Please Help. External HD Booting with No Access to Dock or Menu Bar.

Discussion in 'OS X Mountain Lion (10.8)' started by Dick Whitman, Nov 22, 2014.

  1. Dick Whitman macrumors 6502

    Dick Whitman

    Oct 16, 2012
    So long story short I am trying to get my sister's MacBook Pro up and running again. I think her hard drive has failed because it will not boot up past the grey Apple screen. I tried to erase and restore the internal HD onto an external HD but this process always failed because of an "input/output error." If data is corrupt on the internal HD, then I believe trying to copy the entire HD will not work. Before this, I tried repairing the internal HD, resetting memory, etc., but still no luck.

    This process is being made especially difficult in that my sister does not rely upon the cloud and so all of her data is on the internal HD, which she wants to preserve. I thought I would manually try to copy and paste some of the data from her internal HD onto the external HD by installing OS X onto the external HD. But now, after having completed the installation process, the external HD will not fully boot up. I get all the way to the Mountain Lion galaxy wallpaper and am able to move the cursor, but I can't see the dock or the menu bar. Keyboard shortcuts attempting to reveal these items neither work.

    These are the instructions I followed for creating a bootable external disc, beginning at "my computer refuses to boot up, (like in gray screen issues), what to do to grab my files off?"
  2. Fishrrman macrumors Pentium


    Feb 20, 2009
    My suggestion:

    If the MBPro drive is replaceable, upgrade your sister to an SSD. It will give the MB a new lease-on-life, especially if the old drive is a platter-based HDD.

    The swap-out is EASY, provided you have THE RIGHT TOOLS (shouting intentional).
    The hardest part is removing/replacing the screws on the back.
    Check for their illustrated guides on what to do.

    I suggest you then install a clean copy of the OS onto the new drive.
    Don't mess with the external drive yet, instead, create a new "temporary administrative account" to get the SSD up and running.
    Next, make sure the software is up-to-date.
    Aside: If Mountain Lion is working for your sister, she might just "stick with it" for now, it's a great version of the OS.

    Once the above is done, it's time to connect the old drive.
    I'd recommend a USB3/SATA docking station, they cost only about $25 and you will find one a VERY useful piece of hardware to have around.
    Put the old drive in the dock and connect it to the MB.
    Does the old drive mount on the desktop?
    If so, you're halfway home.

    Try using Migration Assistant to bring over your sister's old account, settings, apps, and data.
    Does that work?

    If so, when it's done, go to the Users & Groups preference pane, and arrange it so that her old account will be the "boot up" account.

    That should do it...

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