Trying to restore harddrive after an upgrade to High Sierra froze. Any help appreciated

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by poofimgone, Mar 21, 2018.

  1. poofimgone macrumors newbie

    Mar 21, 2018
    Hello! So as you can tell by the title yesterday i noticed a free upgrade option to High Sierra (was on sierra when i tried to upgrade). Well after sitting at the install start up screen all day i gave up, realizing it froze on me and tried to reboot it. Aaaand well i guess it's kind of ****ed up now :( . I'm pretty poor right now lol so I've been looking all over online so i dont have to pay for someone to try and fix it. I've tried a few things.

    I've tried messing around im the disk utility menu that pops up when i start it up. Basically im trying to save all my data cause im dumb and hadn't backed anything up. I try to click repair(first aid) but it says i can't because its mounted. I messed around with that menu for a bit trying to see if there is anything i can do. From the same menu i tried reinstalling High Sierra but after its done it just restarts and im back at the same menu.

    I attempted to do the internet recovery which offered me the old school menu, and the option to reinstall Lion which was the OS that came with this mac when i first got it. (I'ts a '13 Macbook Pro 2012). Of course it says i can reinstall it because a newer os is already installed. In the old school disk utility there is an option to restore a disk image. But im not sure if i can restore the disk image to the same disk. The disk that show is my "untitled" disk which is under the other disk "(full brand name of HDD or whatever)" I know its the same one, but was wondering if id be able to restore it onto it.

    I dont know lol, im just throwing out ideas at this point. I'm able to look at the image and all my files and stuff so i know its all still there. If anyone has any ideas or any knowledge they'd like to throw my way, i'd really appreciate it! Tried to get in contact with apple support, but i guess you need your warrantly to still be in play for them to give you the time of day :/

    Thanks in advance
  2. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    "Basically im trying to save all my data cause im dumb and hadn't backed anything up."

    Well, you could LOSE much or all of your data because you didn't back up.
    That's nobody's fault but yours.

    If you can't boot your Mac, you'll need ANOTHER MAC running High Sierra on which to do the following:

    1. Get a USB flashdrive 8gb or 16gb.
    2. Get a copy of the High Sierra installer
    3. Download Boot Buddy (it's free) from:
    4. Use Boot Buddy to create a bootable USB flashdrive with the High Sierra installer on it.
    5. Boot the Mac from the flashdrive, then try an install "over" the drive as it is. DO NOT erase it first, or you'll lose all the data that was on it.

    This should install a working copy of the OS, but leave your accounts and data alone.

    NEXT TIME you try something like this, MAKE A BACKUP FIRST.
    I recommend CarbonCopyCloner to create a cloned, bootable backup on an external drive.
  3. poofimgone thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 21, 2018
    Thanks, man. I'm sure you guys get a lot of people like me coming through here so i appreciate you still taking the time to guide me through some steps. I swear a day or two before this happened i was just telling myself i needed to back it up now that i had important things on my laptop.. guess the universe was trying to give me some warning lol. Gonna get an external hardrive and usb next week and follow your steps and hope for the best!
  4. BLUEDOG314 macrumors 6502


    Dec 12, 2015
    A few things. If you can pull this off you'll be able to save a good amount of data probably, and time as well.

    Now, you said you were on Sierra before right? If you were on at least 10.12.4 (latest Sierra being 10.12.6) then holding CMD+Option+R at boot should take you to internet recovery for the latest compatible version of MacOS for your machine which is 10.13.3. If you held Shift+CMD+Option+R then it will go back to the version installed when your computer shipped. See:

    Second, try booting your computer to single user mode by holding CMD+S when you boot. Does it boot to a black screen with white text? If it does you will likely be able to back up much of your data. Let me know if you can get here and I'll type instructions on how to rsync data via single user mode. You will need an external hard drive formatted to jhfs+ for this to work.
  5. hallux macrumors 68030


    Apr 25, 2012
    This is good advice. While I used a USB stick as suggested by @Fishrrman I was able to recover a FileVault-encrypted Sierra install that was kernel panicking after a failed attempt to upgrade to High Sierra using a method as described above. It was a treat and the client was very grateful it was recovered without data loss. Of course - I also made a backup just in case...
  6. poofimgone, Mar 29, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2018

    poofimgone thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 21, 2018
    ahh sorry i didnt respond sooner, i never got any email telling me there were more responses to the thread :/ . i did try the CMD+option+R route again and like before it brings me to menu with disk utility/time machine/re install os etc. when i select reinstall os it only gives me an option to reinstall high sierra though, not sierra . and when i do try to reinstall high sierra, it finishes and then restarts, bringing me back to that same menu with all those options :( .. im not sure what this means. if you have any ideas, id be glad to hear them.

    as far as the other option i have an external harddrive / usb coming to me in the mail. should be arriving saturday or monday. If i cant figure anything out then ill go the route of using those two to try and recover my data

    oh and i forgot to add, yes i did CMd + S and i do get a black screen followed by a wall of white text :)
  7. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009

    I would not "try too much more" on the internal drive.
    You risk losing any recoverable data on it that way.

    Again, I will reiterate:
    - Get an EXTERNAL drive (I see you have one coming).
    - Install the OS onto it and establish an account so that it's fully bootable to the finder
    - Use this to boot the Mac.
    - Get booted to the finder this way (externally) and then see if you can mount and access the internal drive "in the finder".

    At that point, get back to us and "tell us what you see"...
  8. poofimgone, Apr 2, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2018

    poofimgone thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 21, 2018
    hey guys, just figured i’d update! so i got the external harddrive today in the mail. i plugged it in and reinstalled high sierra on this one instead of the one in my macbook. it went through then during set up it gave me the option to migrate all my data to the new harddrive which i took the risk and did. and it worked! starts up and all my files are in here so thats good news. going to just go through it to make sure its all good then wipe my old hdd and back up all my stuff onto it. thanks for the help :)

    edit: it seems like my files are on the new harddrive but all my apps are being run from my old one

    hmm, well actually when i select show in finder to the apps on my dock it shows all the apps from my other hhd but when i manually go to that hdd to look at the apps none of them are there.. strange
  9. LarryJoe33 macrumors 65816


    Jul 17, 2017
    For future reference - hold down command-option-R next time and you can install the latest OS. It's internet recovery but will give you the latest OS. A lot easier and quicker than creating that thumb drive and loading up software to make it bootable.

    Another option if you are in a pinch and have a windows machine accessible is this:

    Some tips going forward (besides the backlash you already got), save EVERYTHING to iCloud using iCloud Drive and also turn everything on in iCloud to be backed up / stored. If you do this, when you sign in with iCloud after installation, pretty much everything will be there. Files, email accounts and settings, etc.

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