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

Startup Disc Full. Mac won't boot. Me going insane.


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The_Brandon

 
Member Since: Mar 01, 2010
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I have a Unibody Macbook Pro running Snow Leopard. It had been giving me the 'your startup disc is almost full' messages for a day or so. I still had about 250mb and I was planning on doing a big cleanup very soon, so I didn't pay it much mind. Suddenly I got a message that told me my startup disk was completely full, and my programs started acting all funny. I checked my HD and found I suddendly had 0kb free.

Great.

I shut it completely down to deal with it later. Now, when I try to start it back up, it gets to the blue screen, and the same 'your startup disk is full' message pops up. I click ok, and then... nothing. It stays on the blue screen and doesn't budge. I can still press the power button and get the option of shutting down or restarting, but that's all I can do. I tried booting in safe mode, with the same result.

I'm sure it's because there is zero hard disk space now, but I can't get it to boot up so I can clear anything away. Anybody have any bright ideas?

Many thanks.

PS. It's probably worth noting that I don't have access to another mac (thus can't use target mode), nor do I have access to any of the discs that came with it (I'm in London, they're in the States).
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McBie

 
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Do you have a bootable backup with you ?
If so, you can boot from that and remove unneeded stuff from your internal disk.

Cheers ... McBie

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pigoo3

 
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If you have them...boot from the grey DVD that came with the computer or a black OS install disk...then clean up that hard drive.

- Nick

- Computer slow, too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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The_Brandon

 
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I do have a 1TB external drive that I use for backups. Can I boot from that somehow? I don't have any of the discs that came with the computer, as I moved to another country and stupidly left them back home. I figured that once I shut off the computer, it would free up whatever was in any temp folders and leave me enough to start it back up.

I was wrong.
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pigoo3

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Brandon View Post
I do have a 1TB external drive that I use for backups. Can I boot from that somehow? I don't have any of the discs that came with the computer, as I moved to another country and stupidly left them back home. I figured that once I shut off the computer, it would free up whatever was in any temp folders and leave me enough to start it back up.

I was wrong.
Here are a couple links regarding booting from an external drive:

Can the MacBook Pro boot from an external Firewire or USB drive? @ EveryMac.com

TidBITS : Booting an Intel iMac from an External Drive

Alternatively...since you have a MacBook Pro...go to your nearest Apple Store in London and purchase a OS 10.6 Snow Leopard install disk for 25.00.

That's a pretty cheap price to get access to your computers HD!

Hope this helps,

- Nick

- Computer slow, too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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chscag

 
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To the OP:

Just find the nearest Apple store in London and buy a retail Snow Leopard upgrade install DVD. The cost is $29.99 in the US. Convert that to UK currency and add whatever VAT and tax they charge. But that might be the most cost effective way to boot your machine - and you can also use the DVD for trouble shooting later on if the need arises.

Regards.
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pigoo3

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chscag View Post
To the OP:

Just find the nearest Apple store in London and buy a retail Snow Leopard upgrade install DVD. The cost is $29.99 in the US. Convert that to UK currency and add whatever VAT and tax they charge. But that might be the most cost effective way to boot your machine - and you can also use the DVD for trouble shooting later on if the need arises.

Regards.
Hey...didn't I already suggest/recommend that?

- Nick

- Computer slow, too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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chscag

 
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Hey, sorry about that Nick.... I either missed it or my glasses need changing!

Not a good day for me.... I drove to Best Buy to return an item I bought earlier only to find out I left the receipt at home.

Have fun with all those Macs.

Regards.
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pigoo3

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chscag View Post
Hey, sorry about that Nick.... I either missed it or my glasses need changing!

Not a good day for me.... I drove to Best Buy to return an item I bought earlier only to find out I left the receipt at home.
Just teasing!...sometimes a great idea is worth repeating!

Sorry to hear about your Best Buy return issue...I can DEFINITELY identify with driving all the way there...and forgetting the receipt!!!

- Nick

- Computer slow, too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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thomas998

 
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Without buying the disk your other option is to pull the hard drive out and use another mac to access it and delete some files (you will of course need an external enclosure to put the hard drive into but that might be cheaper than disks).
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The_Brandon

 
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Thanks for the help guys

I finally got it sorted. I found somebody to walk me through the process of booting in single mode and then we used the terminal interface to delete enough files to give myself space to launch finder. Kinda cool. Brought me back to my old DOS days...

Anyway, thanks again for all your kind suggestions!
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Boybland

 
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If anyone else happens to gets stuck with this, you can also plug your machine into a mates Mac with a firewire cable and turn on holding down T and it will show up as an external HD on their machine allowing you to delete stuff.
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wet

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boybland View Post
If anyone else happens to gets stuck with this, you can also plug your machine into a mates Mac with a firewire cable and turn on holding down T and it will show up as an external HD on their machine allowing you to delete stuff.
Will this work with an Ethernet cable or does it have to be a firewire? Are there any other more readily available types of cables this will work with? Thanks.
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