Cannot reinstall Mac OS holding 'C' button

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by ilovemacs80, Nov 6, 2009.

  1. ilovemacs80 macrumors newbie

    Nov 6, 2009
    Hi there everyone,

    After buying a time capsule, my macbook air went "tits up" and gave me the circle of death with a line through it ("Broken folder") error. I went to verbose mode using cmd+v and it gives the following output at the bottom:

    "waiting on......boot-uuid-media
    still waiting for root device
    still waiting for root device"

    Where the dots are 200+ characters that I hope I don't need to repeat (let me know if I should!). And the last couple of lines just keep repeating as long as the computer is on. It looks like something is wrong with the hard drive, what do you all think?

    So I tried safe mode using shift, and that didn't work. Neither did single user mode (command+S). I get the same broken folder error

    So, I break down and decide that I have to reformat. I had to buy the superdrive for the macbook air which sucked big time (really expensive), but I wanted to make sure there were no compatibility issues.

    So I got out my "MacBook Air Mac OS version 10.5.5" DVD, which says "Mac OS X Install DVD" and put it in and held 'C'. My 'superdrive' spins up, slows down, spins up, slows down, and then spits it out. And then i get the same error screen again. Bah! So I think, well perhaps I didn't press 'c' hard enough, soon enough, etc so I try it 5 more times and I get the same error. I can't seem to boot to the DVD at all!

    I tried going to verbose mode and then holding 'c' so I could see what was going on, but that didn't work

    I also tried pressing 'option' to see if I could boot to the CD drive that way. I get to see a picture of my hard drive and a list of the wireless connections, but no DVD listed. I am new to macs, so I'm not sure if this is normal or not. Same thing happens: drive spins up, spins down, and spits it out. I put the DVD back in, and the same thing happens. I am putting the CD in the drive with the data side down (just covering all my bases here!)

    What the hell is going on?!?!

    My only idea is that my 'c' button is broken, and I have a USB keyboard I can use, but the macbook air only has one USB so I can't use it and the superdrive simultaneously.

    Please help! Thanks guys
    Cheers :)
  2. JediMeister macrumors 68040

    Oct 9, 2008
    Kudos on your troubleshooting so far. Unfortunately unless you have reason to suspect an issue with the install disc or the external SuperDrive, it's sounding like a problem with the MacBook Air itself, probably the logic board if it won't boot to the disc. Here's hoping you're under AppleCare or the 1 year limited warranty!
  3. ilovemacs80 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 6, 2009
    wow, thanks for the fast response jedi!

    No, unfortunately it's not covered by warranty now :( I am hoping that someone will come up with something crazy I haven't thought of yet, buying a new computer isn't an option for me so what else can I do but hope? :)

    Cheers again mate, if you think of anything please post!
  4. BlueRevolution macrumors 603


    Jul 26, 2004
    Montreal, QC
    Sounds like the disk might be scratched. Do you have another computer with an optical drive?
  5. ilovemacs80 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 6, 2009
    Hi Bluerevoultion,

    Thanks for responding! I tried looking at it with my trusty imac and I wasn't able to browse the DVD for some reason using finder, but I was able to run the installation program, at which point I promptly canceled it to confirm it works. So I think the DVD works

    I will try plugging in my superdrive into my imac to see if the drive is faulty (kind of a stretch I know, but I'm running out of ideas!). I know the box says "superdrive for macbook air", but I would assume it would work with any mac, right?

    I'll post back in a few minutes with details, thanks again for helping me out! :)
  6. ilovemacs80 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 6, 2009
    Piece of #(&@#$(@!!

    So I just realized that the superdrive for the macbook air only works with the macbook air, and not any other mac....that is ridiculous of course, I thought the whole point with it being USB is to make things interchangeable and compatible between units.

    How wank! have you ever heard of something else like that from macintosh, like a printer that will only work with the imac? That's crazy

    So, I'm fresh out of macbook airs to try to troubleshoot my superdrive on, and I'm betting that the drive itself (although flawed from a design perspective) is functioning fine, so it's looking more and more like I'm going to have to take it to a shop to get it worked on

    Now, I know PCs really well, but macs are pretty foreign to me. If no one thinks up another solution, where should I take it to? Is there are website that list certified companies? Who's the best? I don't want to take my expensive computer to those idiots at best buy. I live in Philadelphia in the United States

    Also, is it possible hold 'c' and try verbose mode at the same time? What keys do I press? I want to see the computer say "sorry this DVD is scratched" or "the drive itself is crap" or something more satisfying

    Thanks again lads
  7. JediMeister macrumors 68040

    Oct 9, 2008
    Use and plug in your zip code to locate an authorized service provider or retail location in your area.

    The Mac OS will only load one set of keyboard shortcuts at a time, so you cannot boot to the disc and verbose mode simultaneously.

    With the MacBook Air's reinstall disc in the iMac you can try running Disk Utility to validate the media. Launch Disk Utility from /Applications/Utilities or bring it up with Spotlight, then look in the left sidebar for the Mac OS X Install DVD, or whatever the disc is named, then under the First Aid tab click Verify Disk.
  8. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    Since you have another Mac, I suggest you put the Installer DVD onto a USB2 device, such as an 8 gb flash drive or external hard drive. Initialize the device as GUID partition table, then use Disk Utility to do a restore from the DVD to the device. After done, connect it to your MBA and boot holding the Option key down until you're prompted with the boot drive option. If that doesn't boot, then it probably is a problem with your MBA.
  9. ilovemacs80 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 6, 2009
    WOW! Ok, I will brush up on my Mac 'skillz' and get to work on that. Thank you very much

    Thanks again for your help everyone! Please let me know if you have any more suggetions


    I need some help doing as you suggested...I have an external hard drive, what program(s) would I use to do these things? THANKS!
  10. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    A. Prepare the USB2 hard drive
    1. Connect your USB2 drive to your functional Mac and launch Disk Utility.
    2. When it appears in the left pane of DU, choose the hard drive (and not the partition, which is indented and below the hard drive name).
    3. The Partition tab should become available.
    4. Select that tab, choose 1 partition (or more) from the pull-down. Click on the Options button and ensure it's set to GUID. Initialize the drive with HFS+ (OS X Extended).

    B. Copy Installer DVD to USB2 drive
    1. Download the freeware Carbon Copy Cloner.
    2. Insert your Installer DVD.
    3. In CCC, choose the destination drive as the USB2 hard drive, and the source drive as your Installer DVD.
    4. Let CCC do its thing. Should take about 30 min or so. After it's completed, you can remove the USB2 hard drive.

    C. Boot your nonfunctional Mac
    1. Connect the USB2 drive, including the power cable (if it needs one) to your nonfunctional Mac.
    2. Turn on the drive.
    3. Turn on your Mac and press and hold the Option key on the keyboard until you are presented with bootable volumes.
    4. Use the keyboard arrow keys to select the USB2 drive and start the boot process.
    5. After choosing your language, launch Disk Utility from the menu bar to repair your Mac's internal disk to see if that salvages it. If not, probably time for a new install.
  11. ilovemacs80 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 6, 2009

    Caveman, thank you for your instructions! I will get to work on it this weekend and let you all know how it goes

    Thanks again for everyones' time
  12. Nermal Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2002
    New Zealand
    Note that Cave Man's instructions will wipe anything on the drive. Make sure you have a copy of anything important :)
  13. GFLPraxis macrumors 604


    Mar 17, 2004
    My MacBook Pro had a similar issue, I couldn't read the Snow Leopard install DVD. Turned out the lens was going out, and it couldn't read dual-layer discs. I figured it out by testing different discs; it wouldn't read commercially pressed movies, but it read single layer DVD-R's just fine.
  14. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    OP: Try using a lens cleaner in the optical drive.

    Did you try a lens cleaner?

    Trouble with slot loading drives is once you get dust in there, there's nothing to get it out. My previous MBP stopped reading discs and I wasted a few trying to burn stuff. Used a lens cleaner and all was fine again.
  15. koruki macrumors 65816


    Aug 16, 2009
    New Zealand
    I heard there is a company that made a high quality screen that only worked with their latest generation of laptops...:cool: Oh wait same company lol.

    on a more serious note, I have the MBP, but my g/f has the Air and i'm her personaly IT guy. A cheaper solution would of been to get the Ethernet to USB adaptor and use remote disk off your PC? Also I thought to boot from Disc you hold the Option key? I never used the "C" key?
  16. BlueRevolution macrumors 603


    Jul 26, 2004
    Montreal, QC
    The option key brings up the boot menu, while the C key boots to the optical drive. You can select the optical drive from the boot menu just as easily.
  17. ilovemacs80 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 6, 2009


    So as it turned out, the Superdrive was defective! And once I followed the flash drive instructions, I formatted the harddrive and everything was fine! I used timemachine and restored everything to its former glory :)

    It's odd though, the reason for the crash was not specified...I didn't install anything new. In medicine we'd call that idiopathic :)

    Thanks again to your advice! So glad to know my computer's not broke

    Take care

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