Currently Being ModeratedMay 2, 2012 8:59 AM (in response to isles12)
There are several ways to back up a Mac that is unable to fully boot. You need an external hard drive to hold the backup data.
1. Boot from your recovery partition (10.7 or later), a local Time Machine backup volume (10.7.2 or later), or your installation disc (10.6.8 or earlier.) Launch Disk Utility and follow the instructions in the support article linked below, under “Instructions for backing up to an external hard disk via Disk Utility.”
2. If you have a working Mac, and both it and the non-working Mac have FireWire ports, boot the non-working Mac in target disk mode by holding down the key combination command-T at the startup chime. Connect the two Macs with a FireWire cable. The internal drive of the machine running in target mode will mount as an external drive on the other machine. Copy the data to another drive.
3. If the internal drive of the non-working Mac is user-replaceable, remove it and mount it in an external enclosure or drive dock. Use another Mac to copy the data.
Currently Being ModeratedMay 2, 2012 10:17 AM (in response to Linc Davis)
Thanks for the reply. It's actually my step-daughter's Mac, so I'm not sure what's on there - it's about 18 months old. Do you have instructions on how to boot via the recovery partition, time machine, etc.?
Currently Being ModeratedMay 2, 2012 10:38 AM (in response to isles12)
Create a bootable data recovery / removal drive
The object is to install OS X onto a blank powered eternal drive, then you can hold the option key to boot from it, thus allowing you to access the internal drive to remove files so OS X can boot normally from that drive again.
Firewire Target Disk Mode also can be used like Linc mentioned, but it requires another Mac and a cable + adapters if needed.
A external drive is less expensive and can be gotten at any computer or office store, can be repurposed later on as a storage drive to make room off the boot drive.
Also see this later to tune up the Mac other Tips, etc.
Currently Being ModeratedMay 2, 2012 11:09 AM (in response to ds store)
Thanks, all, again.
When I boot up in safe mode, I get nothing on the screen, but I am able to see the force quit applications, of which there are none. Are there other key combinations I can hit to perhaps get into files?
If not, it seems my best bet is to boot using my empty external hard drive. Is there an easy way getting OS X onto it?
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