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What's wrong with my macbook?

(7 Posts)
zisforzebra Tue 04-Jan-11 20:26:29

My macbook has had a problem for a week now. When i start it, it chimes and gets as far as the grey screen with the apple logo and the spinning wheel thing and then sticks there with the wheel spinning.

I've tried the PRAM thing and taken out the battery and tried a safe boot off with the power cable but had the same problem. So I've booted it from the install disk and run disk utilities. It says it found no problems with the hard disk or disk permissions. I tried to archive and reinstall three times but it's failed for a different reason each time.

What should i do next? Is there anything except an erase and install? I have pictures that are not backed up (am so cross with myself for not doing it []) so really want to avoid an erase if i can.

prism Tue 04-Jan-11 22:47:34

It is possible for this to happen if you have corrupted preferences in yourhomefolder/Library/Preferences.

Unfortunately the only way to find out is to boot the computer up and get it to log in as a different user.

I can't remember if disk utilities on the boot CD allows you to create new user accounts, but if it does, create a new one and get the computer to boot up into that account. If you can do that you can then move your Preferences out of the way from your own Home folder and then log in as yourself.

If that doesn't work (ie if you can't log in as a different user) back up your Home folder on a separate hard drive, plus any files you may have saved anywhere else (pretty unlikely for most users, but if you have any folders on the HD other than Applications, Library, System and Users you may need to back them up too), and do an erase/reinstall, then put your Home folder back, leaving the Preferences folder out. When you set the computer up for the first time do it in the name of someone else, like "user"- otherwise you won't be able to reintroduce your real identity later. You will need to reinstall any extra software like Microsoft Office, Firefox, etc afterwards. That's fairly drastic but will work.

zisforzebra Tue 04-Jan-11 22:52:19

Thanks Prism. I'll give it a go tomorrow and report back.

prism Tue 04-Jan-11 23:29:08

Good luck. Note that some of what I've suggested may require firewire, which your MB might not have (seriously annoying of Apple to leave it out). I await with interest.

By the way I'm assuming that your computer only has one user account? If it has more than one you can tell it to boot into the other account from the utilities on the install disk, and that will save a lot of hassle.

zisforzebra Tue 04-Jan-11 23:56:59

Yes only one account unfortunately (will know for next time though!)grin

zisforzebra Sat 08-Jan-11 18:31:48

I've managed to get it archive and install - phew! Anything i should do to prevent having the same thing happen again?

zisforzebra Sat 08-Jan-11 21:09:35

Phewed too soon. Tried a system update and now have the scary black kernel panic screen.

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