Need Help Restoring Computer

Discussion in 'macOS' started by ThurstyUSMC, Aug 5, 2014.

  1. ThurstyUSMC macrumors newbie

    Jul 25, 2014
    So my wife has not used her computer for a few months because she has been out of school and has primarily been using her iPad or my computer. It's literally been months since her computer has booted up. She tried to start it the other day and it wouldn't go past the grey apple loading screen. I got it to boot in SAFE mode but can't get it to restart. I do the Command R thing and tried to reinstall the OS X (she was still using Lion) but it says the disk is locked. When I go into the Disk Utility menu and try to verify and repair the disk it says "Disk Utility can't repair this disk. Back as many of your files as possible, reformat the disk, and restore your backed-up files". Problem is that my wife never backed her computer up when I told her to and I can't get it backed up at this point. She has like 10 classes of school work that she needs for med school so she can't afford to loose her documents. I tried to install OS X on the external HD but it said "disk doesn't use the GUID Partition Table scheme" and it tells me how to change it. when I follow the instructions to change it I'm told the disk cannot be modified.

    Please Help!!!!!!!!!!!!!:mad:
  2. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    OK, so you have an external hard drive available, right?

    Chances are, it's not initialized "as a Mac-formatted drive".
    You need to re-initialize it to HFS+, journaling enabled, with a GUID partition format before you can install a clean copy of the OS onto it.

    This will erase the directory and all files on the drive.
    DO NOT do this unless you can afford to lose what's already on that drive!

    But once you get the drive properly initialized, you should be able to install the OS onto it.

    Remember that to boot from the external drive, you probably need to hold down the option key at startup until the startup manager appears.

    Once you get the OS installed, go through the setup process and create a "temporary" account (with a name like "administrator").

    You might also run software update on it, to get all of the components of the OS "up to current".

    BTW, I would suggest using OS 10.8.5 "Mountain Lion" instead of 10.7 "Lion". Just a better version of the OS, in my opinion.
    I WOULD NOT go to Mavericks, particularly if the Mac in question has an internal hard drive (as distinguished from an SSD). In my experimentation, I found Mavericks DEAD SLOW running from a hard drive -- terminal "beachball city".
  3. ThurstyUSMC thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 25, 2014
    Thanks for the reply,

    I think the external HD is formatted for Macs, I use it as my Time Machine on my MacBook Air and I back up all the time. I even went as far as to set up 2 partitions on the HD so she could have half to back up her things and I could have half for my things. Could the partion on the external HD be messing it up? I have tried to get her to back up, I have tried to get her to update her computer, I even signed her up for the beta test for Yosemite but she still wouldn't update it.

    She hasn't said it yet but I'm waiting for this to be my fault.
  4. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Here is an idea. Assuming your TM backup for your Air was made with Lion 10.7.2 or later, here is what you do. Plug in your TM disk to her Mac and option key boot to it. You should see a recovery screen come up. From there start Disk Utility and go to the restore tab in Disk Util. Now drag the Macintosh HD volume from her machine into the source section at the top the the second external partition into the destination section then click restore. This will clone her drive to the second partition on your TM disk (make sure the partition is slightly larger than her internal disk size).


    Once that is done shut down and attach the TM disk to your Air. Select the second partition on your Desktop and do a command-i to get info on the disk. At the very bottom of the window check the box that says ignore ownership on this volume. That will allow you to freely browse the disk and her user account in Finder on that disk from your account/Mac. Hopefully her data was not lost with the bad disk and got copied over.

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