7 Replies Latest reply: Feb 17, 2013 9:58 AM by Linc Davis
WhidbeyTomas Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

MacBook Pro, 2008. I downloaded the Mountain Lion update from the Apple store. I spent a few hours waiting for the download, then an hour for the installation, then a long time on restart. Then it locked up and I had to restart again. Now the processing symbol keeps rolling under the apple icon; it just won't start. Is there anything I can do about this?



MacBook, Mac OS X (10.5.7)
  • 1. Re: Can't restart after mountain lion installation
    WhidbeyTomas Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I should have noted that my upgrade is from Mac OS X 10.6.8 (not the 10.5.7 noted above).

  • 2. Re: Can't restart after mountain lion installation
    WhidbeyTomas Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    On a post from August 2012, a member with a similar problem was told to shut the machine down and try again. I've done that twice. Mountain Lion is not impressed.

  • 3. Re: Can't restart after mountain lion installation
    Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (118,510 points)

    Take each of these steps that you haven't already tried. Stop when the problem is resolved.

    Step 1
    The first step in dealing with a boot failure is to secure your data. If you want to preserve the contents of the startup drive, and you don't already have at least one current backup, you must try to back up now, before you do anything else. It may or may not be possible. If you don't care about the data that has changed since your last backup, you can skip this step.
    There are several ways to back up a Mac that is unable to boot. You need an external hard drive to hold the backup data.
    a. Boot into Recovery by holding down the key combination command-R at the startup chime, or from a local Time Machine backup volume (option key at startup.) Release the keys when you see a gray screen with a spinning dial. When the OS X Utilities screen appears, 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.”

    How to back up and restore your files

    b. If you have access to a working Mac, and both it and the non-working Mac have FireWire or Thunderbolt 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 or Thunderbolt 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. This technique won't work with USB, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth.

    How to use and troubleshoot FireWire target disk mode

    c. 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.

    Step 2

    Press and hold the power button until the power shuts off. Disconnect all wired peripherals except those needed to boot, and remove all aftermarket expansion cards. Use a different keyboard and/or mouse, if those devices are wired. If you can boot now, one of the devices you disconnected, or a combination of them, is causing the problem. Finding out which one is a process of elimination.

    If you've booted from an external storage device, make sure that your internal boot volume is selected in the Startup Disk pane of System Preferences.

    Step 3


    Boot in safe mode.* The instructions provided by Apple are as follows:


    • Shut down your computer, wait 30 seconds, and then hold down the shift key while pressing the power button.
    • When you see the gray Apple logo, release the shift key.
    • If you are prompted to log in, type your password, and then hold down the shift key again as you click Log in.


    Safe mode is much slower to boot and run than normal, and some things won’t work at all, including wireless networking on certain Macs.


    The login screen appears even if you usually log in automatically. You must know your login password in order to log in. If you’ve forgotten the password, you will need to reset it before you begin.


    *Note: If FileVault is enabled, or if a firmware password is set, or if the boot volume is a software RAID, you can’t boot in safe mode. Post for further instructions.


    When you boot in safe mode, it's normal to see a dark gray progress bar on a light gray background. If the progress bar gets stuck for more than a few minutes, or if the system shuts down automatically while the progress bar is displayed, your boot volume is damaged and the drive is probably malfunctioning. In that case, go to step 5.


    If you can boot and log in now, empty the Trash, and then open the Finder Info window on your boot volume ("Macintosh HD," unless you gave it a different name.) Check that you have at least 9 GB of available space, as shown in the window. If you don't, copy as many files as necessary to another volume (not another folder on the same volume) and delete the originals. Deletion isn't complete until you empty the Trash again. Do this until the available space is more than 9 GB. Then reboot as usual (i.e., not in safe mode.)


    If the boot process hangs again, the problem is likely caused by a third-party system modification that you installed. Post for further instructions.


    Step 4


    Sometimes a boot failure can be resolved by resetting the NVRAM.


    Step 5


    Launch Disk Utility in Recovery mode (see step 1.) Select your startup volume, then run Repair Disk. If any problems are found, repeat until clear. If Disk Utility reports that the volume can't be repaired, the drive has malfunctioned and should be replaced. You might choose to tolerate one such malfunction in the life of the drive. In that case, erase the volume and restore from a backup. If the same thing ever happens again, replace the drive immediately.


    This is one of the rare situations in which you should also run Repair Permissions, ignoring the false warnings it may produce. Look for the line "Permissions repair complete" at the end of the output. Then reboot as usual.


    Step 6


    Boot into Recovery again. When the OS X Utilities screen appears, follow the prompts to reinstall the OS. If your Mac was upgraded from an older version of OS X, you’ll need the Apple ID and password you used to upgrade.


    Note: You need an always-on Ethernet or Wi-Fi connection to the Internet to use Recovery. It won’t work with USB or PPPoE modems, or with proxy servers, or with networks that require a certificate for authentication.


    Step 7


    Repeat step 6, but this time erase the boot volume in Disk Utility before installing. The system should automatically reboot into the Setup Assistant. Follow the prompts to transfer your data from a backup.


    Step 8


    If you get this far, you're probably dealing with a hardware fault. Make a "Genius" appointment at an Apple Store to have the machine tested.

  • 4. Re: Can't restart after mountain lion installation
    WhidbeyTomas Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Linc, this looks like the kind of information I need. I have an external drive and the automatic back-up is set-up, but since I've been working away from that external hard-drive the back up hasn't been done for a couple of months (mea maxima culpa). So I'll have to follow your Utility Disc back up process.


    One concern, besides the feeling that long processes like this always lead me into black holes, is that my Time Machine back up has always worked automatically. I think it has been set to back up only what has been changed. The back up drive is vastly larger than the data on my Mac, but I'm not sure that what I do with the Utility disc will work with the Tiime Machine set-up. Though thinking this anxioius line of thought through, it shouldn't matter. If I overwrite everything on the time macine with everything on my Mac, then I should be OK.


    So, after restarting this nasty old XP to be sure it is running properly (or as close as it can to proper), I'll embark. I'll keep people posted on my progress, or lack there of. My problems began because some idiot employer showed interest in me and wanted me to meet using at&t Connect. The demon keeping employers away did all they could to prevent this. After wriggling out of every check that at&t connect the demon took its rage out on the Mac. Next it will attack the PC.

  • 5. Re: Can't restart after mountain lion installation
    Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (118,510 points)

    If I overwrite everything on the time macine with everything on my Mac, then I should be OK.


    Absolutely do not do that. You don't know what's on your startup volume now. The drive may have malfunctioned and your data could be corrupt. Don't overwrite any existing backup. Make a new backup to a different external drive. You need at least two backups anyway to be safe, even if nothing is wrong.

  • 6. Re: Can't restart after mountain lion installation
    WhidbeyTomas Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    "Absolutely do not do that." Right, that would be bad, promise not to. I'm doing a New Image of the Macintosh HD and copying it to a custom Backup folder on that external drive.


    I have no periphials, so the diagnostic steps for ruling those out were not run, thoug I did test start-up without the power cord (just in case).


    I had trouble finding the instructions for back-up. If you use this text again, replace

    '..follow the instructions in the support article linked below, under “Instructions for backing up to an external hard disk via Disk Utility.” 


    with, "Follow the instructions for back-up in this article. Once in the article, scroll to the heading, 'IInstructions for backing up to an external hard disk via Disk Utility,' and click to expand."


    The back-up instructions could be more explicit (I had trouble understanding where to indicate source and destination: The label "Where" could apply to either (I know, most people would get this much easier, but I was born to help people like myself).

    If anyone wants to try backing up a troubled drive using Disk Utility, check the following clarification on source/destination designations.

    Once in Disk Utility,

    1. Select the source drive (e.g., Macintosh HD in the folder panel on the left).
    2. Click the New Image icon on the menu bar.
    3. Enter a distictive name (e.g., BackUP_##_##_##).
    4. In the Where field, indicate the destination drive/folder.


    I varified that my disk had a few errors, and repaired them. Then I varified that the permissions were messed up. I spend hours attempting to repair them, and the utility claimed they were repaired. I then tried to start-up: still no-joy.


    I went back to the utility and performed the repair permissions again, but this time I noted some of the permissions errors. After failure and retry I confirmed that the permissions repair was pulling up the same errors and this means that the repair process just isn't working. So now, I'm thinking I need to insert the Snow Leapard installation disk and repair that system.


    Despite being an instrutional designer (could you tell?) I never followr instructons, so I skipped past the reset NVRAM step. I will try that next, and if that doesn't work, it seems all that is left is to restore the Snow Lepard system and try again with the Mountain Lion Installation (can't wait).


    If this seems like the best plan, do you think I should download the Mountain Lion upgrade files again (e.g., in case corruption during download was the problem)?

  • 7. Re: Can't restart after mountain lion installation
    Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (118,510 points)

    As stated under Step 5, permission repair may produce false warnings, which you should ignore.