Cannot Boot into OS X or Safe Mode
August 27, 2014 6:06 AM   Subscribe

I am running OS X 10.8 on a mid 2007 MBP. Yesterday I noticed my laptop was running very hot, the screen was off and it wasn't responsive to the mouse/keyboard. I manually rebooted, and now I am unable to boot into OS X.

Possibly related. The other day I upgraded my XCode command line tools.

When I turn on the machine, I am greeted with a progress bar and the spinning wheel. After the progress bar finishes, the machine will eventually just turn itself off. But it is still there again when I turn the machine back on.

Holding shift after the boot sound to enter safe mode does not appear to do anything.

What's going on here and how can I fix it?
posted by prunes to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have you tried booting from the Recovery partition (hold command-R during boot)? You may not have one (there are certain system configurations that prevented the creation of the partition when upgrading to 10.7 and 10.8) but it's worth a try.
posted by bcwinters at 6:19 AM on August 27, 2014

I can boot to that but do not have a time machine backup to restore. Not sure how else to take advantage of this.
posted by prunes at 6:24 AM on August 27, 2014

It has Disk Utilities, you could run some checks and perhaps reinstall OS X if you have media.
posted by epo at 6:32 AM on August 27, 2014

Well, it's a good sign that your hardware isn't hosed!

First, you can run Disk Utility from there to check what's wrong with your main OS X partition. You may find some useful information there; just fixing some permissions may be enough to get you booted normally.

If that doesn't help, you can reinstall OS X from the recovery partition. It could take a while if it has to download the operating system from Apple, but it will get you up and running again. I can't remember off the top of my head what to do to make it install the system in place without wiping your data—I'm pretty sure that's the default, but make sure to read everything carefully before doing anything rash.

And then buy yourself an external hard drive and start doing Time Machine backups. Your computer is 7 years old and it's not going to last forever.
posted by bcwinters at 6:33 AM on August 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Press Option when you reboot, and see if you can select your boot volume.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:45 AM on August 27, 2014

Try booting into verbose mode to get more diagnostic info.
posted by chengjih at 7:28 AM on August 28, 2014

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