HELP can't reinstall mac, or do anything

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Aranors, Jan 18, 2016.

  1. Aranors macrumors newbie

    Aranors

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2016
    #1
    Hi all



    I use iMac 21.5-inch (2009)

    OS X El Capitan (not sure which El Capitan version)

    When i turnd on my mac, instead of the apple logo there was a "no entery" icon (a circle with a slash)

    then the OS X utilities window appeared and offered few options :

    - Restore From Time Machine Backup (i do not have any Time Machine backup)
    - Reinstall OS X
    - Get Help Online
    - Disk Utility

    I tried to reinstall OS X, I agreed the trems of the software licens,
    then it sayd "select the disk where you want to install OS X"
    there was only one disk option to select "Recovery HD" (650 MB total, 121.9 MB availabele)
    but when clicking on it, it says "This disk is locked".
    I clicked the "back" button and then tried again and it says "OS X cannot be installed on "Recovery HD".

    then I tried the "Disk Utility" option,
    I did the first aid to the disks an they all completed with a V sign.
    (there was no "Recovery HD" in the disk list)

    There's a lot of important files in my computer such as family pictures and documents,

    I'd appriciate if you could help me to fix it without destroy the files.
    (is there any way to make sure those files will not be destroyed, or any way to backup those files ?)
     
  2. inscrewtable macrumors 68000

    inscrewtable

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2010
    #2
    Are you saying that you do not have your files backed up?
     
  3. Aranors thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aranors

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2016
    #3
    I don't have backup to most of the files and programs
     
  4. JohnDS macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2015
    #4
    If you were able to run repair disk on the main disk, it might now work. Try booting normally.

    If it doesn't, the boot holding down Command-R and see if you can now re-install the operating system, but to the main partition, not to the recovery partition.
     
  5. Aranors thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aranors

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2016
    #5
    I'm still having only the recovery partition showing up, and it is locked. No main hard drive to install the OS to it.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. bcave098 macrumors 6502a

    bcave098

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2015
    Location:
    Northern British Columbia
    #6
    You won't be able to install on the Recovery HD. Open Disk Utility and try to repair the main partition on the hard drive.
     
  7. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #7
    Show us what you see in Disk Utility from Recovery.
     
  8. Aranors thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aranors

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2016
    #8
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  9. JohnDS macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2015
    #9
    It is strange that your main drive is shown as "Untitled". Can you click on "Untitled" and show us what the DU screen looks like. Also try to run Repair Disk on Untitled, rather than on ST35...
     
  10. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #10
    You can ignore the lower part the where it says Disk Images. That is the recovery partition and installer.

    Up top is your main drive. It concerns me it is now named "Untiled". When things were working fine before, was the main drive still called the default "Macintosh HD", or had you renamed it Untitled? Untitled is usually what Disk Utility names the drive when you erase it without providing a name yourself.

    Select where it says Untitled there then go up to the File menu and select mount and see if the drive will mount and if you can run a first aid on the Untitled partition.
     
  11. Aranors thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aranors

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2016
    #11
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Should I click the mount button?
     
  12. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #12
    Yep.
     
  13. JohnDS macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2015
    #13
    Disk Utility shows your drive as being completely full. That may be why you can't re-install the OS. On the other hand, if the drive is corrupted, it may be misreporting. Did you try running Repair Disk on Untitled and if so what were the results?
     
  14. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #14
    It just shows that because it is not mounted. Look at the Other unmounted partition on my external drive. I am using around 10GB on that volume.

    Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 6.27.31 AM.png
     
  15. Aranors thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aranors

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2016
    #15
    After clicking mount nothing happened

    [​IMG]

    by "repair disk" you mean use the "First aid"?
     
  16. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #16
    You did not answer my question about renaming the drive to Untitled. I'm assuming you did not do that. At this point, I'd say you have a failed drive and anything else you do in the way of trying to format or reinstall will make data recovery more difficult.

    Your options are to get a new drive in there and install the OS to that to get the system running, then you can try a utility like Disk Warrior to try and retrieve data off the disk while in an external enclosure. You could also send the drive off to a company that specializes in data recovery like this, but it won't be cheap.
     
  17. BLUEDOG314 macrumors 6502

    BLUEDOG314

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2015
    #17
    Sounds like the data has already been erased or the drive is toast. Can you use target disk mode and try to mount the drive? alternatively you can use terminal in single user to try browsing the partition. reboot holding command-s and when everything settles try typing "cd /Users/youruser/Desktop" then "ls -ah" to see if you can look at what was on your desktop. if you can browse the filesystem in single user then the data is there. there is another way if this is the case, which i can tell you, to rsync your data from user folder to an external drive in single user mode.
     
  18. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #18
    OP:

    Looks like you have somehow re-initialized your internal drive, or else have badly corrupted it.

    Here is your path to possibly getting the data back:

    1. Get One or TWO external drives.

    2. On one of the drives, get a working bootable copy of the OS installed onto it that is capable of booting the iMac. You may need another Mac with which to do this. If you have the original install DVD that came with the iMac, that will work. Just "aim it" at the EXTERNAL drive for now.

    3. Boot the iMac from the first external drive. To do this, hold down the option key after you hear the boot tone, and keep holding it down until the startup manager appears. Then, select the external drive with the pointer and hit return. This should start you up from the external drive.
    You will have to complete the startup process once it boots to get to the finder.
    When that happens...
    Does the internal drive "mount" on the desktop? If so, can you copy files from it?

    4. If so, at this point I would download a free copy of CarbonCopyCloner and clone the entire internal drive to the SECOND external drive. You need a second copy of those files.

    5. If the internal drive won't mount, you might be able to use "DiskWarrior" to repair or rebuild the disk directory. No promises, but DW is very good at what it does. But be aware that DW works ONLY on drive directories -- your problem may be elsewhere.

    6. If DW cannot fix the drive with directory repairs, it may be necessary to go to "data recovery". One of the better apps out there for this is "DataRescue4". You can download that for free and it will do a "deep scan" of the drive (may take hours). DR will then present you with a list of files it believes to be "recoverable", and will let you recover ONE FILE ONLY as proof that it can work. At this point you pay the registration, get a code, and enter it -- DR will then "go to work" on the drive.

    7. I have recovered data in the past from a drive that wouldn't mount by re-initializing the entire drive (DO NOT use "secure erase"), and then by using DataRescue to recover the data to a scratch drive.

    8. As Weaselboy mentioned above, you could send the original drive to a data recovery firm, but be prepared to pay many hundreds or even thousands of dollars to "get the data back". Is it really worth that much to you?

    9. Final thought: in the future, try out something called "backup". You'll find that it can be helpful in situations like this...
     

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