Arrrggggggghhhhh, my Mac won’t boot, into anything

Arrrggggggghhhhh, my Mac won’t boot, into anything

Well, a bit of a fib, it’s not my Mac, it’s someone else’s. He’s had several issues with the same machine over the last year or so, mainly with GPU AMD failure.

So, what did I do to fix it? It was a long winded process. Initially I thought the hard drive or the motherboard had failed. Basically when I booted the machine up it just went to a white screen.

WARNING – these worked for me, they may not work for you. The only way this will work fully, your Time Machine is needed. The author of will not be held liable for loss of data or broken machines. Do not perform these tasks if you are a novice.

Initially, the GPU AMD had failed again, so I followed the instructions on GPU AMD failure – method 1. The machine wouldn’t boot into Verbose, safe or recovery mode. I had a few issues with the single user mode, but finally managed to get in. It didn’t look normal, but it did the job. In this instance when I typed in:

nvram fa4ce28d-b62f-4c99-9cc3-6815686e30f9:gpu-power-prefs=%01%00%00%00

When I got to the = part, it decided to process the command that I hadn’t finished writing yet. I hit enter and I was able to write the full command in without issue.

I was then able to turn verbose on.

Type in reboot. This time I was able to get the Apple symbol:

MacBook Pro with Apple symbol

But it failed, it just shut down.

I thought is it a hardware issue. I went into diagnostic mode and did a full test. To get into diagnostic mode when you turn the machine on hold down the D key. When running the diagnostic it will look something like this:

MacBook Pro, diagnostic screen

As you can see with this, the screen is not entirely clear, that was due to teh GPU AMD failure, again.

So, what other options did I have? It just wouldn’t boot.

I decided to hold down the Alt/Option key on the keyboard when booting. This allows me to select the volume I want to boot into:

MacBook Pro – volume selector

I selected the hard drive and got the error:

MacBook Pro – error with update

Although this may not look good, it is fantastic news. It actually tells you what the issue is. This shows the update of the Mac was corrupt.

Two ways to resolve this, if you search for MacOS update download, you can find the official Apple image. You need the combo update.

If you download it on an Linux or Windows machine you will need to convert the image to an ISO. You can do this using dmg2img. You can then burn the image to either a USB or DVD.

In theory, you should be able reinstall the MacOS update from the disk. But for some bizarre reason when I went to the select volume screen it didn’t show the USB drive. When I put a DVD into the drive it kept getting spit out.

I was running out of ideas. What else could I try?

I plugged the time machine into the machine. I went into the select volume, voila, I could see the time machine:

MacBook Pro – volume selection – time machine

I selected the time machine, eventually I got:

MacBook Pro – time machine

In my case, I selected English, then continue. I then got this familiar screen:

MacBook Pro – macOS utilities

I could do several things here, if needed I could install a new version of the MacOS, but I wanted to restore it. So I selected the Restore from Time Machine Backup, next I got:

MacBook Pro – Restore from Time Machine

Click on continue. I got:

MacBook Pro – Select a Restore Source

Select the back up source, in this instance, Back up.

Click on continue and select the time machine back up you want to restore the machine to:

Click on continue, then select the destination:

MacBook Pro – time machine – Select a Destination

Finally, click on restore.

The time machine will restore the machine:

MacBook Pro – Restoring

It will start to erase and prepare to restore from the time machine.

MacBook Pro – Erase and Prepare

Once it has done all that, it will start to restore. With this restoration, it took close to four hours, this is what it will look like:

MacBook Pro – Restoring

Eventually, the restore will come to an end:

MacBook Pro – Finishing restore

The machine will automatically reboot. But, it still wouldn’t boot. It just shut down again.

I decided to try and boot into Safe Mode, to boot into Safe Mode, hold down the shift key when you first turn it on until you hear the chime. It booted.

MacBook Pro – after restore in safe mode.

I decided to boot the machine into normal mode. It still failed to boot correctly. So back into Safe Mode.

I tried to reset the NVRAM, you do this my holding down the Command, Option/Alt key and P and R simultaneously. Release when you hear the chime.

In this case, still no look. The next thing to try is to reset the SMC.

To reset the SMC, hold down Shift, Option/Alt, Command and the Power button simultaneously, make sure that your power supply is plugged in.

In this case, it still didn’t fix the thing. It just went to white then rebooted.

I have to say, now, I am really scratching my head. What’s wrong?

I tried to back into safe mode, no luck. I had to go back to the start and set the power preferences for the AMD GPU.

Tried to reboot in normal mode. I just get the Apple logo.

MacBook Pro stuck on Apple screen

I tried again to get into safe mode, this time it worked.

With this machine I had created an admin account the last time I did some work on it. I logged in, opened disk utility.

Clicked on first aid, then continue.

Reboot to see if it’s work……. no, still no good. I thought I would even try and to a full reset on NVRAM, to do this you hold down Command, Option/Alt key and P and R simultaneously and wait until you have heard three chimes. But this still didn’t fix the damn thing!

This is getting serious. What else could it be? I thought what the hell, why not go back to basics, don’t restore the machine, do a complete reinstallation of the macOS. Plug in your time machine, hold the alt key and select the time machine volume as explained above. When you see this select reinstall macOS.

So it went through the install process, reboot, and it booted into normal more, woohooo….. but the trackpad wasn’t working correctly.

Basically, when you move the mouse it’s fine. But when you try and click, nothing. To resolve this minor issue I went into settings then accessibility, disabled the mouse then enabled it again. It worked.

Reboot to make sure everything is working, it won’t boot again, arrrggghhhhh.

There must be something that is conflicting with the boot. But what?

First thing I checked, is the hard drive connected correctly? Checked that tried to boot, no nothing. I found some software called EtreCheck.

EtreCheck MacBook Pro

But nothing obvious when I get the report.

This is getting serious. My next thought is to format the hard drive and do a clean install. Plug in the time machine disk. When you start the machine hold down the command button until you hear the chime. Once booted head over to disk utility, erase Macintosh HD.

MacBook Pro – disk utility

Once done, close the disk utility and start the reinstall:

macOS utilities – MacBook Pro

You will get:

MacBook Pro – first install screen.

Go through the install process. In this instance I chose to migrate the information from the time machine.

After a few hours it was ready. Let’s boot. I won’t swear on here, but a few choice words came to mind, it still didn’t fscking boot!!!! But it did boot into safe mode.

To be continued…

Head over to install macOS on a new hard drive.

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