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Macbook Pro "startup disk is full" and cannot login?

Posted on 2010-08-29
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
Hello.

When OSX starts and login screen appears, message "startup disk is full" and when I try login, cannot login it stucks?

How I can delete files now? There is only 130Mb free space. I try boot from install DVD and then open terminal, is there any way to go osx partition?
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Question by:Raikka_
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4 Comments
 
LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:Justin Pierce
ID: 33555024
Hi Raikka,

 Try this solution:

(1) Restart the computer in Mac OS X single user mode by holding Command-S at startup.
Mount the computer's drive for read/write access. To do so, type the following command at the command prompt, and then press Enter:
% mount -uw /

(2) Remove the file that identifies that the initial run of the "Mac OS X Setup Assistant" has been completed, with this command at the command prompt, followed by Enter:
% rm /var/db/.applesetupdone
(3) Restart the computer by entering this command, followed by Enter.
% reboot
The Mac OS X Setup Assistant screen should appear after the reboot, just as it does when you start up a brand new computer or upgrade to a new version of Mac OS X.
Create a new user account with the Setup Assistant. Be sure to name this user something different than the admin

Because of security implications delete this extra Admin account after you are done using it.
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LVL 15

Expert Comment

by:roylong
ID: 33561070
Have you tried starting the MacBook with the 'T' key pressed (target disk mode), then plug this into another macintosh with a FireWire cable - this should mount the disk on the other macintosh.  You should be able to delete some files now.
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LVL 53

Accepted Solution

by:
strung earned 500 total points
ID: 33565901
Try doing a safe boot while holding down the shift key.

If this allows you to boot, check your hard drive to see how much space you do in fact have left.

If you haven't done so recently, empty your trash and see if that increases your free space. The Mac does not free up space when you put items into the trash, only when you empty the trash.

You should be able to delete or backup files you no longer need to keep on your hard drive.

Once you have cleared up enough space on the drive to boot normally, I suggest you download ONYX:  http://www.titanium.free.fr/download.php and run the maintenance scripts and cache cleaning scripts. This will clean out some additional room.

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LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:nxnw
ID: 33582869
The target mode solution would be easiest, if you have a second mac to plug it into and a firewire cable.

Using terminal from the install DVD, in accordance with your question, would also let you delete files.

1. This will take you to the directory containing your startup disk: cd /Volumes/

2. This will then list your volumes: ls -l

3. Then cd to your startup volume. If the name has spaces, add a \ befor the space, as in: cd mac\ HD

4. You can then use the cd and ls -l commands to navigate to and view the contents of your drive.

5. I suggest that you then identify files to delete and do so individually using the rm command, as in: rm americanidol.avi

You can use rm to delete directories and to delete hundreds (thousands...) of files with a signle command, using wildcards, but you can also cause yourself a lot of damage if you make a mistake. I strongly suggest that you delete only single files to clear up enough disk space to let you log in.

I also suggest that you do as Mr. Strung suggest, but ONLY the "maintenance scripts and cache cleaning scripts", as he says, until you have confirmed that your drive is full because you filled it up yourself. Otherwise, you may just be obscuring a problem that will quickly return - i.e. a problem that is causing a log to balloon to massive proportions.
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