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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Dec 15, 2006
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    33
    Lost in the underworld clutches of Terminal, the wicked beast
    I'm a nice guy, I don't step on ants, and I obey the law. I'm still using my white 2001 G3 iBook, running OS 10.3.9, and mostly surf the Internet. I do nothing fancy, and it's not likely I'll ever write a book on how to be a hero to your computer.

    Last week, I ran Onyx, a little utility I picked up recently to do maintenance and optimization. I don't know what that means, but it sounded good. The details of what ensued are blurry now, but I ended up with a black window and white text on my screen. I'm not sure of the language but there was a little English mixed in with Swahili or something else inscrutable like Chinese At the end of the text, there was a very fat, white capital I.

    I called a friend whose intelligence is only one pay grade higher than mine who said Holy! you're in Terminal, you just demolished your machine!!! At the library, I found a picture with the same screen. The caption said: type — fsck -y, and then hit "Enter." I did that and it sounded like my machine was making cement. After awhile I got a report that said: "The volume Macintosh HD appears to be OK." The caption advised: type"reboot" and hit ENTER.

    I did so and ended up exactly where I began this odyssey mired in that black screen. Then, another friend thought that maybe I should type: EXIT and hit ENTER. Jesus, that caused everything to hit the fan, my whole HD paraded down the screen, I couldn't believe my eyes. Finally, after the rattling subsided, I ended up with a normal blue screen from whence I logged in. I was elated, everything worked great, except every morning I get that black window back and I have to go through that EXIT routine all over again.

    Is there anyone out there who knows how I can get the heck out of Terminal where a dummy like me has no business to start with. I've uninstalled ONYX to forestall a repeat of this horror in the future if I ever get this wretched mess straightened out. Can I type: "GET LOST" to banish Terminal back to the underworld again?

  2. #2

    xstep's Avatar
    Member Since
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    First; Great story. You should think of writing that book. This is amongst the best introductions to a problem I've seen. Very funny. By the way, NEVER execute a Unix command when you don't know what it is going to do because it could wipe out your system.

    I'm not yet sure of your issue.

    Are you saying that when you boot up from an off state that you Mac boots with a bunch of text scrolling and eventually a full screen version of Terminal with no GUI?

    Or, are you saying, that the boot process is normal, but that a small Terminal window opens automatically and you then just have to quit that Application?
    CameraTime - Time lapse photography for novice and advanced users.

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  3. #3


    Member Since
    Dec 15, 2006
    Posts
    33
    To complicate my excruciating woe, I suffer from a gaping ignorance of computer lingo. I had to look up GUI in Webopedia, and I'm still not sure I know what you mean? Let me try to explain my problem again. When I hit the Power Button after a Shut Down, what ultimately materializes on my screen is the Terminal window (i.e., white text on black background.). If I type EXIT at the fat white capital I at the very bottom (prompt mark?) and press ENTER, an avalanche of Terminal stuff scrolls down my screen in fits and starts which happily culminates in my normal blue screen from whence I'm accustomed to choosing what I'll do on that occasion. As long as I keep my computer on — no problems. When I shut down for the night, I can look forward to the routine I described above when I boot up in the morning.

    If the distinction between your two questions is the size of the Terminal window, in my case the Terminal window I'm coping with, is the full screen, the whole caboodle.

    I've had the benefit of other advise, as follows: I was urged to hold down keys P-R-Command-Control while starting up to teach my PRAM manners. I did this, it wasn't easy, but the result was nil.

    I've also been advised to type in QUIT and press ENTER. I held off on this one.

    Another helpful person grinning from ear to ear and using a festive voice, advised me that using that fsck routine with Panther, was as good as dropping my iBook off the roof on a pile of rocks. It had to do with something about a Journal.

    I still can't believe how a virgin like me got so pregnant!

  4. #4

    kahlil88's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 29, 2008
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    Mendocino, CA
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    17" MacBook Pro A1297 2.3 GHz i7 4GB DDR-1333
    GUI is graphical user interface, meaning icons, menus, windows, mouse cursor, etc. If you're getting a full-screen command prompt before the GUI even loads, I'm guessing your computer is booting Mac OS X in debug mode or something. Also, while it's possible to screw things up typing in commands that you don't understand, using Terminal isn't going to destroy the computer, as your friend suggested. It might help if you gave a more detailed description of what comes up.
    There is no system but GNU and Linux is one of its kernels.
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  5. #5

    Dysfunction's Avatar
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    Mar 17, 2008
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    Way... way too many specs to list.
    well, the good news is fsck is just a file system check

    Now, how'd you boot to single user mode? which is what it really sounds like


    out of curiosity what are the contents of this file? /etc/ttys
    mike
    This machine kills fascists
    Got # ? phear the command line!

  6. #6

    cradom's Avatar
    Member Since
    Feb 14, 2004
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    21in. iMac 10.11 --- HP win 10
    I suggest you reinstall Onyx and uncheck the box for "Single User".
    It's easier than trying to fix things in single user mode.
    Delusions are often functional. A mother’s opinions about her children’s beauty, intelligence, goodness, et cetera ad nauseam, keep her from drowning them at birth.
    -Lazarus Long

  7. #7

    xstep's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jun 25, 2005
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    2011 MBP, i7, 16GB RAM, MBP 2.16Ghz Core Duo, 2GB ram, Dual 867Mhz MDD, 1.75GB ram, ATI 9800 Pro vid
    Also, according the OnyX Help system, you can type the following at the terminal prompt;

    nvram boot-args = ""

    To find the whole information, type single-user in the Help box and click on Login which will show you the info you need.
    CameraTime - Time lapse photography for novice and advanced users.

    When asking questions, post the version of your software. You'll receive better answers.

    Please post your results to the thread as it is good feedback.

  8. #8


    Member Since
    Dec 15, 2006
    Posts
    33
    I'm not depreciating brains or anything like that, it's nice to have a brain or two, but thank god for plain dumb luck. It's a long story, but shortened to a manageable length let me proudly confess that though I didn't have a clue what I was doing, I solved my problem.

    Blindly following the advice of a person, who without equivocating, instructed me to spread my fingers around on my keyboard in such a way as to insure that the Command - Option - R - P keys were depressed right at the Boot. I was told to listen for the introductory chord and to maintain my position until the chord sounded a second time. This arcane maneuver was alleged to have reset my PRAM. I don't know what a PRAM is, but my mine must have needed a resetting because my problem magically disappeared.

    Hallelujah and hot-dog, I'm back in business. Thank all of you who came to my rescue — it all worked out in the end.

  9. #9

    harryb2448's Avatar
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    Nov 28, 2007
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    Imac 27" Retina 5K, 512GB flash memory, 3.3GHz, 16GB memory, macOS Sierra beta.
    And if you wish to do those maintenance thingos, download Main Menu which is much gently then Onyx, runs scripts, and keeps one out of Terminal.

    http://www.santasw.com/

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