HELP!! Problem with 27"iMac. Disk utility can't repair disk

Discussion in 'iMac' started by danmc00, Nov 26, 2011.

  1. danmc00 macrumors regular

    Oct 29, 2009
    I came home from vacation and my iMac was locked on the screen saver. I held the power button down to turn it off and now it wants me to set up computer again. I tried to repair disk first, but it's says disk utility can't repair this disk. Back up as many files as possible, reformat disk, and restore your backed up files. I am new to Mac and don't know how to back up the files while I am on this screen. I just need to back up some pictures that I recently loaded into iPhoto. Can someone point me in the right direction?

    Another bad thing is that I never setup time machine. Can I still back up my photos and iTunes account?
  2. monkeybagel macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2011
    United States
    I had my iMac do something similar although it did not want me to re-set-it-up again. Disk utility could not repair this disk either. I ended up purchasing DiskWarrior, which is a disk repair utility. They will ship you a CD/DVD that you can boot from to run it. I had great results and it repaired my file system. I think mine was a result from a power outage.

    There is a file in /var/db called .AppleSetupDone that OSX looks for on startup. If this file does not exist (or for some reason OS X can't locate it) it will run the startup wizard. It sounds like the file cannot be read due to a problem with the file system. Do you have an external hard disk you can install OS X onto and try to access your photos to save them?
  3. danmc00 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 29, 2009
    I do have a 2TB external hard drive that I backed my pictures up every once in a while. I haven't done it in a while though.
    How do I go about installing OSx on external hard drive back up pics? Sorry but I am not very computer savvy.
  4. Puevlo macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2011
  5. wessew macrumors member

    Feb 4, 2010
    Try Diskwarrior. Google it. Highly recommended! It comes on a bootable CD which allows it to startup the machine. It can repair directory damage Disk Utility cannot. It is very capable and very safe. You probably incurred directory damage when you powered the iMac down.
  6. danmc00 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 29, 2009
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

    So I need to order the disk warrior boot disk? How long will that take to come in? I see that you can download it to. Do I have to order disk too?
  7. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    If you or a friend of yours has another mac, you can try target disk mode. This makes more sense than attempting to make a new installation on an external drive. If it's readable, you could get the photos off this way.

    I'll probably get flamed for this, but HFS+ sucks. Everyone always talks about what Apple could buy. I wish they either bought or licensed the Disk Warrior technology from Alsoft long ago. It's really needed due to how messed up the directories can become in OSX. Basically disk warrior can save directories with far worse corruption than disk utility. It's very popular because of this. You would boot from the disk warrior disk. When you get the disk, hold down C as it is booting up to boot from the dvd. It's not a guaranteed fix, but it usually works, and it can also be used for preemptive maintenance.
  8. danmc00 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 29, 2009
    So I have to order the disk or can I do the download? I need to get this fixed as soon as possible. This is my only computer.
  9. danmc00 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 29, 2009
    I was told to use my snow leopard disk and install it on an external hard drive to try to get to the computer to boot. Then maybe I can find my photos and transfer them off before trying a complete reinstall on my Mac.
    I was told to reformat the external HD to a GUID partition scheme. I am in disk utility trying to reformat the external HD but don't know how to do this. Can someone walk me through it?

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