Stuck on Gray Screen. 2009 White Macbook.

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by youKnow, Jun 16, 2013.

  1. youKnow macrumors newbie

    Jun 16, 2013
    I really need your help guys. I have two macbooks, as I hope you can see in my profile that I just created. The other day while I was out of town, the 2009 white unibody macbook my wife uses wouldn't boot. It just stays on the gray apple screen with the "loading circle". There is quite a bit of data that is not backed up on this computer, my main goal is to get the files from this computer by using Disk Utility. I'm sure DiskWarrior will do the trick, but I'm not interested in how to use that program, as I could figure that out on my own.

    What I've tried:
    I have tried holding shift to boot in safe mode, I have tried resetting the PRAM, I have switched my 2, 2 gig sticks of Crucial ram I have been running for a year for the original 2, 1 gig Samsung sticks, and I have tried booting into single user mode and entered /sbin/fsck_hfs -yprd /dev/partitionName substituting my partition name. The single user mode entry was attempted AFTER I inserted the Snow Leopard install disk that I used a year ago to do a clean install. Once I opened disk utility and verified my hard drive, it came back with "Invalid Node Structure". The repair option from Disk Utility did not work either. It just kept returning "Invalid Node Structure" in red.

    Now, I THINK I know my options.

    OPTION 1
    Thanks for that one Vishal...
    However, the 2009 Macbook doesn't have a Fire Wire port. It has a mini-display port that doesn't transmit sound, and 2 usb 2.0 ports. How can I get the files from my macbook using disk utility from the Snow Leopard install disk? I have a 150 GB external drive I can format for the method in the link above. There is less than 150 GB worth of data on the macbook, but the hard drive is 250 GB total. I also have a 500GB usb drive that I can use if necessary.

    There is one other option I'm aware of,
    OPTION 2
    I am less hopeful that this option will work, from what Vishal said in the first link, Invalid Node Structure means you're screwed. The question I have about this is, if I unmount the start-up disk to preform this method, do I risk losing data?

    I'm well aware that I can fix this problem by reformatting the drive, but the thing I need to know is,

    How do I get data off my 2009 Unibody White Macbook that won't boot, by using Disk Utility from the Snow Leopard install disk?

    I've scoured my options for getting the thing to boot as is, and I have exhausted them. I need help getting the data off the hard drive.

    Thanks in advance. I greatly appreciate any assistance you can give.
  2. madmacfan, Jun 16, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2013

    madmacfan macrumors 6502

    Feb 19, 2012
    London, United Kingdom
    The best thing to do in this instance, would be to access the drive by booting from the SL disc to see if you can repair the startup disk. insert the disc And hold down the option key (Left Alt Key), when booting. Hold the key down until you see the white screen with the boot options and select the cd., Once you have successfully booted from the disc you can select the disc utility from the top menubar. Once in Disk utility, Click on the internal Hdd on the left and click repair disc in the First aid tab. When the process completes, reboot the mac, again holding down the option key (Left Alt Key) and select the internal HDD. The mac should now boot normally from the internal HDD but if you're still having problems, let me know and i'll help you out further
  3. youKnow thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 16, 2013
    I attempted to repair the disk, as stated in my post, but it repeatedly returned "Invalid Node Structure". I am still unable to boot.
  4. madmacfan macrumors 6502

    Feb 19, 2012
    London, United Kingdom
    Do you have access to another mac. If so, pull the HDD from the mac and put it into an external caddy. The firewire technique no longer works with the Unibody MacBooks.
  5. youKnow thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 16, 2013
    Can I just create a disk image on a external hard drive via USB then boot from the external hardrive?
  6. madmacfan macrumors 6502

    Feb 19, 2012
    London, United Kingdom
    yes you can do that, but you must ensure the image is bootable. I recommend using carbon copy cloner (ccc) as it produces a bootable image.
  7. youKnow thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 16, 2013
    I just attempted to create a disk image using Disk Utility from the Snow Leopard install cd and it came back with "Unable to create "Macintosh HD.dmg." (Input/output error)" or .cdr depending on whether I select Read/Write or Master CD/DVD. I have formatted the external hard-drive to a GUID partition using Mac OS Extended (Journaled).

    I am wondering if I need to set up a bootable usb with DasBoot on it and Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC)... I can't use CCC normally because I can't boot!
  8. ResPublica macrumors regular


    Jun 12, 2011
    Install Snow Leopard on a USB Stick or USB Hard Drive of 16GB or more, I'm not sure if it would work with an 8GB drive. You can even use that Macbook to install SL to the USB Drive.

    However the symptoms seem to suggest that your hard drive died, in which case you might be unable to salvage your files easily.
  9. youKnow, Jun 17, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2013

    youKnow thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 16, 2013
    Thanks madmacfan!

    Late last night I managed to come up with a fix.

    1. Boot from Snow Leopard install disk
    2. Format external usb hard drive (160 gigs in my case) using disk utility into two partitions (GUID)
    3. Install Snow Leopard on smaller partition (about 10 gigs)
    4. Boot from usb hard drive partition that Snow Leopard is installed on
    5. Download and install Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC) onto usb Snow Leopard
    6. Run CCC from usb Snow Leopard
    7. Grab files from internal hard drive and clone them onto empty partition of your external hard drive

    This method was successful.

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