5 Replies Latest reply: Mar 12, 2008 11:51 AM by ndelc
ndelc Level 1 Level 1 (120 points)
My wife's new MacBook won't start up. It crashed earlier today and when she tried to restart it, it got as far as the gray Apple logo and the spinning gear and then it reboots again. I booted it with the Leopard install disc and two strange things happened.

1. When the installer first opens, it gives me an error that says I cannot install Mac OS X on this computer. This is a 3 month old MacBook that shipped with Leopard, but it's telling me that OS X can't be installed.

2. When I run verify or repair permissions with Disk Utility from the Leopard disc, I almost immediately get an error stating "The underlying task reported failure on exit". When I try to verify or repair the disk, it says everything is fine.

The HD appears to be fine. I can access it from Firewire Target Disk Mode and everything is still there. I can also boot into Single User Mode, but not Safe Mode.

The night before the crash I made a change to the HD permissions via "Get Info". I copied the "Read/Write" settings to all enclosed folders because it was telling me that it couldn't install Flashplayer because I didn't have sufficient permission, even though she has an Admin account. After the change, Flashplayer installed just fine and everything was OK until this afternoon when she had a kernel panic while iChatting. iChat was the only program open at the time. She rebooted and hasn't gotten past the gray Apple logo since. I read in some other threads about people having the same issue after accidently setting HD permissions to "none". One suggestion was to use Firewire Target Disk Mode to open the drive with another computer and change the permissions back. I tried that, and the drive opened just fine, as I mentioned, but the permissions didn't appear to be set in a way that would cause problems. I set all of them to read/write and applied them to all enclosed folders just to be sure, but nothing changed when I rebooted.

Any other suggestions will be much appreciated. Thanks!

2.4ghz MacBook Pro, Dual 2.5ghz G5 Power Mac, 667mhz TiBook, Mac OS X (10.5.2)
  • nerowolfe Level 6 Level 6 (13,070 points)
    ndelc wrote:


    The night before the crash I made a change to the HD permissions via "Get Info". I copied the "Read/Write" settings to all enclosed folders because it was telling me that it couldn't install Flashplayer because I didn't have sufficient permission, even though she has an Admin account.


    Usually the last thing we did is the cause of a new issue. Making rote changes to the BSD without actually understanding what these changes do can often render an OS unusable.
    You probably have to boot into the Leopard DVD and create a new administrator account and then use the terminal to undo what you did.
  • ndelc Level 1 Level 1 (120 points)
    When I looked at the permissions for the HD in FW Target Disk mode, it was set to:

    System: Read/Write
    Admin: Read/Write
    Everyone: Read Only

    Nothing there indicates that it should be locking her account out.

    How do you create a new admin account from the Leopard DVD? It wouldn't allow me to do much of anything except Disk Utility.

    Would it be possible to attempt to change things back by booting into single user mode? If so, what do I need to do?

    Thanks for your help!
  • nerowolfe Level 6 Level 6 (13,070 points)
    ndelc wrote:
    When I looked at the permissions for the HD in FW Target Disk mode, it was set to:

    System: Read/Write
    Admin: Read/Write
    Everyone: Read Only

    This is not your problem unless you have changed the r/w for special accounts elsewhere.
    I have the same on my HD. But it's the individual files that are important.

    Nothing there indicates that it should be locking her account out.
    How do you create a new admin account from the Leopard DVD? It wouldn't allow me to do much of anything except Disk Utility.

    I have not done it so I don't know, but there is a way to create a new administrator account using the DVD. Search these forums because I know others have done it.
    Would it be possible to attempt to change things back by booting into single user mode? If so, what do I need to do?

    I am not sure you can even boot into the Single User mode, or do you mean the Super User mode?
    You have taken write privs away from everyone so I believe only a Super User can fix it. I am not even sure the Sudo will work in your case.
    Thanks for your help!

    If you find out how to access your drive from the Leopard DVD, you need to invoke SU privileges and undo whatever it was you did.

    Were you using Time Machine? That would make fixing it a piece of cake. Just revert to the last backup before you made these changes.

    Message was edited by: nerowolfe
  • ndelc Level 1 Level 1 (120 points)
    The permissions:

    System: Read/Write
    Admin: Read/Write
    Everyone: Read Only

    were originally set this way. The only thing I did was to click "Apply these settings to enclosed folders" when it wouldn't allow me to install Flashplayer. I have three other Macs in the house and they're all set this way, and were by default. Before this problem started, I didn't make any changes to "Everyone" whatsoever. Regardless, I was able to change the permissions for "Everyone" to "Read/Write" through FW Target Disk Mode, but it didn't help.

    I was able to boot into Single User Mode by holding down command-S when booting. I was able to run the disk repair that way (which still said the disk was fine) but I don't know enough about UNIX to go messing around in there.

    Unfortunately she hasn't been using Time Machine. This is her work computer and they aren't set up for that.

    I was able to get all of her files off through FW Target Disk Mode, so I'd be happy to simply re-install Leopard but for some reason it says it can't be installed, even though it shipped with Leopard.

    Thanks for your help. Sorry if I was harsh in the previous post on the other thread.