Stuck in a Loop-Mac only boots in recovery

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by TwangKing, Mar 14, 2019.

  1. TwangKing macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2014
    #1
    I am experiencing a reoccurring issue with my Mac Pro 5.1. I purchased this machine last summer. I’m running Sierra 12.12.6, which resides on a Samsung 250EVO SSD, plus I have Sierra installed on another mechanical drive for emergencies.

    Yesterday I shut down my Mac to do a bit of cleaning. When I started it up it would only boot to the recovery partition, showing the window with Mac OS X Utilities. If I quit Utilities and choose my start-up disk, it does the same thing, boots from the recovery partition. I restarted choosing my back-up version of Sierra on the mechanical drive, it boots fine. I have tried resetting NVRAM, SMC reset, no luck. I have tried swapping the drives to different bays, no luck. The SSD will not boot (only in recovery). It is visible, disk utility reports no errors, reports that it’s bootable and the disk is okay. I tried plugging it in to an iMac via USB. The disk shows up, but when I select it as a startup disk, same thing, only boots in recovery. Additionally, DriveDX and EtreCheck report no problems.

    I had this same exact problem in November. I shut down the machine for some cleaning, but when I fired it up, same deal, only boots from recovery. This was with a completely different drive (same model though - SSD Samsung 250EVO). What I ended up doing was a fresh install, migrating everything over from the un-bootable drive and all was well, until yesterday. I dread going thru this again.

    Any ideas? I can’t figure out if I have some funky hardware issue that’s corrupting my system or it’s software related. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. MIKX, Mar 14, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019

    MIKX macrumors 6502a

    MIKX

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Location:
    Japan
    #2
    950 EVO ? 960 EVO ? 970 EVO ? Which one do you have installed ?

    You 'possibly "MIGRATED" what was causing the problem so it was not a " CLEAN install " - I could be wrong here . ..

    What was involved in your " cleaning " Perhaps re-seating everything might help

    How is your ??? EVO installed . . PCIe slot 3 or 4 ?


    Off topic :
    You could do with a stronger GPU the 5770 was fast in it's day .. . AMD 5870 is much faster than the 5770 ..

    7950. 7970 or R9 280X ( all 3gb RAM ) are much, much faster & can easily be flashed by the Netkas script.

    After R9 280X no AMDs will show the EFI bootscreen.
     
  3. TwangKing thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 9, 2014
    #3
    It's a Samsung SSD 850 EVO 250GB, a little over two years old I believe, it's installed in Bay one. And yes, I agree with you on the migration thing, that occurred to me as well. The cleaning just involved blowing the dust out of the grates on the front & back, nothing major.
     
  4. MIKX macrumors 6502a

    MIKX

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Location:
    Japan
    #4
    Have you done SMC & NVRAM reset ?
    I do the NVRAM reset twice - wait for two Happy Mac chimes .. some people do 4 chimes.
     
  5. bsbeamer macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2012
    #5
    Shut machine down
    Pull power cord
    Remove door
    Pull all PCIe & SATA HDD/SDD out of sleds
    Replace the battery on the board (BR2032 OEM but CR2032 will work)
    Install ONLY GPU and single main boot drive
    Replace door
    Reinsert power
    Reset NVRAM on startup (https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204063)
     
  6. TwangKing thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2014
    #6
    MIKX, yes tried both procedures several times.

    bsbeamer, thanks for the detailed instructions, I will give that a try.
     
  7. TwangKing thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 9, 2014
    #7
    Replaced the battery, reset NVRAM, no joy, still boots in recovery only.
     
  8. bsbeamer macrumors 68000

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    Sep 19, 2012
    #8
    SMC reset should have been done if you removed power cord:
    https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201295

    What GPU are you using?

    Any chance High Sierra or Mojave was downloaded from App Store previously (firmware update) and then not installed?
    If so, did you keep or remove the installer from your system?

    Saw a newer MBP with this same issue very recently that turned out to be SSD corruption from a failed update due to the machine going to sleep during the update. Re-installing the OS fully fixed. You can re-install on top of what you already have. This works for High Sierra (believe same for Sierra) without removing or erasing your data or user profiles. It is typically faster than reinstall and import/migrate.
     
  9. TwangKing thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2014
    #9
    I tried SMC reset, nothing changed. I'm using a ATI Radeon HD 5770, it's what was installed when I got the computer.

    Funny you should ask, I just noticed a copy of Mojave install (that was just downloaded today) on the drive that I'm operating from now (this is the mechanical drive that has Sierra installed as well - this boots fine). Aside from that, I have the original installers downloaded from the App Store of Sierra on both the drive I'm using now, and the SSD that won't boot the OS, the installer resides in the Applications folder. There is no copy of Mojave on the SSD.

    As for re-installing on top of what I have, are you saying I should download a newer version of Sierra (I'm on 12.12.6) and perform an update? I don't want to mess with High Sierra if I can help it.

    As an aside, I found a guy who resolved a similar problem that was caused by some incompatible kext files, though this hasn't worked for me, I'm still exploring...
    os-x-el-capitan-10-11-1-hanging-on-boot-fixed

    I really appreciate your time on this. Thanks.
     
  10. tsialex macrumors 68040

    tsialex

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2016
    Location:
    Brazil
    #10
    What's your BootROM version? Hardware Information>Overview>BootROM Version.
     
  11. bsbeamer macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2012
    #11
    You should be prompted with "reinstall OS" through recovery as one of the troubleshooting options. Menu should look similar to this:

    Screen Shot 2019-03-14 at 5.13.29 PM.png

    Is that not available to you?

    As long as you do not proceed with a reformat, this installs a fresh copy of the OS on top of your existing. It tends to fix/resolve issues like you're describing.

    Do wonder if you're possibly stuck in a firmware update that was triggered by the installer downloads. Were you ever prompted to update firmware with something like this? And did you proceed with the firmware update?

    Screen Shot 2019-03-14 at 5.16.36 PM.png
     
  12. TwangKing thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2014
    #12
    Boot ROM Version: MP51.007F.B00
    --- Post Merged, Mar 14, 2019 ---
    It is available, yes. I was under the impression that it would overwrite everything with a fresh install, I'm gonna try it.

    I had all automatic updates disabled on the SSD, and I'm 99% positive I never saw or performed any update like that.
     
  13. tsialex macrumors 68040

    tsialex

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2016
    Location:
    Brazil
    #13
    You never did any firmware updates, you still have the original BootROM from 2010. There are 9 firmware updates after that, with the 10th to be released soon. You can't run anything after Sierra since you don't have APFS EFI support.

    You have to follow this instructions: MP5,1: What you have to do to upgrade to Mojave
     
  14. bsbeamer macrumors 68000

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    Sep 19, 2012
    #14
    Not 100% clear if OP wants to stay on SIERRA or update to MOJAVE. Still needs to install many firmware updates.
     
  15. TwangKing thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2014
    #15
    No, I have no interest in upgrading to Mojave right now, I just want to get my Mac Pro back to where it was before it ceased to boot from the OS. I cloned the SSD last night, just to have a back-up, I'm going to run the reinstall from the recovery partition this morning and hopefully that will have me up & running.
     
  16. tsialex macrumors 68040

    tsialex

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2016
    Location:
    Brazil
    #16
    Even if you don't want Mojave, you have to follow the instructions of MP5,1: What you have to do to upgrade to Mojave until you have upgraded your BootROM to MP51.0089.B00. You have to do all the first part.

    After that you can run High Sierra.
     
  17. TwangKing thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2014
    #17
    Huge sigh of relief...

    I ran the reinstall from recovery and that did the trick. So there was the solution, right in front of may face the whole time. As I mentioned, I just assumed that would install a fresh copy of the OS and I'd have to start from scratch, but everything appears to be right where I left it before all the troubles.

    Thanks everyone, especially bsbeamer, great resource having this forum. Now if I can just figure out *why* this is happened...
     
  18. bsbeamer macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2012
    #18
    Would still look into updating your firmware to at least MP51.0089.B00 in the future. This can be done with running the High Sierra installer(s). You do NOT need to actually install HS to update the firmware, however.
     
  19. TwangKing thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 9, 2014
    #19
    I'll take your advice, but why would I want to? More stability?
     
  20. bsbeamer macrumors 68000

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    Sep 19, 2012
    #20
    Possibly most importantly, it includes microcode update and security flaws for Spectre/Meltdown. Features & updates from MP51.0089.B00 > 140.0.0.0.0 are also important, but your 5770 GPU is not compatible to install them (requires Metal GPU).
     

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