Macbook Won't Boot
November 27, 2010 4:44 PM   Subscribe

Macbook won't boot up. Laptop doesn't get past the chime/blue apple logo boot screen. I need your help Hive!

It's a 2.13GHZ White Macbook. It's about 4 years old. Here's the problem:

I was going to pass the laptop over to a family member so I wanted to give it a fresh factory setting reset.

First plan was to do it by booting from OSX CD, deleting everything etc then installing Snow Leopard from fresh. But the problem was that I wasn't able to read the CD, let alone boot from it. Whenever I put the CD in, it would whir, go quiet and then just automatically eject it. Same thing when I try to boot from CD, it whirrs and ejects. The CD is completely fine, and I was able to do it from other macs. I therefore thought it might be a problem with the Superdrive.

Change of plan,instead I decided to delete everything by creating a new admin account, then deleting my original account. That seemed to be okay. That is until I restarted which is when bad things happened namely:

1) The laptop now doesn't get past the bootscreen. I've tried to reset PRAM (?) as per online advice googled.
2) I now see a progress bar on the blue 'apple logo' bootscreen and can't get past this stage.

I tried again to boot from OSX CD, but the same problems persist (ejects).

At my disposal is my old Hard drive, install disks, Snow Leopard discs. Basically, I have no idea what to do. Help me, MeFi! Thank you beautiful people.
posted by freud to Computers & Internet (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Sounds like your CD drive is dead and probably needs to be replaced. I'm not sure about the failure to boot normally, though. You may have a much bigger problem that just a dead CD drive. Take it to an Apple store.
posted by yeolcoatl at 4:46 PM on November 27, 2010

Try a verbose boot (Cmd+V after the chime) and see what's crapping out?

Do you have another Mac?
posted by holgate at 4:50 PM on November 27, 2010

Things to try: previously.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:59 PM on November 27, 2010

Response by poster: More info:

Earlier, after it wouldn't boot from OSX but before this massive problem, I tried playing an audio CD with the laptop. It worked.

Here's a picture from the verbose boot:

Ignore the Vs on the Bluetooth and Bug line, that was just me accidentally holding v after it came up.
posted by freud at 5:01 PM on November 27, 2010

I'm not into a lot of troubleshooting on a mac so my questions here are meant to serve as a guidelines perhaps for others who read through and what I can help you with from my recent experience of faulty memory.

Any external cd drive? that you can perhaps borrow and run disc utility off the snow leopard disc from?

Tried booting in safe mode?

Do you have memtest installed? - u could boot into single user mode and use the root - unfortunately I am not sure what else you could do with single user mode which would take you to root.

My best guess (from a limited education perspective) is that you are having a logic board issue and not a hard drive one. Perhaps as a final alternative, try replacing the hard drive?

Also post on or
posted by iNfo.Pump at 5:02 PM on November 27, 2010

Seconding holgate's suggestion of verbose boot to see where the boot process is having trouble.

If you have another Mac, or a friend who has another Mac, or etc., you might be able to put your machine into "target disk mode" (hold down T while booting), in which it acts like an external firewire drive. You can then install OSX on your Mac, from another Mac, even if the current contents of your hard drive are completely fux0red.

But it sounds like there might be some deeper problem, since I wouldn't expect your "create a new admin account and delete the old account" process to have kept the machine from booting.
posted by hattifattener at 5:02 PM on November 27, 2010

Oops, before you do the hard drive replacement: Try removing one of the memory modules and doing a boot then swap it out for the other one and see if you get the same result
posted by iNfo.Pump at 5:04 PM on November 27, 2010

On lack-of-preview, I see your verbose boot. Since there isn't anything on the disk you want to keep, I recommend wiping the disk and reinstalling, which should fix the filesystem corruption that's preventing boot right now. It's unfortunate that the superdrive seems to be broken(?), but target disk mode should still work.
posted by hattifattener at 5:05 PM on November 27, 2010

Response by poster: I'm having trouble getting it to boot into safe mode. It's just refuses to do it and the progress bar occurs.

Thanks hattifattner, I'll try swapping out the HD and or/another mac.
posted by freud at 5:08 PM on November 27, 2010

Response by poster: hattifattner, how would I go about wiping the disk without being able to boot?
posted by freud at 5:10 PM on November 27, 2010

Target disk mode, like I said earlier.
posted by hattifattener at 5:22 PM on November 27, 2010

Yeah, the verbose boot is showing a crapped-out fsck, meaning that it's trying to repair a filesystem error and failing. If you wanted to keep the OS installation, it'd probably be DiskWarrior time, but since you don't, wiping and reinstalling with it mounted on another Mac via Target Disk Mode is your best option.
posted by holgate at 6:09 PM on November 27, 2010

If it makes you feel any better most likely the error you are getting has nothing to do with your account removal. I'm guessing it would have eventually happened to you regardless.

The fact that it will play a music CD, but fails on a data one isn't uncommon.

If you booted it several times from CD you might get lucky and have it actually catch and finish, but I doubt it.

If you don't have a second mac to use in target mode you could always boot this one from an external drive, but chances are you don't have an OS on yours. It's a good thing to keep around.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:36 PM on November 27, 2010

I don't know if any Mac can do this, but Airs can boot off a DVD that's in another Mac's drive on the same network. Perhaps this works for Macbooks, too?

Here's how it works for a Mac Air.
posted by zippy at 7:58 PM on November 27, 2010

zippy, not a bad idea, but I am pretty certain that since he has a macbook and not a macbook pro that this won't work. I could be wrong.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:09 PM on November 27, 2010

I think all Macs (since a long while ago) will netboot, but they might only be able to netboot over a wired ethernet connection. I'm pretty sure that the install-via-netboot business will work for any mac that netboots in the first place.

(I had thought that the nice GUI netboot server half of the equation was OSXServer-only, but apparently not?)
posted by hattifattener at 10:36 PM on November 27, 2010

It seems you have two problems with that hardware.

A) your DVD isn't reading DVDs, but it is reading CDs
B) your hard drive is throwing errors, which may or may not be a sign of hardware failure.

Since you can't bit from the DVD, and your system is throwing fsck errors (I'm basing this on everrything above), the only way you're likely to be able to even examiine/ work on this is with the assistance of a second Macintosh.

Google "target disk mode". Basically, you'll boot ith the F key down, for FireWire, and your machine will permit you to boot from another system (as if it was an external HD.). You'll use the second mac to install the OS.
posted by filmgeek at 5:42 AM on November 28, 2010

I think it's actually the T key, for Target.

Or at least that what I always hold down and it works for me.
posted by Grangousier at 6:25 AM on November 28, 2010

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