Macbook out of space and won't start. Please help

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by kris_21_24, Dec 28, 2016.

  1. kris_21_24 macrumors newbie

    Dec 28, 2016
    Ya, I really messed up and let Macbook get down to essentially no space left and now can't start. I've tried the safe start, while holding shift after starting but with no luck. The computer starts up fine and get the the sign in but makes it about 80% of the load bar and it shuts down/goes black. I was able to plug in external hard drive and hopefully save a compressed file from Macintosh HD, which I found online.
    Not quite sure what next step would be. Ideally could do safe start and delete some files and/or move over to external hard drive. But doesn't seem to be option. So believe next option might have to be to try and reboot from external hard drive, but not really sure how and couldn't find much on it.
    Thank you for help, really appreciate it!
  2. Fishrrman macrumors Pentium


    Feb 20, 2009
    You will need access to A DIFFERENT MAC than the one that's having the problem.

    Here's what I'd do:
    1. Get an external hard drive, or even a USB flashdrive of sufficient capacity (at least 16gb).
    2. Install a fresh copy of the OS onto the flashdrive, so that it's a standalone, bootable volume.
    3. Connect it to the Macbook, and reboot with the option key held down to invoke the startup manager.
    4. After reaching the finder, click ONE TIME on the icon for the internal drive to select it.
    5. Type command-i (eye) to bring up the get info box.
    6. At the bottom of the box, click on the lock icon and enter administrative password.
    7. Now, in the sharing and permissions area, put a checkmark into the box "ignore ownership on this volume" (this bypasses any permissions problems)
    8. Next, open the internal drive, and start deleting files. Get rid of as many as you dare.

    When done, power all the way off, disconnect the USB flash drive, and try rebooting.
    There should be enough free space for the OS to boot.

    If that doesn't work, then it's time to again "boot externally", back up what you wish, and then re-initialize the internal drive and do a clean OS install, and then restore your account and user data.
  3. kris_21_24 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 28, 2016
  4. Fishrrman macrumors Pentium


    Feb 20, 2009
    "Problem that I have is wife has a new MacBook Pro, so limited as in hardly in connections, so can't connect it to hard drive. Which I'm assuming is where I'd be getting the fresh copy of the stand alone."

    Get a USB adapter.
    They're only a few dollars.
    Then connect the drive and get busy...
  5. kris_21_24 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 28, 2016

    Thank you so much for the info. Have had to wait for cables to arrive. Have copy of Mac OS installer saved on two separate external hard drives, but when I plug into my disabled computer and start it up with the option key held down, I only get the option to bring up the Macintosh HD drive and no option for the connected external hard drive (tried with two different).
    Thanks for information again
  6. BarracksSi Suspended


    Jul 14, 2015
    I don't see any mention of Recovery Mode yet. Have you tried? Cmd-R during startup and you can run Disk Utility, Terminal, and some other stuff. You would be able to choose a different startup disk, too.

    I think it boots from a hidden partition that you can't normally access, so -- hopefully -- your packed HD will still have this section intact.

    From Terminal, you'd be able to browse around and delete files, but if you've never messed around with basic UNIX commands, you'd need to either be really careful or have someone else do it.

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