Won't Boot. Doomed?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Commander Keen, Nov 16, 2012.

  1. Commander Keen macrumors newbie

    Jul 13, 2012
    I came home today and when I logged onto my Macbook Air and it told me it wanted to install an update and restart. I clicked okay and went away. When I came back it had booted into OSX Utility mode.

    I restarted a few times but got the same thing. It wanted me to "verify" my disk and then "repair" it. Every time I try to do that, it fails and says it cannot complete the job.

    I tried the option to reinstall the operating system but whenever I do:

    1. It won't show my Mac HD as an option, because it can't mount it; or
    2. When it does mount, it won't let me reinstall the software because the HD is "locked".

    Bootcamp still works and I am in bootcamp now.

    This is a Macbook Air, so I can't boot from a DVD.

    What can I try next?
  2. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    "What can I try next?"

    Easy. Just boot from your bootable backup clone that you created with CarbonCopyCloner. You'll be up and running in a couple of minutes.

    Yes, I know that you don't have one. This is a "live and learn" situation.

    In the future, do this:
    1. Either get a standalone USB external drive (I would suggest one that has an external power supply as well as being bootable via "bus power"), or for about $20-25, get one of these gadgets:
    (Many items shown, they all work the same, just pick one you like that's cheap)

    2. Get a "bare SATA drive" to go with the USB/SATA dock above. You might even be able to scrounge one up from a friend who doesn't need it any more.

    3. Initialize the drive using Disk Utility, then download the free version of CarbonCopyCloner (version 3.4.7) which is available here:
    (Note: ignore what it says about Tiger and Leopard -- it works fine with all current OS releases)

    4. Use CCC to create a bootable "clone" of the MBA internal drive to the external.

    You now have a fully bootable cloned copy of your internal that you can boot up from in a matter of moments, if you have a problem with the internal drive. Just reboot, and as soon as you hear the startup sound, hold down the option key and KEEP HOLDING IT DOWN. You'll see what to do next.

    Again -- with a bootable backup clone, a problem such as the one you're facing right now is easily overcome.
    But without a clone, things can get pretty troublesome!

    Those are your orders.
    Got that, Commander?
  3. Commander Keen thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 13, 2012
    Good to know for the future.

    But in the meantime, is there any way to get back up and running?

    The tools at my disposal include the internet, external USB drives and thumb drives, and the ability to boot into Bootcamp.

    I have backed up all the files that I care about, so if I have to, I would wipe the HD and start again. But I don't know how to do that!
  4. Harpo macrumors member

    Jun 23, 2006
    You said you can boot into Boot Camp, so it seems there is nothing physically wrong with your drive.

    Your MacBook Air should have come with a little flash drive containing Mac OS X. Boot with that, and check things out with Disk Utility. If you still can't get it to work, then I would back up everything on your Boot Camp partition to an external drive, then format the Boot Camp partition and install OS X on it. Once you're up and running, you can try things like Disk Warrior.

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