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Brian
Brian, Certified Apple Consultant
Category: Mac
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Experience:  I've been supporting Mac users and business professionally for 14 years.
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My macbook pro wont startup. it does the startup chime and

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My macbook pro won't startup. it does the startup chime and I get the screen with the apple and turning gear below it. It stays for about 5-10 minutes then restarts and keeps doing that cycle.

Brian :

Hello. My name isXXXXX try to help you with this.

There are a few ways to go about resolving this. We'll start with the easiest. Do you have your restore cd/dvd?

Brian :

If you don't have your startup cd, you can also use a second Mac.

Customer:

I might have in my file cabinet

Customer:

I have a second mac

Brian :

Great. If you have a firewire cable, we can boot your MacBook into something called "Target Mode", where we use the other Mac to fix it.

Or we can boot your MacBook from the restore cd. Whichever is easier to find..

Brian :

If your MacBook Pro is running 10.7 or 10.8, you can also boot into something called Recovery Mode, where we can access the Disk Utility app. You can boot into that mode by holding down the Option key at the startup chime.

This feature is only on 10.7+

Customer:

Shoot, I don't have a firewall cable and I can't find the disk. I've had the computer three years and have moved several times.

Customer:

I believe it is only running 10.6

Brian :

Ok. We still have another way to start up. Restart your MacBook and hold the "Shift" key until you see the grey apple logo. This boots your Mac into something called Safe Mode, which loads a minimal set of system software. This mode also performs a disk check, so the startup will take longer than you're used to.

If your Mac finishes booting up all the way (to your desktop) in Safe Mode, then click the Apple menu and restart normally (no keys down).

Customer:

How long should the grey apple screen be up?

Brian :

It'll stay up longer than normal, for sure. It should eventually boot past that, to the desktop.

Customer:

Ok, a screen just popped with with some script in the top left and in the middle it says " you need to restart your computer"

Brian :

Safe Mode does a directory (disk) check, and also deletes some cache files related to startup, any of which can cause your Mac to hang when booting.

Brian :

Ok. Good. Is it a black screen with text?

Customer:

black screen behind the text

Brian :

Ok. I think you can hit "Return" to do the restart. Or you may need to type in "Reboot", depending on the prompt.

Brian :

Did the "you need to restart your computer" message just appear suddenly, or was there any activity/text prior to that?

Customer:

It popped up at the same time as the text

Customer:

The top thread say's "unable to find driver for this platform" it also say's MAC OS version: Not yet set

Brian :

Ok. That sounds like something called a kernel panic. Let's try something else. Restart your Mac and, at the chime, hold down "command" + "s" (together). This will boot your Mac into another mode called Single User Mode. You'll see a black screen with a LOT of white text, if you've done it successfully. When the text stops, you'll have a prompt at which to type. Let me know when you get there, and I'll tell you what to type..

Customer:

It does say debugger called: <panic>

Customer:

Black screen script up

Brian :

Ok. Let me know when the text stops.

Customer:

its stopped

Brian :

Good. I want you to type in "/sbin/fsck -fy", without the quotes. Note there is a space before the "dash". So it's..

/sbin/fsck (space) -fy

Then hit return.

Brian :

This will run a disk check. Let me know what it says when it's finished.

Customer:

It popped up more script before I could type. Seems like it's still checking the system

Customer:

It just turned itself off and restarted without me doing anything

Brian :

Ok. Normally it would have stopped at some point to allow you to type.

Let me know if it reboots to the desktop.

Customer:

Back to the grey apple turning gear screen

Brian :

If it wont start up all the way, your drive may be damaged beyond what Single User Mode is able to fix. That's not horrible news, but it does mean you'll need to boot your Macbook from a system cd, OR, via a firewire cable (connected to your other Mac).

Brian :

You'll want to look at the Firewire ports on both of your Macs, to see which specific type of Firewire cable you'll need. Are the ports shaped exactly the same way on both Macs?

Brian :

Some Macs have Firewire 400 ports, which is a rectangular shape with two angled corners.

Brian :

Other Macs have Firewire 800, which is a more square shape, with a small notch at the bottom.

Customer:

looks like Firewire 400

Brian :

The Apple Store, or Best Buy, or Fry's.. will likely carry 400-400 cables, or 400-800 cables.

Brian :

Does it look like Firewire 400 on both Macs?

Customer:

It does

Brian :

Ok. You can save the following instructions for later (tomorrow?). I'll tell you how to fix this in Target Mode..

Connect the Firewire 400 cable between both of your Macs. Reboot the MacBook Pro and hold down the "T" key at the chime. If you do this correctly, you'll see a large Firewire icon appear on the display. That means your MacBook is in Target Mode.

Next, on your other Mac, open up Applications > Disk Utility. When Disk Utility opens, it will show you a list of disks on the left side. One should be the icon for your MacBook Pro (probably with an orange Firewire icon). Select that disk and click "Repair Disk" over on the right. After a few minutes, it should finish and say (hopefully) the disk was repaired successfully.

Brian :

If Disk Utility finds errors it *can't* fix, you may need to buy something called Disk Warrior. It's commercial software (~$90), but it's better than Disk Utility. It's something you can find at the Apple Store, or maybe Best Buy or Fry's. It's also available online, but you'd have to wait for the cd to be shipped.

You use Disk Warrior by putting the CD in your MacBook and restarting with the "C" down. That forces a boot from the CD. After it's done booting, you can rebuild your disk. Disk Warrior is very easy to use.

Brian :

I'm sorry we couldn't resolve this tonight. Let me know if you get your hands on a system restore cd (from a friend, even), or if you get a Firewire 400 cable. I'll be happy to walk you through this if I'm available, when you have either of these in hand. Just reply to this chat/question and I'll be notified via email.

We're not at a point of giving up hope. I think you'll be ok.

Customer:

Sounds good brian, thanks for your help!

Brian :

You're welcome. I'll check in on this thread/chat tomorrow and Friday, in order to keep it open. Just let me know when you're ready to move to the next step. Thank you!

Brian and 3 other Mac Specialists are ready to help you

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