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Mike, Mac Support Specialist
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 2186
Experience:  Apple trained Technician, A+ Certified, 20+ years of Mac support, repairs, training, and consulting
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my macbook was fine just a few hours ago, when I turned it

This answer was rated:

my macbook was fine just a few hours ago, when I turned it on now it boots to a black screen. is there anything I can do to fix it?

Try this:

Turn off the Mac.

Find and hold down the following 4 keys at the same time:

Turn on the Mac and keep the keys down until you hear the chime 3 times.

Release the keys and see if it boots normally.

Let me know if this helps. If so, please click Accept. If not, reply back here.

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
It did not work.

FYI -- I am the middle person between my husband who is in an airport on his way to do a presentation and you. In case you are wondering why it is taking me so long to write back.

Have him try this then...

Hold down the shift key while turning on the Mac. Keep the key down until the Mac gets to a login screen. This may take a while, so tell him to be patient.

If it boots to the Login screen then login and immediately restart.

If it does not, reply back here.

Mike and 3 other Mac Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
This did not work as well. However, when he pushed enter it spoke and said "authentication" and went black or turned off.
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Hi this is the husband. I'm at the airport. It will boot in safety mode but won't perf regular programs

So, does it boot normally now? Or still to a black screen?

Do you know if any software updates were installed?

Which Macbook is this?

What version of Mac OS X?
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
It is the macbook 13 inch white. It still doesn't boot. I know of no updates. Its a grey screen with the apple on it. My curor can be seen but nothing else. I have 0X 5.5

If it boots up and shows your home folder with the shift key down but not without it, then we will need to re-install to OS or, at the least, run disk utility.

You will need an OS X retail disk or the restore disk that came with the Mac. Then we can run Disk Utility from the installer and see if it can help. If it can't, we will then do an Archive and Install which saves your data and settings, but replaces the Operating System.

It just sounds like something failed and took a part of the OS with it.