Need some more details to help...
When you booted to the recovery partition (command + r), and brought up Disk Utility, when you tried to repair the hard drive, what happened? Were there any error messages?
When you try a safe boot (boot with shift key down), what happens?
When you tried to reload OS X through recovery, what happened?
Sounds like you may have seen this Apple note on booting with the gray screen/spinning wheel.
You didn't mention if you did a PRAM reset:
- Shut down your Mac.
- Locate the following keys on the keyboard: Command (⌘), Option, P, and R. You will need to hold these keys down simultaneously in step 4.
- Turn on the computer.
- Press and hold the Command-Option-P-R keys before the gray screen appears.
- Hold the keys down until the computer restarts and you hear the startup sound for the second time.
- Release the keys.
Thanks BGreg. I will try to answer your questions as best as I can.
1.The Disk Utility gave me the following message: Error Partition map repair failed while adjusting structures to fit current whole disk size.
2. When I tired safe boot, it brought me to my login window where I entered my password and then I got the gray screen with the spinning gear again.
3. I tried to reload OS X a few times most of the times it just froze, one time I got the message that I didn't have enough space to reload it. However, I know I had about 90G of free space prior to this.
4. I tried the PRAM reset per your suggestion but that only brought me to the gray screen without having to enter my password.
Hope this helps and you can solve my issue. I have a computer in my cart ready to press send but I am concerned if I do that I will never recover my data.
Is your MacBook older, say pre-mid-2011 or newer? Or put another way, did it come with OS X 10.7 Lion or OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion?
When you boot to the recovery partition, and bring up Disk Utility, when you clicked the first aid tab and Repair Disk, did you do that on the volume and/or the partition? The volume would be the left-most entry, with the partition indented below that. You can repair both. Did you try repairing both?
It's too early to say that the hard drive has unrecoverable issues. Typically, when there are hard drive issues that Disk Utility can't repair, the next step is Disk Warrior (assuming there's not an obvious hardware issue). Some use TechTool Pro, but Disk Warrior has been the greater tool of choice for disk repairs.
If you can, it would be good to run the Apple Hardware Test. If your MacBook came with OS X 10.6 or prior, you have the original OS X disk to run the hardware test (the disk that says in small print on the label 'AHT Version x.x' is the one to use). If your MacBook came with Lion/Mtn Lion, you didn't get any DVD's, and should follow the steps in the Apple note. If you're able to run this, it will help determine whether there is a hardware issue with the hard drive. If not, then Disk Warrior can likely fix the drive. The hardware test can take over an hour, depending on how much memory you have installed.
BGreg, my macbook is mid 2009, I don't remember which system it came with but I am currently running Mountain Lion 10.8.?. As for my disks, unfortunately they are in a storage locker in Virginia and I am in Nova Scotia, Canada (working). I did try the AHT previously, did not know what it was but read it somewhere. It just goes to my login screen, I suspect now its because I need the disks. I am willing to purchase the Disk Warrior software, if I can find a download location in Canada, but I am wondering if I download it, will I be able to access it in order to run the program? Currently Safari is the only thing I can get to. I appreciate your help with this BGreg, I see you are quite busy with all the posts you reply to. Thanks.