• anonymous
Mac geeks, help!! So my Macbook Pro hasn't been working for a while now. Last time it worked it was probably on mute so when I turn it on, I only see the apple and the churning thing, but hear nothing. My problem is that's as far as it gets. When my uncle got it to go to the sign in window or whatever, it said my password (and I mean any password I've ever used before) was incorrect. However, it doesn't get to that part anymore, just the apple and churning thing. Is there any chance I can do something without whiping my memory out? Also, I don't have the backup disk.
Computer Science
  • Stacey Warren - Expert
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  • jamiebookeater
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  • rsmith6559
All computers boot (start) in stages. At first, they're paperweights. Once power is applied and the machine turns on, it scans the hardware connected to it an realizes it's a computer. It then looks for and if it finds it, loads the kermel or a helper program that loads the actual kernel. Then the OS loads, and you have a command line computer. Then the computer loads some extra stuff to be multi-user and then loads and runs the graphical stuff. You can watch all of this stuff and stop the boot process at various points on a Mac. Guessing your skill level from your post, I'd recommend holding the Option+Command keys and booting from the install partition. Use Disk utility to run repair on your hard disk until no errors are found, no more than 5 times. While you're on the install partition, you can reset passwords too. After you restart, holding down the shift key, you should be good. If the machine won't start without the shift key being held down, you have some bad software. If it doesn't start with the shift key, your uncle may want to take another crack at it, or it should go to the Apple store. Any more repair stuff should be done after your data is saved out to another drive. I usually just copy your home directory for that. Apple's keyboard shortcuts during the boot are at: If you're working IN the boot sequence, there's nothing protecting the machine from you ruining it, so tread lightly.

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