Currently Being ModeratedDec 19, 2012 10:22 PM (in response to seeker45)
As she made a backup, start from the Snow Leopard disc, go to Utilities > Disk Utility, select Macintosh HD in the sidebar, erase the disk and install Snow Leopard.
If it doesn't work, do the same with the Mac OS X disc that came with the Mac
Currently Being ModeratedDec 19, 2012 10:42 PM (in response to seeker45)
Currently Being ModeratedDec 19, 2012 11:44 PM (in response to mende1)
I can't do that, at least not in the present state. After I tried to restart using the Mac HD, the computer won't even boot up all the way. The screen shows the Apple logo for about 2 1/2 minutes, and then shuts down on its own.
So my first problem is getting the computer to launch again.
Currently Being ModeratedDec 19, 2012 11:50 PM (in response to frederic1943)
I didn't see the disk, because my daughter loaded it into the machine before I got to even touch it. However, it is probably the one having the picture of the snow leopard, since I just purchased it from Apple for $ 20 as an update disk for our earlier Mac Book. It has the same snow leopard photo on the box it came in. But please clarify your statement. Is it the gray disks that are maching specific, or the disk with the snow leopard photo on it?
Do you know any way to get the disk out of the machine, given that I can't even get the computer to fully launch any more? Please see my response above to mendel.
Currently Being ModeratedDec 20, 2012 12:45 AM (in response to seeker45)
Sorry to hear about your trouble! At the moment, you cannot boot from the Macintosh HD because the installation of the OS failed. This means your boot partition is in a non-bootable, corrupted state. The first thing you'll want to do is boot from your Snow Leopard DVD (press C at the startup tone) and then use the Disk Utility to repair your disk and repair your permissions. Once that's done, reboot and, again, boot to the DVD. Try the installation of Snow Leopard onto the Macintosh HD again and with luck it will complete this time.
Good luck and let us know how it goes.
Currently Being ModeratedDec 20, 2012 11:40 AM (in response to Trane Francks)
Thanks for your suggestion. I was able to get the computer to boot up, and I used the Disk Utility to try to repair the Mac HD disk. However, after several tries, the Disk Utility was unable to make the repairs. The Utility recommended that I back up as many files as possible, and then reformat the disk, and then restore the files. Luckily I had my daughter run Time Machine before trying to update the OS, so all of her files should be safe.
But is there any way I can verify that all of her files are safely backed up before I reformat the HD? If somehow the back-up was unsuccessful and I reformat the HD, then everything will be lost. I know with Windows machines one can use applications such as GetDataBack to recover "lost" data on a HD (I used it once myself). Even if the Mac HD is unable to run the system software, it might be good to keep it as-is in case the restore via Time Machine doesn't work. I could always try to recover the data on the Mac HD using a Mac version of GetDataBack, if such an application exists.
Obviously, there is a lot at stake for my daughter in this situation, and I want to be careful before doing anything, such as reformatting the HD, that cannot be reversed. For example, maybe it would be safest and most cost-effective just to buy a new HD for the Mac Book. At least we would still have the existing HD if we ever needed to try to recover the needed data.
What is your advice?
Currently Being ModeratedDec 20, 2012 12:17 PM (in response to seeker45)
If you have another Mac in the household, you could try directly mounting the sparsebundle on the Time Machine drive, but I'm not sure if there are consequences in doing so. The problem is that while you can manually navigate and examine a TM backup, it doesn't give you a big-picture view that lets you determine whether the backup is current or integral. The folder structure is complex and does not look like what your Macintosh HD volume looks like. So, the short answer: I don't think it's possible.
If you have another Mac in the household, you could try mounting your daughter's Mac volume in target disk mode (with a Firewire cable) and then using Disk Utility to clone your daughter's hard disk to an external USB drive. This would give you a means of preserving what's left of the file system before you nuke-n-pave her MacBook. In fact, you might be able to skip the whole target mode business and just copy the hard disk via Disk Utility by booting to your Snow Leopard DVD and having an external USB drive 250GB or bigger attached. The following article will help you with that process:
Once you've got your MacBook's HDD copied for safekeeping, my advice is a complete nuke-n-pave of the file system with a completely fresh install of Snow Leopard. When you create the first account on your new Snow Leopard installation, create a different user name than your daughter's login. Use this first account and run the migration utility to import your daughter's account from the Time Machine backup. Assuming the TM backup is complete and current, she'll have all her files and applications restored and in place. This article should help:
After that's done, you can go into System Preferences - > Accounts, ensure your daughter's login has Administrator privileges and then log into the box with her account. Once you're satisfied that all is normal on her account, you may, from her account, go into System Preferences - > Accounts and delete the account you used to migrate her account from Time Machine.
The last thing ...
Once you've got your MacBook all spiffy and happy, you'll want to archive your Time Machine backup to another disk as a safe snapshot of your Leopard installation. Archiving in Snow Leopard is handled via the AirPort Utility for Time Capsule-based backups. In Airport Utility, click on your TC and then click the Manual button. Click the Disks button/tab, Disks and then click on Time Capsule Disk, Archive and follow the instructions.
If the TM backup is a different disk, you've got a different path ... This article can help, but note that you'll probably want to keep using your existing TM backup drive:
Lots and lots and lots to digest here. Best of luck! I really hope you get it all sorted out without any data loss.
Currently Being ModeratedDec 20, 2012 12:20 PM (in response to seeker45)
And, yes, if it's an option, simply pulling her existing drive and installing fresh onto a brand new unit is a wonderfully safe means of preserving the HDD in its current state. It's also an opportunity for you to upgrade her system to an SSD or larger, fresh mechanical/hybrid drive.
Currently Being ModeratedDec 23, 2012 5:22 PM (in response to Trane Francks)
Thanks for your advice. I have a question regarding this suggestion: "you might be able to skip the whole target mode business and just copy the hard disk via Disk Utility by booting to your Snow Leopard DVD and having an external USB drive 250GB or bigger attached." I followed the link you attached, and I found it very helpful. I purchased a new 1 TB portable hard drive from Seagate, which said it was compatible with PCs and Macs. I followed the instructions to image the problematic hard drive in my daughter's Mac onto the new Seagate drive, but I found that the HD is somehow set for "read only." I verified this by trying the same HD on another Mac Book in our family.
I am trying to get info from Seagate on how to change the HD so I can write on it. But it occurred to me that this may be a Mac-related problem, in which case I might get some helpful advice from this forum. That is the purpose of this message.
FYI, the HD is a Seagate Backup Plus, STBU1000102. Both of our Macs are running OS 10.5.8. In fact, the beginning of our troubles was when I wanted to update one of the Macs to Snow Leopard 10.6.8 with an update disk I purchased from Apple.
Currently Being ModeratedDec 23, 2012 5:30 PM (in response to seeker45)
One more thing -- the Seagate HD is formatted for NTFS. I saw comment on Apple forums stating that the new HD will have to be erased and reformatted by a Mac computer (this is fine since the disk presently has nothing of value) or converte to MS-DOS(FAT) format.
Any suggestions here?
Currently Being ModeratedDec 23, 2012 5:58 PM (in response to seeker45)
Yeah, you'll definitely want to reformat the drive as "Mac OS Extended (Journaled)" with a GUID partition table. The read-only aspect is an artifact of it being an NTFS partition and the Mac simply needs its native file system format to function properly.
You can reformat the drive from your daughter's MacBook booted to the Snow Leopard install DVD using Disk Utility. Once it's formatted correctly, you should be able to do the backup without trouble.
If you're not planning to install a new HDD on the system, I highly recommend running hardware diagnostics on the system prior to going through the pain of an install again. The initial SL install may very well have failed because the HDD is in the process of going to the Great Beyond. Diags should help you figure out the SMART status of the disk and whether it's even viable for use.
If you're really feeling techie, one of my favourite tools for determining HDD health is Ultimate Boot CD: http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/
If you create a bootable CD of this utility, you can run a RAM-based Linux called Parted Magic that will expose the SMART status of the disk and let you know what its condition is just by clicking on the Disk icon on the desktop and then selecting the volume you need to check. I've found it to be pretty foolproof.
Currently Being ModeratedDec 23, 2012 7:56 PM (in response to Trane Francks)
I did try reformatting, using first the FAT (so the disk could be shared with my PCs) and then with the Mac OS Extended (Journaled) that you recommended. The reformatting went ok, based in the "info" I now get for that HD. The "info" also explicitly states that the disk is now writable.
However, I still cannot complete a successful image process. Every time I try, the process stops within a minute or so with one type of problem or another. The most recent time the error message said "unable to create Macintosh HD.dmg (input/output error). I was wondering whether I could image just portions of the HD, for example all of my daughters documents, music, videos, and other personal files. The suspicion was that maybe whatever in the HD prevents me from booting with that disk also precludes generating a successful image. But I couldn't find a way to image just a portion of the HD.
The good news is that I was able to open many of the files using the Disk Utility, and it appears that all of the information is still there. So next I will see if I can find a way to just directly copy the files in the Mac HD that seem most significant, e.g. irreplaceable data files, as opposed to applications that can be reloaded from available CDs.
By the way, I don't think I experienced enough to use the "techie" approach you outlined.
Any other thoughts or suggestions?
Currently Being ModeratedDec 23, 2012 7:54 PM (in response to seeker45)
Man, this is turning out to be a tough slog for you. Sorry about the problems.
From here, I think the only viable solution is to replace the drive in the MacBook with a new one. Take the existing drive and use it as a last-ditch archive of files. Install Snow Leopard on the fresh HDD and then use the Migration Assistant to import your daughter's account, files and apps from the Time Machine backup as detailed earlier in the thread.
With any luck, you won't need the problem hard disk ever. If you do for some reason, you can mount it in an external USB case and then access its file system that way.
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