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John T. F.
John T. F., Mac Druid
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 3058
Experience:  20+ years in the computer/Mac industry
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I have an Imac and my start up disc is full. I cannot access

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I have an Imac and my start up disc is full. I cannot access my 'finder' to delete the extra files. I also cannot find my installation discs. Is there anything i can do?
Hello! My name isXXXXX will work diligently to provide accurate advice and information.

Are you saying the Mac no longer boots to the desktop?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

that is correct

Just before it crashed, it said that my start up disc was full but I was unable to access my files to delete.

Okay, do you happen to know which version of OS X is installed?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

hmmm, I thought the latest version. I really don't know.

Okay, try this and let me know what you see...

Restart the Mac

As soon as you hear the startup chime, press and hold the OPTION key.

Continue to hold it until a boot menu appears. It should list your "Macintosh HD" volume... does it list any others?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I'm doing it now. Does it matter if I am using a wireless keyboard?

Depending on the model of Mac it may or may not make a difference. If you do not see the menu, try a second time, if it fails to come up then the wireless keyboard may be an issue.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

a little box came up with an arrow. I clicked it and it acted like it was going to do something but it just went back to sign on. I'll try again.,

Ok, so the keyboard is working fine. Normally the arrow allows you to choose a boot volume. Was nothing listed at all?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I've got the arrow again. Should I hit the arrow or the hard drive image?


What choices do you see on screen?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

just the arrow and there is a pic of what looks like an external harddrive.


Ok, you do not have any external drives connected do you?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

oops. Yes I do. I just unplugged it.

Ok, restart and try again please. :-)
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I just did but it showed the image again and the arrow. Does it take a while to register that it's no longer plugged in? I'll restart again. It still didn't come up. ERG!

No, once it's unplugged then it would no longer be detected. It's likely it simply isn't reading the internal hard drive correctly.

Please try the following to see if we can correct those errors without a disc. If you manage to be able to boot to the desktop then you should immediately try to remove some files and create free space. OS X does not handle a full boot drive very well, as you painfully found out.

Restart your Mac

Immediately press the "Command"(Apple) key + "S" Key at the same time

When the screen goes black and you start seeing text, let go.

After a short period of time you will land at a command prompt (:/root#).

At the command-line prompt, type:
/sbin/fsck -fy

and Press Return.

fsck is a file system checker. It will run through a battery of tests, looking at different aspects of your file system.

When it's done, it will normally produce one of two messages

1) "The volume (name of your hard drive) appears to be OK

If it states the above, then your drive is fine and you can simply type "reboot" at the prompt to restart your Mac and boot back to the Desktop.

2) If fsck found any errors, it may have tried to correct them and will display this message: --FILE SYSTEM WAS MODIFIED--

If this message appears, repeat the fsck command you typed at the beginning

/sbin/fsck -fy

and Press Return.

Keep repeating this until it reports your drive is OK.

If by some reason you need to do the above more than 5 times, this indicates a more serious issue. At the very least, the hard drive needs to be formatted and OS X should be re-installed.

However, assuming everything goes okay, type 'reboot' at the prompt and then press Return.

As soon as you hear the Startup chime, press and hold the SHIFT key

Continue to hold the Shift key until you see the Apple logo and progress indicator.

Then, let go of the Shift key and let it boot to the Desktop (hopefully).

Once at the desktop, delete any unneeded personal files to make space and Empty your Trash, then restart the Mac once more.

If you still have concerns, simply reply back before rating. I'll be more than happy to work with you further. Hopefully, this info will answer your question. When you are satisfied, please give my answers a positive rating. You are judging my personal service only (not this website or your issue) and positive ratings assure I am credited for my time.

Thanks and good luck,

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