Snow Leopard install failed -- now can't find HD?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by msaz87, Jun 23, 2011.

  1. msaz87 macrumors newbie

    Jun 1, 2008
    Hey All,

    I was attempting to upgrade an older model Macbook with Snow Leopard and the install was going fine at first, but then it told me it had failed (no specific reasoning). Following this, I tried to install again but it couldn't locate the HD to install it on and when I try to reboot without the disc in there, it gets to the apple and spinner and sits there.

    The disc is fine, it upgraded my older MBP without problems... does anyone have any ideas what's going on and how I can fix it?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. MarkH356 macrumors newbie

    Jun 23, 2011
    What was the old OSX version and is it one Snow Leopard will upgrade ?

    Try booting into the Snow Leopard DVD by holding the "C" key down.
    Start the install process. Once you select your language, don't go any further into the installation.
    Wait for the menu to appear at the top of the screen and then select Disk Utilities from the Utilities menu.
    You should see the drive, but it may be un-mounted.
    You can try (a) mounting the drive (b) repairing the drive or (c) erasing the drive and starting again.
    Exit Disk Utilities and reboot the computer (hold power key down to turn off).
  3. msaz87 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 1, 2008
    It's OSX Leopard, so it shouldn't have an issue upgrading. I ran the disk utility as you suggested and tried repairing the drive, but it comes back with errors during the repair.

    I've been able to boot into the drive as normal, but the boot time takes a long time (~13 minutes). Any ideas on what could be causing this or is the best bet to simply backup and reformat?

    Thanks for the help!
  4. MarkH356 macrumors newbie

    Jun 23, 2011
    The Backup may fail if the disk has errors. Cloning the drive will also fail.

    Your options are;
    1. try to repair the disk (Disk Warrior is the best, but costs $100)
    2. copy the valuable data off onto an external USB drive, reformat the HD and then install a new system and reinstall your applications.
    3. put a brand new HD in the computer, install a new system and then migrate the stuff off the your old drive to your new system. You do this by putting the old HD in an external USB enclosure and using the Migrate from other disk option (this will bring documents, applications and settings etc including your keychain)

    If you can boot from the drive, my advice would be to try (3) first
  5. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    I'd agree #3 is generally the safest option, because it gets you a new disk just in case the screwup was because the old one is slowly failing (bad blocks can cause that kind of symptom, although it could also have just been random corruption). That said, a warning about using Migration Assistant to bring over your applications: Since the disk wasn't reparable (in a software sense) there could be damaged files in one or more application bundles, which would result in the migrated application either crashing randomly or not working at all.

    So if you want to be the MOST paranoid, the best idea is to do #3, but only migrate your user data, not Applications, and then reinstall everything you need from either fresh downloads or the discs, if you have anything boxed. That's what I'd do in the same situation (in fact, it's EXACTLY what I did when my Mini server's hard drive died a couple weeks ago), although I will admit it's probably overly cautious, and you could get away with just reinstalling any apps that have problems, and quite possibly not even replacing the hard disk.
  6. msaz87 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 1, 2008
    Repairing the disk failed, so what I had to do was delete the partition and recreate it. Luckily, since it would boot up eventually (after around 13 minutes), I was able to create a Time Machine backup and then work on the partitions and use the SL upgrade to reinstall the OS and then the backup to get it all set up.

    It definitely turned out better than expected, as I was getting worried when I couldn't repair permissions or the disk, but now both are verifying fine and it's booting up like a champ again.

    Thanks for all the help!
  7. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    Pro tip: Since you kept the same hard drive, you might want to download and install SMARTReporter, and make sure it's set to notify you of I/O errors. That will, at least some of the time, give you a heads up if your drive is misbehaving, just in case the problem you had was due to failing hardware rather than just a software glitch.

    I actually run it on all my computers problem or no, since it's very light weight and provides a little peace of mind.

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