Cannot access startup disk after failed OS install

cybershane

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 8, 2019
5
0
Hello all, I'm new here, as a member anyway. I have a problem with a friend's 2012 macbook pro. She was upgrading to Majove and now the computer is stuck at the apparently common "macOS could not be installed on your computer" message and now I'm expected to fix it, lol. I know there are many many posts about this problem not just on these forums but all over the internet cause trust me I have read them all before joining this forum to post my own. I need some help! This broken installation has taken over the laptop. Can not access or boot into Macintosh HD. When you turn it on it boots into the failed install message, I quit the installer and attempt to choose startup disk but nothing shows up. Holding "option" on boot only shows me "macOS Installer". I cannot boot safe mode. I've reset PRAM. There is no time machine backup to restore to. In disk utility Macintosh HD is grayed out and unmounted. I ran first aid on the drive itself, it completed fine but nothing changed. I've tried reinstalling macOS from recovery boot, it asks where I want to install it, I choose Macintosh HD, it asks for password to unlock the disk, after I enter it it "loads" for a few seconds and then the Macintosh HD drive disappears and it's back to asking where to install and only the recovery partition shows up this time. At this point I decided to just try to get into safe mode and then go from there. From googling I suspected I couldn't safe mode boot due to FireVault disk encryption. So I went about trying to disable that through terminal and it says "conversion progress: paused" and that's where I'm at now! I consider myself a tech savvy person but I'm at the breaking point lol She does not have any backups whatsoever and does have important stuff on the computer or I would've already wiped the drive and setup as new at this point. I'll take any and all advice you may can offer, thanks! I've taken several pics, hopefully I can upload them here.
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Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,176
5,530
Can you boot to the recovery partition?
(command-R at boot)

If you can get there, can you TURN OFF filevault encryption?
I'll bet that has a lot to do with it.
(I NEVER used filevault and never will.)

You'd better teach the girl sumthin' about backups.

Just wondering -- YOU are a Mac user, is this correct?
What kind of Mac do you have?

WHY I'm asking:
I'm wondering if it's possible to get connected to her MBP via target disk mode, and use an external drive to copy over her data files (home folder, etc.).
The object is to "protect her personal data".

Once you have this removed from the MBP internal drive, you can "nuke it and start over".
 

Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
29,141
8,808
California
Follow these steps. Boot holding command-option-r (all three at once). Select your wifi then you should see a spinning grey globe while the recovery utility downloads. If you don't see the spinning grey globe, you are not in Internet recovery and this won't work.

Once in recovery, start Disk Utility. Now right click the Macintosh HD volume and mount it. Enter the password when prompted. Now attach a USB3 external drive to MacBook and in Disk Utility select Apple HDD at the top then click the Restore button. Follow the prompts to restore the internal drive to the external. This will in effect clone one drive to the other.

Let me know if you can get that far, then I'll walk you through the rest.
 

cybershane

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 8, 2019
5
0
Can you boot to the recovery partition?
(command-R at boot)

If you can get there, can you TURN OFF filevault encryption?
I'll bet that has a lot to do with it.
(I NEVER used filevault and never will.)

You'd better teach the girl sumthin' about backups.

Just wondering -- YOU are a Mac user, is this correct?
What kind of Mac do you have?

WHY I'm asking:
I'm wondering if it's possible to get connected to her MBP via target disk mode, and use an external drive to copy over her data files (home folder, etc.).
The object is to "protect her personal data".

Once you have this removed from the MBP internal drive, you can "nuke it and start over".
Yes I can boot into recovery and was attempting to disable firevault via terminal but that’s what is stuck on “conversion progress: paused”. I have a MacBook Air. I’ve tried target disk mode, it pops up on my side asking for the password to her drive, I enter it and the box goes away as if the password was accepted but then the drive never shows up.
 

cybershane

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 8, 2019
5
0
Follow these steps. Boot holding command-option-r (all three at once). Select your wifi then you should see a spinning grey globe while the recovery utility downloads. If you don't see the spinning grey globe, you are not in Internet recovery and this won't work.

Once in recovery, start Disk Utility. Now right click the Macintosh HD volume and mount it. Enter the password when prompted. Now attach a USB3 external drive to MacBook and in Disk Utility select Apple HDD at the top then click the Restore button. Follow the prompts to restore the internal drive to the external. This will in effect clone one drive to the other.

Let me know if you can get that far, then I'll walk you through the rest.
So I got into internet recovery no problem, but it will not let me mount Macintosh HD. When I click unlock it sits there for about 20 seconds then the password window goes away but it is still unmounted. Clicking mount again doesn't do anything unless I reboot and start over and then it just does the same thing again
 

Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
29,141
8,808
California
So I got into internet recovery no problem, but it will not let me mount Macintosh HD. When I click unlock it sits there for about 20 seconds then the password window goes away but it is still unmounted. Clicking mount again doesn't do anything unless I reboot and start over and then it just does the same thing again
Hmm... you are in a bad way then to try and recover data. Was the the computer acting odd (really slow app launches etc) before all this. It almost sounds like you have a failing drive.
 

cybershane

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 8, 2019
5
0
Hmm... you are in a bad way then to try and recover data. Was the the computer acting odd (really slow app launches etc) before all this. It almost sounds like you have a failing drive.
If it was slow she probably didn't notice, it's been slow for a while just because of all the stuff on there. Is there a way to "unpause" the decryption process I had started in terminal? I'm hoping if I could get the drive unlocked maybe I could make some progress from there
 

chown33

Moderator
Staff member
Aug 9, 2009
8,356
4,335
Gourd City
If it was slow she probably didn't notice, it's been slow for a while just because of all the stuff on there. Is there a way to "unpause" the decryption process I had started in terminal? I'm hoping if I could get the drive unlocked maybe I could make some progress from there
If encryption was paused because the drive is failing, then unpausing encryption won't fix anything. Indeed, it's possible that the reason encryption was paused is because that process detected a drive failure, e.g. writing encrypted data was unable to read back exactly what was written.

In short, the paused encryption may be due to a failing disk. The failing disk is then the actual problem, and the paused encryption would just be a symptom of that underlying failure.
 
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Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,176
5,530
OP:

Is this a retina MacBook Pro? (no DVD drive)
or
Is it a non-retina MBP (has DVD on the right side).

If it's the NON-retina "unibody" model, you could very easily open the back, change out the internal drive for an SSD, and possibly get it back up and running that way.

You'll then have the old drive "in your hand", and you can get a USB3/SATA dongle adapter, connect it to the MBP, and "work on it" that way.

This will get your friend up-and-running again -- even if it remains problematical to "get at" the data on the old drive.
 

cybershane

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 8, 2019
5
0
OP:

Is this a retina MacBook Pro? (no DVD drive)
or
Is it a non-retina MBP (has DVD on the right side).

If it's the NON-retina "unibody" model, you could very easily open the back, change out the internal drive for an SSD, and possibly get it back up and running that way.

You'll then have the old drive "in your hand", and you can get a USB3/SATA dongle adapter, connect it to the MBP, and "work on it" that way.

This will get your friend up-and-running again -- even if it remains problematical to "get at" the data on the old drive.
It is non retina. I went ahead and ordered one of those sata to usb adapters.. been wanting one for a while anyway. Maybe I can get to her data that way