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Trouble updating Mac Book fr omOS X 10.5.8 OS x 10.6.3.  Need help

447 Views 13 Replies Latest reply: Dec 23, 2012 7:54 PM by Trane Francks RSS
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Dec 19, 2012 10:20 PM

I am trying to update my daughter's MacBook from OS x 10.5.8.  I bought an Apple disk to update it to OS X 10.6.3, Snow Leopard.  The install failed at 23 minutes due to some error.  I restarted, and it tried to resume the update, but it stopped again with a message asking where I wanted to install the OS.  The only option was the Mac HD, so that is what I selected.  Then it said that the new system could not be installed on that HD.  I tried restarting several times, but it never got beyond where it stopped.  Then I decided to try to get back to the initial conditions.  In Utilities, I selected the Mac HD for startup.  Now it won't do anything.  When I press start the Apple shows on the screen for about 2 1/2 minutes, then the system just shuts down.



So here I am with a computer that won't start and the new system disk still in the DVD reader.



Help!  How to I revive this computer?  Luckily I convinced my daughter to run Time Machine before doing any of this.  So perhaps I need to use that, but right now I can't even boot up the computer.  Help!



The computer is a MacBook 13.3/2.4 with 2 GB RAM and 250 GB HD






  • mende1 Level 10 Level 10 (89,480 points)

    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

  • frederic1943 Level 6 Level 6 (9,970 points)

    Did you have the retail Snow Leopard disc like this?


    Rather than the gray install discs. These discs are machine specific and will only work with the model of Mac that they shipped with.

    10.5 Gray Disks.jpg

  • Trane Francks Level 2 Level 2 (205 points)

    Hi, Seeker.


    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.

  • Trane Francks Level 2 Level 2 (205 points)



    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.



  • Trane Francks Level 2 Level 2 (205 points)

    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.



  • Trane Francks Level 2 Level 2 (205 points)



    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:


    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.

  • Trane Francks Level 2 Level 2 (205 points)



    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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