Boot up issue (can't get past black screen)

Tyler23

macrumors 603
Original poster
Dec 2, 2010
5,649
152
Atlanta, GA
Hi all,

My co-worker has an issue that has me stumped.

He has a 2011 MBP. As of this past weekend, every time he attempts to use his computer, he'll turn it on, and it will show the grey boot-up screen with the Apple logo, and then will change to a black screen. The funny thing is, he can see his mouse pointer on the screen and move it around, but he's stuck at that black screen.

He says his keyboard backlights still illuminate. He's tried booting into safe mode (worked once) and holding option-R, but that hasn't worked.

Any ideas what the issue might be, and what he can do to fix it?

Thanks!
 

DeltaMac

macrumors G3
Jul 30, 2003
9,606
2,352
Delaware
I wouldn't expect anything to happen when booting with Option-R
That's more likely Command-R, which, holding that on a restart, should boot to the recovery partition, and give you the choice to run Disk Utility, or reinstall OS X. The recovery partition may not exist for several reasons, such as a 2011 MBPro that came with Snow Leopard, and has not been upgraded to a newer OS X version.
Try restarting while holding the letter D - which should boot to the hardware diagnostics. You can run both the standard and extended tests.

If the OS X system is still Snow Leopard, then you may have a Snow Leopard installer DVD, which can be used to both test the hard drive, and reinstall OS X, if that is needed.
 

Tyler23

macrumors 603
Original poster
Dec 2, 2010
5,649
152
Atlanta, GA
I wouldn't expect anything to happen when booting with Option-R
That's more likely Command-R, which, holding that on a restart, should boot to the recovery partition, and give you the choice to run Disk Utility, or reinstall OS X. The recovery partition may not exist for several reasons, such as a 2011 MBPro that came with Snow Leopard, and has not been upgraded to a newer OS X version.
Try restarting while holding the letter D - which should boot to the hardware diagnostics. You can run both the standard and extended tests.

If the OS X system is still Snow Leopard, then you may have a Snow Leopard installer DVD, which can be used to both test the hard drive, and reinstall OS X, if that is needed.
Sorry should have mentioned he's running Mavericks. Does this change anything?
 

DeltaMac

macrumors G3
Jul 30, 2003
9,606
2,352
Delaware
Sorry should have mentioned he's running Mavericks. Does this change anything?
No, doesn't change anything. Option-R still wouldn't perform any system boot function. It's command-R. And, that doesn't guarantee that a Recovery system would exist, although it should.

If the hard drive is backed up with Time Machine, then there's an advantage with Mavericks - the Time Machine backup should be bootable, or you can erase/restore the hard drive with that.
I think the FIRST step would be Disk Utility to test the hard drive. If that has failed, then it would need to be replaced...
 

Tyler23

macrumors 603
Original poster
Dec 2, 2010
5,649
152
Atlanta, GA
No, doesn't change anything. Option-R still wouldn't perform any system boot function. It's command-R. And, that doesn't guarantee that a Recovery system would exist, although it should.

If the hard drive is backed up with Time Machine, then there's an advantage with Mavericks - the Time Machine backup should be bootable, or you can erase/restore the hard drive with that.
I think the FIRST step would be Disk Utility to test the hard drive. If that has failed, then it would need to be replaced...
Thanks for your help! I'll have him give that a try first. He does back up to Time Machine - he thinks the last backup might be about 40 days old but that shouldn't be a huge deal.

If the HD seems ok, how exactly would he go about booting from or erasing/restoring the HD with his backup?

Appreciate it!
 

DeltaMac

macrumors G3
Jul 30, 2003
9,606
2,352
Delaware
If the hard drive appears to test OK, then you can just reinstall OS X.
If you boot to the Time Machine backup, and decide that you want to eraser and restore, then you can erase the hard drive from Disk Utility, and use Time Machine to restore the drive.

I would suggest that the first step is to double-check that "command-R" does, or does not function, as I prefer to do that from the Recovery partition, if it exists.