while holding down the letter T) and then test out both the MacBook Pro's optical drive and hard drive.
posted by thejoshu at 5:08 PM on August 24, 2010

Last time I saw a computer do anything like this, there was a big greasy thumbprint on the disc.
posted by flabdablet at 7:34 PM on August 24, 2010

You can also try turning off any optional installers. If there is an option to customize the installation, go there and un-check some of the unnecessary stuff like additional languages etc.
posted by Gungho at 3:58 AM on August 25, 2010

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