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My HD is full-So why wont OSX boot now !

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by wylie, Jul 16, 2004.

  1. macrumors member

    I didnt realise i was slowly reaching my max capacity on my 80gb HD....yesterday was all working and booting up as usual....

    I go to turn it on today and it just comes up with a grey screen..occasionally with a flashing question mark in the middle of the screen

    i tried to restore/re-install from the G4 Cd, but it wont let me overwrite OSX due to the maxed out HD ?!??

    I kinda need some advice on this one please

    ANY Help appreciated

  2. macrumors 68020


    Can you boot into OS 9 and delete some things?

    OS X does some odd things when you start getting low on disk space--like trashing preferences or keychains. I did it once on my iBook and that account never worked right again. I figure this has something to do with the page file--to create that it needs a lot of disk space.

    If you can't boot into 9, then you might be looking at single user and some fun with the command line. I'm really just taking guesses though. Maybe somebody who has been through this knows an easy way.

    You're not going to fill your drive again, right? Keep about 10% free at minimum.
  3. macrumors 68000


    What would you classify as 'almost full?'


    So I should keep 8GB free on iMac, but I should keep 50GB free on a G5?

    I think 10 GB should be enough, swap files only take up like ~4GB.
  4. macrumors 601


    If your startup disk gets really low on disk space (like 100mb or so) it should give you a warning message saying that there will be problems if you don't delete some stuff.
  5. macrumors 604


    It does.
    It also alarms you once it has reached exceptional low disk space, because running apps are no longer able to use more virtual memory, and a "force-quit" window will appear asking (no... begging) you to force-quit one of your running apps. And, ofcourse, the Mac will respond very, very slowly.

    IMHO, leaving 4 GB of free disk space should always keep you out of trouble.
    Once it gets below 1 GB, you gotta do something about it.
    Besides, once your disk is full, it will probably be fragmented too. Try to get a tool like Diskwarrior to defrag afterwards.
  6. macrumors member

    Second HD

    Yeah you could mess around with command line stuff, but is any of your data backed up? If not I would say get a second HD, can be anything really enough to install the OS, but I would recommend using it as a storage drive later on. Anyway boot up the machine from the new drive and then figure out how you want to organize your files from there.

    I have a 60gb HD for my OS and apps a bit overkill but it was the stock drive then I have a 80gb & 120gb for storage, set to backup, then archive to DVD's


  7. macrumors member

    could i not link up my G4 desktop to my G4 laptop via firewire....boot up the desk-top in target (firewire) mode and then delete some of the files from my desktop HD ???

    Whats the 'Hot-key' thingy to start up in target mode - press 'T' whilst booting up ??
  8. macrumors 604


  9. macrumors 68020


    10% isn't a hard and fast rule, but it's a good estimate for the currently shipping 30-80GB drives. I'm not used to these new fangled 100GB+ drives. I'm never comfortable with under 5GB free. You never know when you'll forget how little space you have and try to do something big. Then again, if you stay away from video editing that's not such a big problem.

    When it's really critical you'll get a warning.
  10. macrumors member

    OK, so i tried to boot up in target mode, and it wont have ANY of it ?

    Can someone PLease re-assure me that theres a way of getting around this ??!? i dont fancy loosing allllll of my work

    any other suggestions, or any one else in a similar situation

    PS - i never ever recieved a warning about low disk space ??
  11. macrumors 68020


    I was a little uncertain at first, but now it sounds like there are far stranger things going on than just a full disk.

    Try resetting your PRAM and firmware and see if that gets you anywhere. Hold command option P R when booting. Hold it until you hear the startup chime 4 times. Then hold command option O F until you get a white screen with text telling you to let go. Type reset-nvram and hit enter. Then type reset-all and hit enter. The computer will reboot and hopefully will behave. Let us know.
  12. macrumors 604


    It doesn't boot in Target Disk mode?
    Or does it boot as a Target Disk, but won't mount on the Laptop?

    Tried a Mac OS 9 bootable CD?
    As in startup the G4 using a Mac OS 9.x bootable CD. Boot the Laptop in Target Disk mode, connected to the G4 via FireWire... Hopefull both the volumes wil mount, and you can start your copy process.

    Good luck.
  13. macrumors 604


    Another possibility....

    Try booting in "Single User Mode", that is boot with < COMMAND > and < S > held down.
    You'll get the CLI mode...

    When it's done (pretty fast), type:
    fsck -y < ENTER >

    It will try to check and repair the HFS+ volume.

    If it won't because it is Journaled, type:
    fsck -fy < ENTER >

    Same check, but forced.

    If it says "cannot find command" orso, the type:

    /sbin/fsck -y

    When done, and if repaired, type
    reboot < ENTER >

    CONTINUE TO REPEAT THE "fsck -y" STEPS FOLLWED BY "reboot" UNTIL MESSAGE IS "The volume <your boot HD> appears to be O.K."

    Hopefully this will "fix" the HD

    Good luck again.
  14. macrumors member

    cool, have just read the suggestions so will give these a go, will let you know

    im hoping one the mentioned ideas work....i got a data recovery quote today for between £695 and £995 ........ !!! **EEEK**

    PS-IS there any way i can tell if my hard-drive has completly failed ?? any tell-tale signs, and also why HD's fail

    PPS - ah yes, i dont know if this makes any difference , but the last time i switched off my (working) computer, was in OS9? willlthis make any difference to the start-up 'hot keys' etc>

  15. macrumors 68020


    No difference in startup key combinations. They're not related to the OS or the hard drive.

    Do you have the hardware test CD that came with your Mac? Boot from that, run the diagnostics, and it will tell you a few things about your hard drive.

    Drive fail from age mostly. They're constantly moving, have close tolerances, have ball-bearings. They're a lot better than they used to be but they'll still croak eventually. They usually tell you when trouble is afoot though--listen for clicking when the drive reads or writes and watch out for the flashing folder when booting. Those are both good signs that your drive is on it's last legs.

    Just so we're clear on target disk mode: You connect both computers via Firewire. Boot the laptop normally. Boot the desktop holding the T key until you get the firewire symbol on your monitor. Your desktop drive should then mount on the laptop's desktop. Are you doing anything different than this? What sorts of errors or behavior are you getting?

    What kind of G4 is your desktop? If it's a PowerMac you could add another drive easily and work from that--if you have a spare drive around. Do you have access to another PowerMac? You could mount your drive in another PM and access it from there.
  16. macrumors member

    @ Horrortaxi, i often connect my laptop and desktop using firewire, target mode etc, this time it just wont boot up in target mode on my desktop

    I have run the hardware check from the CD twice, and each time the diagnostic check reveals an error in 'Mass storage'

    I also ran disk-utility, and the hard-drive dosnt even show up !!

    IM feearing the worst now !
  17. macrumors 68020


    Yeah, it's starting to look bad. Did your mass storage error give any specific information?

    Simple basic stupid free stuff--is your hard drive plugged in? Jumpered correctly? If you haven't touched it it should be, but press on the connections to be sure.

    This is starting to look like a job for Disk Warrior. I've heard some miricle stories about it. Off hand I can't remember hearing about drives that wouldn't show up under Disk Utility though. I've seen drives that wouldn't mount that got saved--but Disk Utility could see them as far as I know. Maybe somebody is more experienced with DW than I am. If the disk is physically damaged I don't think there's anything short of a data recovery service.

    I don't want to rub salt in your wound, but the value of backups should be obvious now. Sorry, I had to mention it.

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