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Fri, 01 Jul 2011

Dead MacBook

For a couple of weeks, I had a dead MacBook on my hands (flippers?). I thought I'd write up a quick weblog post, as I've not found much information on the particular problem I had. I'm not certain how common it is, but anyway...

The only symptom was this: the MacBook (1st generation, for what it's worth) would not boot. I got past the Apple start up screen, on to the blue startyp screen. This alternated between a blank blue screen, and one with a circular progress bar. And got no further. I was able to boot from both the Mac OS X DVD and from a Linux live CD -- ELive CD. This showed at least that it was not a hardware problem such as dead RAM.

Initially, I had thought that it was just a dead hard disc, but I was able to mount it okay with the Linux live cd. In addition, I was able to use Disk First Aid on the Mac OS X install DVD, which found no problems with it.

The problem seemed to have just been a software issue -- my guess is it was just a few corrupt startup files. I'm not really certain what caused this -- it could be an early warning of looming hardware problems, or it could just be bad luck. In any case, the only way I found to get it to boot was to reformat and reinstall OS X. Luckily, I had a Time Machine backup of my user files and settings (unfortunately not of the whole system), so this was easy enough. There was an option to transfer files from a Time Machine backup at the point in the OS set up where you can transfer your information from another Mac, and this worked smoothly enough.

Now I just have to hope it keeps behaving itself...

posted at: 01:50 | path: /computing/mac | permanent link to this entry

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