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blindpacemaker

macrumors member
Original poster
Dec 31, 2016
33
5
pretty much as the title says, I wanted to wipe the drive and reinstall the OS. However when I try to reinstall High Sierra, it looks like it gets almost all the way there and then it bombs out and says 'could not create a preboot volume for APFS install'. I've googled and found some advice, but I don't want to do more damage than I already have. Did I wipe the wrong drive by mistake? Is there anything I can do without taking it in to the apple store? Any help on this would, of course, be greatly appreciated.
 

MacDawg

Moderator emeritus
Mar 20, 2004
19,823
4,504
"Between the Hedges"
How exactly did you go about wiping the drive and reinstalling in the first place?
Did you boot into Recovery or use some other method?

The more background details you can give the better chance someone will be able to assist :)
 
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DeltaMac

macrumors G5
Jul 30, 2003
13,551
4,456
Delaware
I suspect that your drive is not fully erased.
If you need to completely remove the existing partitions (which is likely what you need to fix this), then either boot to a macOS installer that you previously created (which is the best solution), or boot to internet recovery (which boots to Apple's server) by restarting while holding Option-Command-r
You will know that you are booting properly when you see a spinning globe, not the normal Apple icon.
Erase the drive using Disk Utility. Make sure that you select the device, and not a partition by checking that you have Show All devices selected from the View menu in Disk Utility. Choose the top item, which should be manufacturer's number for the drive, then click Erase. That will remove all partitions, and leave you with a drive that is now ready to install the system properly.
Reinstall macOS.
 
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blindpacemaker

macrumors member
Original poster
Dec 31, 2016
33
5
Thank you for the response @DeltaMac , I have booted into internet recovery (i had started the process before I posted this, it took a while). I've clicked on view all, and now I see two sections - internal and disk images. Under internal (which is im guessing what i need) I can see 'APPLE SSD SM0128G Media' and that contains 'Container disk2', and _that_ contains 'MBP' and 'Macintosh HD'. So you are saying that I should click on the 'APPLE SSD SM0128G Media'and choose 'Erase' and then install the OS onto that?
 

DeltaMac

macrumors G5
Jul 30, 2003
13,551
4,456
Delaware
Thank you for the response @DeltaMac , I have booted into internet recovery (i had started the process before I posted this, it took a while). I've clicked on view all, and now I see two sections - internal and disk images. Under internal (which is im guessing what i need) I can see 'APPLE SSD SM0128G Media' and that contains 'Container disk2', and _that_ contains 'MBP' and 'Macintosh HD'. So you are saying that I should click on the 'APPLE SSD SM0128G Media'and choose 'Erase' and then install the OS onto that?
Yes, "Apple SSD SM0128G Media" is exactly correct. That will reset your drive, to a single partition.
When you then proceed with reinstalling macOS, the drive will then be reformatted to the APFS format. In other works, you don't need to over-think what you need to do for formatting the drive before installing macOS (other than making sure it is erased with Mac OS Extended (journaled), which is the best way to reinstall. Again, the High Sierra install process will convert the drive to APFS automatically.
 
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blindpacemaker

macrumors member
Original poster
Dec 31, 2016
33
5
@DeltaMac Thank you for the advice. unfortunately I can't erase the Apple SSD. When I clicked Erase, it failed. I now see 'Erase process has failed, click Done to continue'. I click on details, and all I can see is
'Unmounting disk
Couldn't open device.
Operation failed'

How screwed am I here? Do i need to try one of the other options like first aid/partition/restore?
 

DeltaMac

macrumors G5
Jul 30, 2003
13,551
4,456
Delaware
I have a (bad) feeling that your SSD is failing.
Did you try to erase the SSD, because you were already having a problem?
Is this the same MBPro that you posted about "freezing" problems about a year ago?
If the drive won't erase, that might be your clue that it could be failing now, and may simply need to be replaced.

That being said - try the erase again, after an NVRAM reset.

Do you have a High Sierra installer on a bootable drive? This would be a really good time to try that as an alternative means to boot. (part of the reason is that the Internet Recovery may only use the original system and tools that the MBPro shipped with, or the most recent that is available. A bootable external would make sure that you know what system you are booting and installing, if you do have that available.
 

blindpacemaker

macrumors member
Original poster
Dec 31, 2016
33
5
Thanks for such quick responses, you really are a lifesaver at the moment. I managed to get it working by just trying some things that a google search produced (I had to unmount the partitions and then it worked ie it let me erase the SSD). I'm going to try and install High Sierra now, and keep every finger crossed! Just to answer your questions, this is actually the replacement MBP that I got as it was under warranty. it was working fine before I tried to reinstall the OS, so I'm hoping the SSD isn't failing. I didn't try to erase the SSD because there was already an issue, I guess it's just a habit I have from using windows laptops for so long that every now and again I just reinstall the OS in the hope that it will make the machine last longer lol.

I don't have a bootable external but if this doesn't work then I'll have to look at it as an option. I can't believe I've managed to make something so simple become so difficult!
 

makedoordowithout

macrumors newbie
Sep 4, 2018
5
0
Thanks for such quick responses, you really are a lifesaver at the moment. I managed to get it working by just trying some things that a google search produced (I had to unmount the partitions and then it worked ie it let me erase the SSD). I'm going to try and install High Sierra now, and keep every finger crossed! Just to answer your questions, this is actually the replacement MBP that I got as it was under warranty. it was working fine before I tried to reinstall the OS, so I'm hoping the SSD isn't failing. I didn't try to erase the SSD because there was already an issue, I guess it's just a habit I have from using windows laptops for so long that every now and again I just reinstall the OS in the hope that it will make the machine last longer lol.

I don't have a bootable external but if this doesn't work then I'll have to look at it as an option. I can't believe I've managed to make something so simple become so difficult!

I’ve the very same problem trying to reinstall High Sierra (“Could not create a preboot volume for APFS install” pops up at the very end of the process). Would very much like to know how exactly did you manage to “unmount the partitions” (as you mentioned, parenthetically, in this post) in order to be able to erase that “APPLE SSD SM0128G Media” (SM0128L in my case) volume.

Would also like to acknowledge your enviable command of the English language and your thoughtfulness in using it. If this is any indication, you do have a knack for making yourself perfectly clear.
 

DeltaMac

macrumors G5
Jul 30, 2003
13,551
4,456
Delaware
I often do a "two-step dance" when doing a clean install.
Boot to your installer (or boot to internet recovery if you don't presently have a bootable installer), then open Disk Utility, and erase the drive. Choose the line with the device info (APPLE SSE SM0128G.., etc) not the volume name, and not a container line. If you don't see most of that, make sure you have chosen to Show All Devices, and not Show Only Volumes. So, Erase the device. I prefer to format as Mac OS Extended (journaled), as the High Sierra installer will take care of converting to APFS.
Here comes the second part of my two-step dance: Quit Disk Utility, then Shut Down your Mac. Restart with an NVRAM reset (immediately hold Option-Command-p & r). If you get a boot chime, keep holding the same 4 keys until you hear two more chimes. If your Mac is a newer model that has no boot chime, just watch the screen for resets, which will take place every few seconds as long as you hold the 4 keys. 30 seconds should be long enough, then release the keys, except for Option (to choose your bootable installer), or Option-Command-r to boot to internet recovery, if you have no installer. You already erased the drive. You COULD format as APFS, but the installer will take care of that, you don't have the choice when installing to an SSD. If you still have a problem, then do the process again, except erase by formatting to APFS. (Do the NVRAM reset again, if you need to erase again.)
There's no magic in the NVRAM reset, AFAIK. It's just a routine that I follow, and it (usually) has a good result.
 

makedoordowithout

macrumors newbie
Sep 4, 2018
5
0
Thanks for such quick responses, you really are a lifesaver at the moment. I managed to get it working by just trying some things that a google search produced (I had to unmount the partitions and then it worked ie it let me erase the SSD). I'm going to try and install High Sierra now, and keep every finger crossed! Just to answer your questions, this is actually the replacement MBP that I got as it was under warranty. it was working fine before I tried to reinstall the OS, so I'm hoping the SSD isn't failing. I didn't try to erase the SSD because there was already an issue, I guess it's just a habit I have from using windows laptops for so long that every now and again I just reinstall the OS in the hope that it will make the machine last longer lol.

I don't have a bootable external but if this doesn't work then I'll have to look at it as an option. I can't believe I've managed to make something so simple become so difficult!

I’ve the very same problem trying to reinstall High Sierra (“Could not create a preboot volume for APFS install” pops up at the very end of the process). Would very much like to know how exactly did you manage to “unmount the partitions” (as you mentioned, parenthetically, in this post) in order to be able to erase that “APPLE SSD SM0128G Media” (SM0128L in my case) volume.

Would also like to acknowledge your enviable command of the English language and your thoughtfulness in using it. If this is any indication, you do have a knack for making yourself perfectly clear.
 

DeltaMac

macrumors G5
Jul 30, 2003
13,551
4,456
Delaware
I’ve the very same problem trying to reinstall High Sierra (“Could not create a preboot volume for APFS install” pops up at the very end of the process). Would very much like to know how exactly did you manage to “unmount the partitions” (as you mentioned, parenthetically, in this post) in order to be able to erase that “APPLE SSD SM0128G Media” (SM0128L in my case) volume.

Would also like to acknowledge your enviable command of the English language and your thoughtfulness in using it. If this is any indication, you do have a knack for making yourself perfectly clear.
It seems that you copied your post #10 into your post #12 -- without making any changes to that. I wonder what that's about?
 

makedoordowithout

macrumors newbie
Sep 4, 2018
5
0
It seems that you copied your post #10 into your post #12 -- without making any changes to that. I wonder what that's about?

It seems that you copied your post #10 into your post #12 -- without making any changes to that. I wonder what that's about?

Just learning the ropes here. First time I posted by “Reply to Thread” (one of the “More Options” there) and then, to make sure (double sure, that is, I though) that blindpacemaker does see it, posted it again by simply “Post Reply.”

Now, my problem is that, as blindpacemaker explained in his previous post in the same thread:

“Unfortunately I can't erase the Apple SSD. When I clicked Erase, it failed. I now see 'Erase process has failed, click Done to continue'. I click on details, and all I can see is
'Unmounting disk. Couldn't open device.Operation failed.'”

I see the same thing.

So he had to figure out how to “unmount the partition” first. And he did. And that’s what I need to know to get the erase process going.
 

DeltaMac

macrumors G5
Jul 30, 2003
13,551
4,456
Delaware
You can try to unmount that partition, while you are still in Disk Utility. Just select it, and choose unmount from the menu, or right-click on the partition, and choose unmount.
If that doesn't help, or it also gives you an error at that time, then try the two-step process, as I suggested above. That should get you to your goal of reinstalling the system.
 

makedoordowithout

macrumors newbie
Sep 4, 2018
5
0
You can try to unmount that partition, while you are still in Disk Utility. Just select it, and choose unmount from the menu, or right-click on the partition, and choose unmount.
If that doesn't help, or it also gives you an error at that time, then try the two-step process, as I suggested above. That should get you to your goal of reinstalling the system.
[doublepost=1536241516][/doublepost]Of course I have tried to unmount that partition while still in Disk Utility. After, once again, having erased the disk.
This is what I get upon clicking on Partition:
"Device Information
Device: Apple SSD SMO128L Media
Scheme: GUID Partition Map
Size: 121.33 GB
Partition Information
Name: Untitled
Format: Mac OS Extended (Journaled)
Size: 121 GB
This volume has 221.8 MB used space.
You cannot remove the first volume on this disk."

All the Disk Utility buttons above all this ( Frist Aid, Partition, Erase, Restore, and Mount) are inactive. So I cannot erase the partition, right click or not.

As to your "two-step process," too much of it, I'm sorry to say, goes over my head. And I am hesitant to embark on too much remedial self-education right now, hoping that there might be some easier way out of this mess.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
28,643
12,760
make do --

First, tell us WHICH Mac you have and what year it was made.

Do you have a bootable USB flashdrive (with the installer on it)?
That can make things easier.
You may need access to ANOTHER, WORKING Mac to create one.

Do you know how to boot to internet recovery?
(Power down all the way off/press power on button/immediately hold down "command-option-R" and keep holding down until internet symbol appears/if you are using wifi, you may need to enter your wifi password).
Can you actually do this?
Have you tried it?
If not, try it right now and get back to us.

Do you have either a USB flashdrive 32gb or larger, OR an external hard drive around?
WHY I asked:
If you can't install to the internal drive, you could install to the EXTERNAL drive (or flashdrive) and then CLONE THAT INSTALL to your internal drive. This will work beautifully.

I could have your Mac up and running in about 3 minutes.
But that's because I have BOOTABLE EXTERNAL DRIVES that can boot any recent Mac.
 
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makedoordowithout

macrumors newbie
Sep 4, 2018
5
0
Thanks, Fishr --
And sorry for the delayed response (keep being diverted by higher priorities).​

make do --

First, tell us WHICH Mac you have and what year it was made.

MacBook Pro A1708.​

Do you have a bootable USB flashdrive (with the installer on it)?

No.​

That can make things easier.
You may need access to ANOTHER, WORKING Mac to create one.

Do you know how to boot to internet recovery?
(Power down all the way off/press power on button/immediately hold down "command-option-R" and keep holding down until internet symbol appears/if you are using wifi, you may need to enter your wifi password).
Can you actually do this?
Have you tried it?
If not, try it right now and get back to us.

I surely had tried that!​

Do you have either a USB flashdrive 32gb or larger,

Yes, I have a 62gb USB and assume that one can get an adapter to fit it to the MacBook port.
OR an external hard drive around?
WHY I asked:
If you can't install to the internal drive, you could install to the EXTERNAL drive (or flashdrive) and then CLONE THAT INSTALL to your internal drive. This will work beautifully.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but does this mean that after all that I will have two "volumes" showing up in the Utilities: the original one, which I wasn't able to delete fully but would be able to deactivate by deselecting, and the one from the flashdrive which I'll be able to "install" and activate by selecting?​

I could have your Mac up and running in about 3 minutes.
But that's because I have BOOTABLE EXTERNAL DRIVES that can boot any recent Mac.

Best,
--make do​
 
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Lone

macrumors newbie
Sep 14, 2018
2
0
Best,
--make do​
Hi
did you solve it
I got a headache with it ( some problem)
who doesn’t have this problem can’t help us
what they say ? do this .. do .. this ..
but We cannot erase or delete that container disk 1
I don’t know what I should do
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
28,643
12,760
Lone:

Do you have a USB flashdrive laying around that is 16gb or larger?
If you do, do this:

Get to the recovery partition or internet recovery.
Open Disk Utility and erase the flashdrive to "Mac OS extended with journaling enabled".
Now open the OS installer and "aim it" at the flashdrive (NOT at the internal drive).
See if the installer will install a copy of the OS onto the flashdrive.

If it works, set up a simple account on the flashdrive.

Now you have A SECOND WAY to boot and run the Mac.

You can "get to it" by doing this:
1. Power down
2. Press the power-on button
3. IMMEDIATELY hold down the option key and KEEP HOLDING IT DOWN until the startup manager appears.
4. Select the flashdrive with the pointer and hit return. It may take a while to boot.

Can you get booted this way?
I suggest you try this, it will be an "important step forward".
 

Lone

macrumors newbie
Sep 14, 2018
2
0
I solved guys
I had exactly the same problem. when I formated the macbook it dosen’t want to work... I’ve tried every think ( not boot with usb) but nothing... they say I should to delete the disk drive, the problem you cannot.. because cannot be mounted ..
I tried today the internet recovery by pressing CMD + R ( the left cmd) if you press the right cmd + r you will go to recovery mode... so the globale start turn arround and dowloading ( you should have internet) I conncted it to wifi after about 30-40 min
it comes the recovery mode but isn’t like before because it downgraded to Yosemite... oooof!! now it’s easy I said .. I erase the disk again and start downloding the osx yosemite ( it takes arround 6 hours !!! yes I mean it )
than it wooorks with yosemite , than I serched for update I found the High sierra
I start downloading and install it
now it works well
 

Mats_Matias

Cancelled
Apr 3, 2021
1
2
I suspect that your drive is not fully erased.
If you need to completely remove the existing partitions (which is likely what you need to fix this), then either boot to a macOS installer that you previously created (which is the best solution), or boot to internet recovery (which boots to Apple's server) by restarting while holding Option-Command-r
You will know that you are booting properly when you see a spinning globe, not the normal Apple icon.
Erase the drive using Disk Utility. Make sure that you select the device, and not a partition by checking that you have Show All devices selected from the View menu in Disk Utility. Choose the top item, which should be manufacturer's number for the drive, then click Erase. That will remove all partitions, and leave you with a drive that is now ready to install the system properly.
Reinstall macOS.
Hey DeltaMac, I've created an account just to thank you for your advise! I've searched for about one hour, seen a bunch of pointless videos on youtube and then I found your comment. No one that I've seen, told that we should erase the APPLE SSD NUMBERSSOMETHING. When I saw your hint, I did that and boom, it worked and erased "Other Files" that where occupying more than 90GB of my SSD. Thank you so much!
 
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