Recovery from a crash mid-software update? (OSX)
October 5, 2006 12:28 AM   Subscribe

Power outage during an OS X software update -- how screwed am I?

I'll try to keep this brief: iMac running 10.2.5 -- it's been in storage for a while -- that I'm trying to bring up to snuff to pass along. Got the machine online and ran the Software Update. The OS update to 10.2.8 and 1.0 update to Safari downloaded and installed (or so said the Software Update screen) but in the middle of installing an iCal update the power went out. Since the computer is residing on my desk very temporarily, I neglected to plug it into my UPS. Consequently, the power outrage caused the computer to power down hard.

When the power came back and I restarted, the computer went through the OS X start process (it took a while to get past the grey on grey screen, but it got there eventually) and got to the point when the Finder should have started, desktop and dock become visible, etc. but I've got nada, just a blank blue screen. The mouse pointer is visible and responds to mouse action, but no keyboard commands are recognized and nothing else happens.

Thoughts and ideas on recovering from this mid-update crash?
posted by Dreama to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Occasionally, powering off the system and then powering it up again will work the second time - give that a try.

If it doesn't, you could try to archive and install, assuming you've got a system CD or DVD around.
posted by ikkyu2 at 1:24 AM on October 5, 2006

Definitely archive and install. It will keep all of your previous settings and your home folder and reinstall the system. You may have to reinstall some software, but typically it is seamless. On the plus side, you'll get a brand new clean system out of the experience.
posted by qwip at 4:22 AM on October 5, 2006

I read on MacFixIt that some who had issues with the last Tiger update -- not due to power outages, but to other weirdness -- found they could fix the situation by restarting in Safe Mode [hold down the shift key while booting]. Apparently in addition to not loading some extensions and whatnot, it also clears out some caches. Reboot again normally and hopefully Finder is back. If it is still acting odd, instead of the Archive and Install, you can grab the most recent Combined Updater dmg file from Apple and reinstall the update again. That would be much faster than having to reinstall the OS from the disk and then do the updates again.
posted by birdherder at 5:44 AM on October 5, 2006

I had the exact thing happen during a recent security update: something went blooey during the download/install and it apparently hosed something important -- maybe it happened after it deleted the old stuff but before it installed the new stuff, I dunno.

After some experimentation, the AppleCare service rep advised an archive-and-install routine, booting from the system restore disk. This did the trick, except that since it was an Intel iMac I had to reset the firmware again, and then redownload a couple hundred megabytes' worth of updates released since the computer was.
posted by mcwetboy at 6:09 AM on October 5, 2006

Best answer: ok no idea how techy you are but this always works for me in that situation (blue screen no login screen).

if you can boot from a external drive or boot that machine in target disk mode (hold down t key until you see the firewire logo come on the screen) then connect to another mac via a firewire cable. at that point the hard drive of the hosed machine should show up on the desktop. at this point, navigate to: /Library/Preferences
now find 2 files, and
dump those 2 in the trash, 95% of the time it will fix the problem you have.
any questions, feel free to email me.
posted by ShawnString at 7:12 AM on October 5, 2006

oh and if that doesnt work....archive and install.
posted by ShawnString at 7:13 AM on October 5, 2006

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