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Justin, Network Admin
Category: Mac
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Experience:  10+ years IT experience (Corporate Network Administration),
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If my MacBook purchased in 2006, has a rectangle on screen

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If my MacBook purchased in 2006, has a rectangle on screen that says I need to press power button and reboot, but when I do that it just comes up again, will you be able to get my data off my computer or fix it?
Greetings, my name is XXXXX XXXXX I will do my best to assist you with this issue.

This is generally a kernal failure, it can be caused by hardware failure (such as faulty memory, etc), or an issue with the actual operating system files. Regardless, your first course of action is to try to start the machine in safe mode to see if it boots there.

I can tell you that your data is likely recoverable regardless as it's picking up the hard drive (or it wouldn't even attempt to start).

Anyway, try this. Power off the mac. Turn it back on, after turning it back on IMMEDIATELY hold down the shift key and don't let go until it starts in safe mode.

You can release once you see the spinning circle. If you're able to get into safe mode, please let me know. Once in, you may initiate a restart normally and see if it starts up again as well.

Please reply back and let me know if at the very least it was able to start in safe mode.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

How long should this take? It seems to be moving, bar across bottom of screen. Bar finished, now spinning, spinning, spinning circle. ??

It shouldn't take all that long.

However, IF it's a failing hard drive being the cause of the issue, safe mode won't save you. Damage/loss is on the actual operating system.

Data recovery would likely have to be performed and a drive replacement afterwards. Understand that if it's any sort of hardware failure, there's no "software" steps that can "fix" it. Hardware being the hard drive, the ram (memory), or even possibly a failed peripherial such as an external mouse, or internal component like the video card.

My recommendation for now, would be to power it down, attempt one more time (with the shift key), and wait it out, possibly 30 minutes or so. If the drive is malfunctioning EVERYTHING will move to a crawl. Ideally we'd want to get into safe mode just to pull your most important data off if possible.

If that fails, shut it down once more. This time on startup hold down the Command key + the R key.

And once you get to the recovery options (if it gets that far), I would attempt a disk repair. Ignore the other options for now.

The above link is simply a reference for you to the recovery options, we want to try the disk one for now. Keep me posted please, if I don't respond immediately, give me time, I will respond the very moment I can.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

We got in with safe mode would not recognized external drive. We tried to restart in safe mode and would not do anything. We then shut it off and restarted from off and it reboot and recognized external drive. We got the files off we needed. Running very slow. What should be our next step? Should we run disk repair?

Very good, yes, attempt the disk repair now. Reply back to me when finished with the outcome, good or bad. There are other options after disk repair if that doesn't fix it outright. I doubt it's memory related
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Tried pushing command + r key. Doesn't seem to be responding/doing anything? At what point should I press it, after choosing shut down or restart? I tried at different points, not sure it's doing anything.

After turning the machine back on. Same way as you did the shift key.

There are other ways to run it of course:

Command + R may only be for lion/mountain lion. Given the age of your machine you're likely running leopard.

You'll very likely need an install disc to run the disk utility on the startup drive.

But let's try a different way first. We need to get you into single user mode. So instead of doing command + r on startup, do command + S

After startup, you should get to a command line prompt.

Type this:

/sbin/fsck -fy

There's a space between fsck and -fy

Then hit return.

Though if memory serves me correctly, disk repair is ran everytime you start in safe mode. However, the above steps will force it to. If it's still running poorly at that, your best option may be to replace the hard drive and reload the OS. It's good that the data has been recovered, but if it's a detoriorating drive, it will only get worse before it gets better. Hard drives are cheap nowadays thankfully. But go ahead and try a manual disk repair, (the command line one), it may take a few tries. You should get an "OK" message once its completes successfully.

Let me know if you're able to run it.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Command +S worked, but after it stops, the last sentence is System uptime in nanoseconds; XXXXXXXXXXX then a fat curser, but it wont let me type anything. No response to my key strokes, i waited a long time, still won't respond to my typing.

Alright Cindy. You would need to get a install disk for leopard, and run the disk utility from that to really go any further.

But given your symptoms, I'd suspect you're dealing with a failed hard drive. If you want to try to replace it yourself I can try to guide you through it, but you'll still need the install media to even reload the operating system.

I'm not entirey sure what the Apple Store would charge for such a procedure, but they should be able to get you the OS.

I'm not entirely sure what version you're running, but for example, snow leopard can be ordered here:

If you know what version and what like to me look it up I can try to find it. Typically, a SATA hard drive (what that has in it) is usually around 60-70$'s.

In order of things though, I would first get the install disc and attempt a repair, and/or a fresh install. Just in case the damage is software corruption and the drive is actually ok. From there make the determination of whether or not to replace the drive. You can always respond to me at anytime (even after rating), even if its a few days/weeks later you can still reach me again via My Questions at the top right. Drive failure is one of, if not, the most common issue with laptops, so it's a safe bet that's what's failing out. It would exhibit startup issues, massive speed issues, and very sporatic functionality.

Let me know what you decide and if I can assist further in any way.
Justin and 3 other Mac Specialists are ready to help you
Thank you, and remember, you can reach me again at any time here (or from your email) and I'll be happy to assist.

Always give me time to respond though as I'm not always here.

Thank you

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I cleared my hard drive, reinstalled os x, updated all software. The only thing is that when i installed os x from the disks that came with my computer, it left off iphoto. Everything else seems to work. If this costs another $58, please don't answer. We purchased a new computer, just cant figure why it didn't have iphoto anymore??


Download it here:

(you won't need to pay again, I'll still help you here).

Let me know if you run into any trouble.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I guess I need the link to down load ms x 10.7.5 or later. iphoto needs it to run....

Figured if you bought a new one you'd be up to date.

Here's how to do the newest updates though, then you can return and grab Iphoto after.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Sorry, it's my old computer I'm trying to get iphoto to work on. The version on it is Mac OS X version 10.6.8. It says iphoto needs 10.7.5 to work. My new computer doesn't come in until Thursday.

Iphoto, for older versions (to my knowledge) is usually bought a la carte, so you would need the disc as I don't believe apple hosts it online. Might have to wait it out. Odd that it would disappear.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Yes, very odd. I have the original cd's that came with my computer. I installed it twice. Everything seemed to install fine, except iphoto didn't show up. ituns, photo booth, etc., showed up as normal. Oh well, thanks for your help, anyway.

I understand, It sounds like you keep your software, so it's kind of a guessing game as to if the disc was supplied or if it was preloaded for you when you bought it, etc.

I believe, in the older versions, it should be part of the ilife suite, if that helps.