Unable to access boot menu with USB HDD

Discussion in 'macOS' started by RoyalBeega, Jun 29, 2010.

  1. RoyalBeega macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Location:
    Oxford, UK
    #1
    Wonder if anyone can help. I have a new MacBook Pro running OS X 10.6.4

    I wish to create a bootable backup of my Macintosh HD on a LaCie 500GB USB external HDD which is 2-3 years old. I formatted the drive with a GUID partition table scheme, with the volume formatted as Mac OS Extended (Journaled), which I believe is the correct setup.

    I then used SuperDuper! to backup all files to the external HDD - no problems there.

    However, when I try to boot from the external HDD by holding down Option key during startup, I do not get the boot menu, instead the computer freezes at a blank grey screen and doesn't boot anything. If I remove the USB drive and do the same, the boot menu appears with Macintosh HD as the only choice (as would be expected).

    I have tried holding down Cmd+Option+Shift+Del during startup - this doesn't work either.

    Can anyone shed any light on this? Is it a problem with the MBP or the external HDD?

    Any help much appreciated.
     
  2. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    Location:
    forlod bygningen
    #2
    Does the external HDD show up in System Preferences > Startup Disk?
     
  3. RoyalBeega thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Location:
    Oxford, UK
    #3
    Does the external HDD show up in System Preferences > Startup Disk?

    Yes, it does.
     
  4. headfuzz macrumors 6502

    headfuzz

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2007
    Location:
    Brighton, UK
    #4
    Just hold down the option key at the chime for the boot menu, not the combination you wrote.
     
  5. RoyalBeega thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Location:
    Oxford, UK
    #5
    Er... I tried that first time, as described in my original post - doesn't work. I tried again just now, pressing Option exactly on the chime (as opposed to before the chime) - no difference.
     
  6. Darth.Titan macrumors 68030

    Darth.Titan

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #6
    The OP tried that first. The Cmd+Option+Shift+Del was an additional attempt, and that key combination does sometimes work when just holding down 'option' doesn't.

    OP, if the drive is showing in the Startup Disk PrefPane, have you tried selecting it there and restarting?
     
  7. RoyalBeega thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Location:
    Oxford, UK
    #7
    Yes - I just tried that (before reading your post, incidentally) and it fails to boot. I get the same blank grey screen at startup that I get when holding down Option key.
     
  8. RoyalBeega thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Location:
    Oxford, UK
    #8
    An update

    I have discovered some more things since my original post. The reason for wanting a backup on this specific occasion was that I thought I needed to perform a full OS X re-install and restore. This was because I am trying to setup a bootcamp partition, but bootcamp assistant could not create the partition due to the common "unable to move files" problem, which is well documented.

    On further reading of Mac forums, I discovered a potential fix to the bootcamp problem that involved starting up in single-user mode (Cmd+S at startup). However, when I tried this, I got the same blank grey screen and failure to boot, and so I suspected a problem with the internal HDD. I therefore ran Disk Utility, and lo and behold there were a number of disk errors that I was able to fix using Disk Utility on the OS X installation CD.

    As a result, Bootcamp now partitions my internal HDD fine! I can also boot into single-user mode.

    But.... I still cannot boot from the USB HDD, even with a fresh SuperDuper! backup (following repair of the internal HDD). As chscag suggested, I therefore suspect an issue with the LaCie. I have borrowed a newer Iomega USB HDD from a coleague and will try with that. Will let you know if it works!
     
  9. iThinkergoiMac macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2010
    Location:
    Terra
    #9
    I don't believe USB booting is normally easy to do (even on Intel Macs). The system prefers a firewire external boot disk (I do too as it's much faster, especially if you use FW800). I think there are extra steps you have to go through to get USB to boot properly.

    Here's Apple's support page for the subject: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1948
     
  10. Lokrado macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2009
    Location:
    Denmark
    #10
    I just made myself a tripple bootable USB pin easy as pie. if you can make a perfect disk image of your HDD containing system files and folders wit the right partitions its really easy

    what youw ant to do when you have you disk image is create a seperate partion on your drive for just this. then youll drag your image to disk utility and select Images > scan image for restore, once this process is complete you can restore the image onto the partition and it will show up when you hold down option during boot.
     
  11. RoyalBeega thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Location:
    Oxford, UK
    #11
    update 2

    I managed to boot from the new Iomega USB HDD no problem, so the original problem must be with that specific LaCie drive.

    Thanks to all those that replied.
     

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