How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask loadedmind Your Own Question
loadedmind, Mac Support Specialist
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 359
Experience:  Several years experience as consultant, corporate I.T. & sysadmin.
Type Your Mac Question Here...
loadedmind is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Suddenley my ibook g4 goes to the darwin/ bsd black screen

This answer was rated:

Suddenley my ibook g4 goes to the darwin/ bsd black screen and asks for a name which I can enter and then a password XXXXX it will not let me even type in , I hit return and it says password XXXXX and so it goes on and on. I am at a loss what to do please help all my photos , writings and irreplacable files are in there .... hHELP please

It sounds like your laptop has gone into single user mode. The reason you're unable to type in your password XXXXX XXXXX it's hiding it for you. This is as designed.

The next thing I would suggest is to reset your NVRAM using the following steps outlined within this apple discussion link:

If this doesn't fix your problem, the next step is a reinstallation of your operating system. From this point forward, you'll want to ensure your data is backed up to another hard drive or system. If you do not have access to another Mac or do not have your data backed up to an external hard drive or CD/DVD media, do NOT proceed as the next steps have you reinstall the operating system which will remove the data you've saved when the laptop was working normally.

What you'll need is your installation disk and you'll need to boot from it. After you insert the disk, hold down the power button until your laptop turns off. Release the power button and wait about 10-15 seconds (to allow the laptop fans to spin down, among other things). Press the power button to turn it back on and, while doing so, hold down the letter C as the system boots. You'll know it worked when you see the Installation Assistant. Follow the wizard to perform the installation.

Please let me know if this was helpful or if you require further assistance.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
thanks for the respnse, sadly , it pits the disc out after I turn on with the C held down so I can't load up from the os disc ?????

Any ideas.


Hi Steve,

Are you sure you have the original installation disk and not another AppleCare or other type of disk in your machine? If you're confident this is the installation disk, then did you have any success with resetting the NVRAM as per the suggestion in the apple discussion link? If you've also tried this, then try entering your username/password XXXXX the black screen (aka command line or shell). Use the same credentials you use when you regularly login. Also, have you set a root password XXXXX your Mac? Don't tell me what it is, but if you have it, try logging in as root. Please remember that when you type the password, nothing will display on the screen, but be confident that characters are being inputted. If you're able to login as your regular user account, please issue the following command:
/sbin/fsck -fy

fsck stands for "Filesystem Check" and will do just that. When it prompts you to enter your password, enter the one you usually enter when logging into your computer. After it has completed, type reboot and hit Enter.

You can view the entire Apple KB article that mentions the above steps from this link:

Please let me know your results.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Hi there thanks for the second answer, i have not resolved it so far , I am waiting for the original install discs to come to me from my folks and can then try your last resort option and re install the OS. I will of course lose all my photos and music etc. I have tried everything else you said, i can't accept until I've had a bash with the install discs. It will only be a day or so I will let you know .


Do know anyone that has a Mac? You can put your Mac in "Target Mode" which makes it look like an external hard drive to another Mac. At this point, they can drag and drop content from your machine onto theirs (or an external hard drive, hopefully). At this point, you'd be safe to wipe and reload your Mac since all of your data was backed up to another hard drive.

If you would like to consider this option, here are the instructions for putting your Mac in target mode:


Edited by loadedmind on 2/3/2010 at 4:31 PM EST
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Oh dear the problem continues, when I get to the install wizard it gets as far as select a destination volume to install the mac os x software , but no icon becomes visible and I can't go any further ??? I s that really bad ?
Beggining to give up hope .

Hi Stevie,

Sorry you continue to have problems with your Mac. At this point, it's possible that you have a suspect hard drive. In order to determine whether this is the case or not, you have a few options.

1) Find a local Apple Store and take your Mac to see them. You may want to contact that store before you drive out there to make an appointment as they may have a queue. If you have an updated subscription to AppleCare for your Mac, you can call their 800-number and they can arrange for your Mac to be picked up from your place of residence.

2) Purchase a copy of Diskwarrior and use it the same way you used the installation disk. Diskwarrior can perform a diagnostic on your machine and, most times, can determine if your hard drive is going bad, including other hardware such as CD/DVD-ROM drive, memory, etc. The problem with this step is that, even if it does determine bad hardware, unless you're Apple Hardware certified, you'll still have to have someone work on it for you, on top of the cost for the Diskwarrior software.

3) If you don't have an official Apple Store local, you may have an authorized Apple repair center and/or dealer nearby. Before you take your Mac to these people, make sure they are certified to work on Macs and not just feeding you a line. You might even want to go a step further and check with the Better Business Bureau, or comparable outfit, to determine whether customers who have used their services have had any bad experiences or not.

One last question - do you have an external hard drive with a recent backup from your Mac?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
No I have no back up as when I linked the two macs together in the target mode, instead of the target icon it showed a no name icon which had only two files inside and contained nothing. So I went to install mac os x from the original install discs. I have run the apple hardware test and it says there aee no problems. Is the hard ware test not similar to disk warrior. Incidentally the mac does not go to the Darwin black screen anymore , it just spins and then after a while shuts down !! I forgot to say that I initially ran the Apple hardware test before I tired to target the disc or install the operating system , could this have messed things up ? THanks for the help, once I get a reply from you, I will press accept, as you have been most patient and helpful.


Hi Stevie,

Thanks for the additional information. You're partially correct in that the Apple Hardware Test will do similar checks compared to Diskwarrior, but many folks have found that, even after the Apple Hardware Test comes back with no errors, Diskwarrior found issues since it does a more in-depth analysis. At this point, I would still call the hard drive "suspect", which is to say that it's still a possibility it may be "sick".

Ok, so you're saying that your Mac is shutting itself down after you press the Power button to boot it up? Have you tried booting while pressing and holding Command+S? If it will at least allow you to get to a login prompt and allow you to login, you can try the fsck command (which it sounds like your Mac is in dire need of). At least the filesystem checker will provide additional output if it had problems checking the disk for errors. Is your Mac still within warranty or do you have a current AppleCare subscription for it? Also, do you have a local Apple Store or authorized retailer/repair depot within driving distance?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thanks again, I tried the command s and put in the fsck command, comes up

diskOs9: I/O error
Invalid key length
(4, 8739)
**Volume check failed.
localhost:/ root*

earlier in the script it says

HFS: Removed 1 orphaned unlinked files

I don't know if you can work any thing out from that. No its not in warranty as its about 5 years old, most likely it will cost less to get a new one, I imagine I have lost all my work and files by now. THanks for all the help I will take it into the apple store.

CHeers Stevie
Based on the output of your fsck, it sounds like you might have a sick hard drive. Hard drives vary a great deal as to how long they last before they go bad. I've had drives go bad in as short a time as 4 years, while the computer I'm using now has a hard drive that's at least 8 years old and still going. Sorry about your hard drive issues.

I'd like to recommend that you get yourself an external hard drive as soon as you can. Get one that's at least 1.5 times larger than the hard drive of your computer. Then, get yourself some backup software. I really like SuperDuper as it will actually make a BOOTABLE backup of your Mac's hard drive to the external hard drive. What this means is that you can reboot your computer and hold Option which will prompt you to choose a volume to boot from. If your external hard drive is attached at the time you booted your Mac, that volume will show up as a choice. Once you select it, your Mac appears to work as normal, except, in reality, it's really using that external hard drive. This way you NEVER have to worry about losing your data again! Awesome stuff. I run a full backup every month, then I run a Smart Backup (which will only backup those files and folders that have changed since your last full backup) once a week. If you want help setting something like this up later, jot down my info from here and I'll help you out. Unfortunately, the thing with hard drives is, it's not a matter of "if", it's "when" they decide to quit working.

Take care of yourself and let me know if I can help you again,
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
John thanks so much for all your help, am I to understand that if I use an external hard drive that I could possibly retrieve the info I have on the ibook. As I said its not really the worth of the old ibook, as I have recently got a mac book pro, but of course was wanting to transfer all my files , photos , music contacts etc to the new one. I am going to buy an external hard drive on next months pay cheque to use with 'Time Machine " on the new mac, so maybe I could still get all my old files off and re stored then which would be fantastic. Once again many thanks . Do I use your user name loaded , through justanswer to contact you in the future.

Kindest regards


Honestly, it was my pleasure to assist. Yes, you are correct concerning the external hard drive. I actually have a few of them. One for Time Machine, another for my full/incremental backups and the third for when I need to share data amongst my peers. Speaking of which, if you need to share between folks that are on Windows, you'll want to ensure the external drive is formatted as FAT32 or they won't be able to see the data when connecting the drive to their USB port. Otherwise, you can use HFS Journaled. All of this can be done from Disk Utility, by the way. You should be able to drag the stuff from your older iBook onto that external drive, then connect it to your newer Mac to pull the data off. They're pretty cheap nowadays too. I'd check out for some extremely good prices on computer stuff (and also The prices are DRASTICALLY cheaper than going to Best Buy.

I believe you can do a search on my username, loadedmind, to be able to contact me again.

loadedmind and other Mac Specialists are ready to help you

Related Mac Questions