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Apple Notebooks Apple's notebook computers including MacBook Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, PowerBook, and iBook.

MacBook Pro - Unable to boot into single-user mode / "HD" partition dead?

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Member Since: Sep 10, 2008
Posts: 3
xantir is on a distinguished road

xantir is offline
My MacBook Pro (Mac OS X) refused to start, it hung up on the loading screen where you see the apple and the spinning loading wheel. I found out how to fix this, I had to go into single-user mode and type "/sbin/fsck -fy" to repair/verify the disk (I was unable to do so from the Disk Utility via the Install Disc, the repair/verify buttons were just grayed out).
Anyways, doing this from the command line (single-user mode) fixed the problem and I could boot into Mac OS X (there were more issuses after this point which forced me to do an "Archive and Install").

^ that happened a week ago. And happened again yesterday, hung up on the exact same point. So I boot up my Mac into single-user mode, and type in "/sbin/fsck -fy" to start the process. Different from last time, I got a lot of text this time. It also kept going for a longer while. After about 10 minutes, there was a couple of minutes where nothing happened. So I typed "/sbin/fsck -fy" again (as I'm supposed to do so until it says "** The volume (name_of_volume) appears to be OK"), and I got some more text, then nothing happened for a while.

Inpatient as I am, I considered the process to be complete, and restarted my Mac by typing "exit".
I think I ****** up my Mac OS X partition at this point. Because when I try to start my Mac now, it automaticly boots into Windows XP (my other partition). Also I cannot enter single-user mode or Verbose mode, the Mac just ignores and goes right into Windows XP.

I've tried to boot from the Install Disc. When I run Disk Utility, the "HD"(name of Mac OS X partition) is grayed out. I can't do an Archive and Install because it cannot detect my main partition.

An interesting thing though: When I have the Install Disc inserted, I can enter single-user mode (by holding cmd+s at startup). However, when I type /sbin/fsck -fy, it starts verifying the Install Disc rather than the HD.

Also when I open My Computer in Windows XP, I can see the other partition (MacDrive). When I select it, I see:
Free Space: 219GB
Total Size: 168GB

This indicates that my HD is dead/erased, and that my last three months of work is gone. This just because I'm impatient, and didn't wait for the fsck process to complete.

What is the next step? How can I get into single-user mode so that I can verify/repair my disc?

I tried using DiskWarrior, but I can't boot via the DW-CD. I get to the point where I see the apple logo, then the Mac just restarts and tries to boot again. It restarts again on the same point, and this just continues.
I've made sure I'm booting from the disc by holding options key while booting. I get two disks up: "Windows" which is my windows xp partition. and "DiskWarrior", the CD I have inserted, it has the DiskWarrior icon on it.

I've tried both DiskWarrior 4.01 and 4.0 - same thing happens in both versions.
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You've probably got some hardware issues with that hard drive. Since you can get into Windows XP, you might consider downloading a trial copy of MacDrive 7.0 from and copy whatever data you can from your OS X partition to an external HD or DVDs.

Also backup what you can from your Windows partition. You can't use WinClone unless you can boot into OS X.

After you've got what data (if any) off the drive and made a backup of the Windows partition, try booting with your install disk and go into first aid. See if you can verify the disk. You may wind up having to erase the disk and reformat. If there's a hardware problem with the drive, it won't allow an erase or re-format. Time for a new hard drive. (Which is what I suspect you need)

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Member Since: Sep 10, 2008
Posts: 3
xantir is on a distinguished road

xantir is offline
Thank you for the reply.

I have MacDrive 7.0 installed already, and I get the following error when I try to access my Mac OS X hdd through Windows MacDrive, I get the following error message:
"F is not accessible. The disk structure is corrupted and unreadable."

So I can't take a backup that way.

When I boot from the Install disc, and go into first aid, my "HD" partition is grayed out. So I can't perform verify, repair or anything. I could do this through single-user mode or Verbose mode, but I can't access those either. I can enter single-user mode when I have the install disc inserted though. But the fsck is performed on the install disc rather than the hdd.
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Member Since: Dec 30, 2008
Location: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
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aero5mith is on a distinguished road
Mac Specs: 15.4" Macbook Pro [Early 2008] (2.4Ghz Core2Duo, 200GB 5400RPM HDD, 2GB RAM, 256mb Nvidia 8600m GT)

aero5mith is offline
I have an early 2008 macbook pro (2.4ghz, 200gb HDD, 256mb 8600m GT, etc.) and i have almost the same problem, except that when i hold the option key at boot, it shows my windows partition AND my macintosh partition, but when booting into the macintosh partition, it hangs at the boot screen with the grey apple and spinning gear. So I boot into windows, and using MacDrive 7, i also tried accessing my mac hard drive, and it said the same thing, its corrupted or blahblahblah... and after a few reboots, windows can finally access the macintosh hard drive files without a problem. I thought that at this point the problem was solved, so i booted into mac, and it hangs at the boot screen again.

I entered single user mode, and used the fsck -fy command, it repairs a few problems, but theres always this one problem that it can't seem to fix ever, it always takes 3 tries to fix it and fails. it's says "incorrect number of thread records (4, 33991)"

Enough is enough, i tried booting into the install disc again, and format the drive, no luck. The permissions and repairs in disk utility are greyed out, and underneath the drive in the left side of the window, there are no partitions listed (normally it shows my macintosh and windows partitions) this is weird because windows works, AND it detects the mac partitions. Nonetheless i continue to the 'erase' tab, and try to erase, no luck, it says the hard drive is in use or something along the lines of that, i try some other options like 'zero out data' and it says that 'the zero pass erase failed with an error... could not open disk'

So i remember theres an option to repair and format the mac hard drive in MacDrive in Windows. I try all the options as a last resort... nothing. I need my macbook pro to start working, i must finish my portfolio, and i need my laptop for tomorrow's new year celebrations.
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Member Since: Nov 18, 2009
Posts: 1
Dauger is on a distinguished road

Dauger is offline
I have this issue as well. Has there even been an answer to this issue?
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Member Since: Jan 26, 2011
Posts: 2
lepuppy7 is on a distinguished road

lepuppy7 is offline
I've also got a similar problem (OS X won't boot up and yet windows will, OS X just hangs on the apple screen for a while and then goes to the blue loading screen, where it should bring up the menu to log-in but it never does), all I really need is to get my information off, i tried using a fire wire to another computer but that didn't work. Although if you can access your mac hard drive in the windows partitian then can't you just take everything off of there and put it onto an external hard drive and then reinstall? How do you access the mac harddrive in the windows partitian??
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