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Macbook pro hangs at Apple logo with spinning circle - disk 100% full.

Hello,

Let's preface this by saying I'm not an 'Apple guy', so go easy on me!

My wife has an older (2008) Macbook Pro 15" that had been working pretty well, with the exception of a problem with its DVD drive going bad.  We hadn't yet replaced the drive.

It had also been giving her a 'disk is getting full' type message that she had been ignoring for a few months, which probably plays into the problem that we are now having.

Our youngest child had been doing something on the machine, and reported that it was no longer working.  My wife looked and thought she saw something about an update, but upon rebooting, the macbook now hangs at the apple logo with the spinning circle.

We've messed with it a bit after reading some user group articles, without success.

Today, I dug a little deeper, and got to a command prompt.  I can see from a df command that the drive is 100% full.

My question is, if the drive is 100% full and our little one somehow kicked off an update of some sort, could this cause our current problems?

Second question would be, can someone walk me through how to delete some files to clear up enough space to try to get the thing to boot?


Thanks!


Scott
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meelnah
Asked:
meelnah
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2 Solutions
 
strungCommented:
See if it will boot to safe mode by holding down the shift key while booting. If it will boot, the first thing to do is to empty the trash. Then see if you need to clear more space.

You can find out how much free space is on the drive by right clicking  on the hard drive icon and selecting "Get Info".
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strungCommented:
Alternatively, if you have a second Mac in the house, or can borrow one, get a firewire cable and use Firewire Target Disk Mode to connect the two Macs. Your wife's Mac's hard drive will then appear as an external drive on the desktop of the other Mac and you can then do a cleanup.

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1661
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meelnahAuthor Commented:
thanks...

I've tried getting into safe mode, and the system won't progress past the apple logo.
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meelnahAuthor Commented:
Sorry strung, it's the only mac!
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strungCommented:
If your wife hasn't been emptying the trash (ask her) you might be able to recover enough space to boot by emptying the trash from single user mode. The instructions for the unix command for doing so are here:

http://www.hmug.org/UnixHowTos/index.php?TermTrash
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strungCommented:
Target disk mode would be the ideal solution. Do you have a friend with a Mac portable that would be willing to help?
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strungCommented:
Going out for half an hour. Will check your posts on my return
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strungCommented:
P.S. You should never let the free space on a Mac drive fall below 15%
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XaelianCommented:
Can you start the mac in verbose mode and write the output here? To enter verbose mode start your mac while holding command V.
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meelnahAuthor Commented:
just tried emptying the trash via the command line... will post back in a few
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meelnahAuthor Commented:
no luck with the trash emptying... however, starting in verbose mode is showing me some things....

ReportCrash(137):  Saved crashreport to /library/logs/crashreporter/loginwondow_2012-8-11-131805

this is coming up after the screen does to a blue desktop with a cursor, then flashes to the black command prompt window.  It keeps cycling through the process.

Every third time the command window comes back I see:
 
mds(37) error:server:  mdsync lsunch failed  (ipc/send) invalid destination port


I'm going to try to go into command line and view the crash log
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strungCommented:
Try this:

1. In single user mode:

At the command-line prompt type:

/sbin/fsck -fy

2.    Press Return. fsck will go through five "phases" and then return information about your disk's use and fragmentation. Once it finishes, it'll display this message if no issue is found:
** The volume (name_of_volume) appears to be OK
If fsck found issues and has altered, repaired, or fixed anything, it will display this message:
***** FILE SYSTEM WAS MODIFIED *****
Important: If this message appears, repeat the fsck command you typed in step 2 until fsck tells you that your volume appears to be OK (first-pass repairs may uncover additional issues, so this is a normal thing to do).
 
3.  When fsck reports that your volume is OK, type
reboot
at the prompt and then press Return.
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meelnahAuthor Commented:
i tried that once earlier, but I will try again.

I tried to delete Microsoft Office (she doesn't use it, and is convinced that she began having problems just after installing it), thinking that would free up space.

however, when I try to rm -r the microsoft office directory, i get a 'read-only file system' message for each file.

will report back the results of the fsck command...
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strungCommented:
The previous suggested solution will run a disk repair on your drive.
The specific error you are receiving has to do with Spotlight indexing. You might get that error if Spotlight is unable to index because of a corrupt drive (or a full drive)>

You could use the instructions here   http://www.thexlab.com/faqs/stopspotlightindex.html#Anchor-35882  to turn off Spotlight indexing. That should make the error messages go away and perhaps allow you to boot.

You can also delete the existing spotlight index to free up space:

http://macstuff.beachdogs.org/blog/?p=38
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strungCommented:
Type Sudo before the RM command to remove the read only files.
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meelnahAuthor Commented:
thanks so much for trying to help.

The fsck -fy command completed.  Final lines state that:

the volume Macintosh HD appears to be OK.
***** FILE SYSTEM WAS MODIFIED *****

and I'm back to the root#
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meelnahAuthor Commented:
i tried adding sudo to the command to remove the directory, and still received the 'read-only file' message for each file it tried to remove.  

I will research that in a bit.

trying your spotlight indexing information now.
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strungCommented:
Try turning off Spotlight indexing as above and delete the index.
You could also try delete the MS folder again, this time using SUDO.
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meelnahAuthor Commented:
i tried to delete the spotlight index using the sudo mdutil -E / command, and the system returned No index.
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strungCommented:
Okay. Well turn off the indexing and see if you can then boot.
I guess to remove the MS folder you are going to need to change the file attributes first
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strungCommented:
Sure you can't borrow another Mac? That would make everything so much simpler.
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meelnahAuthor Commented:
i'm looking to see if there's any other files/directories that I can delete that may not be write-protected.

du -sh * shows that she has 974MB in My Pictures, 5.7 GB in Applications, 10GB in Library, and1.1 GB in USR... i'll look there next.
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meelnahAuthor Commented:
nobody around with a mac... i'm having her check though!
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meelnahAuthor Commented:
I'm finding that i can't seem to delete anything...

I found a movie in the user folder and tried to delete it.  Here is how the  commands went:

movies root#  sudo rm -r ads_uv_harrypotter7p2_main_faxs_2000k_dl.mp4
override rw-r--r-- 501/staff for ads_uv_harrypotter7p2_main_faxs_2000k_dl.mp4?  y
rm:  ads_uv_harrypotter7p2_main_faxs_2000k_dl.mp4:  Read-only file system


I'm assuming that somehow the file protections are preventing me from deleting, even though I am trying to delete as a super user?
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strungCommented:
There are terminal commands here: http://www.thexlab.com/faqs/maintscripts.html for running Mac maintenance scripts which will clear out old cache and log files.
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strungCommented:
try rm -f instead of rm -r
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meelnahAuthor Commented:
rm -f and sudo rm -f still return 'Read-only file system'

I'm looking through the thexlab.com link you sent now.

Scott
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meelnahAuthor Commented:
interesting... when I try to run the sudo periodic daily script, the system begins giving me 'Read-only file system' messages again
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strungCommented:
Very strange
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meelnahAuthor Commented:
I found a similar article stating that the diskutil may fix it.  However, diskutil won't seem to run...

root#  diskutil
Unable to run because unable to use the DiskManagement framework.  Common reasons include, but are not limited to, the DiskArbitration framework being unavailable due to being booted in single-user mode.
root#

I am looking into whether I can switch out of single-user mode in my current state.
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meelnahAuthor Commented:
as 'something to try' I tried changing the file attributes of a file so that I can remove a file.

I tried:

chmod -N pdf.pdf
chmod:  Failed to clear ACL on file pdf.pdf:  Read-only file system


sudo chmod -N pdf.pdf results in the same message

could this have something to do with how I am getting to the command line?  To get here, I hold down the command key and 'S' during startup.


scott
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strungCommented:
This is getting a bit beyond my depth, I am afraid. Your best bet is still target disk mode if you can borrow another Mac.
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meelnahAuthor Commented:
ok... thanks for trying.  No luck yet on the additional mac, but perhaps we will be able to find someone.

I will wait a bit to see if anyone else responds, and if they don't, I will award you the points.

I appreciate your efforts.
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strungCommented:
Sorry I couldn't be of more help.
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meelnahAuthor Commented:
no worries.. you were great!

ONe last question... i have an external usb - dvd drive.  Will the mac recognize this drive from a command line?

if it would, i may be able to try to run diskutil or just reinstall the OS...

i don't know enough about mounting devices in unix
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strungCommented:
Nor I.

If you have the original install CD or DVD, you might be able to boot it from the external. Try booting while holding down the option key. That will bring up the boot picker. If the external shows as bootable, boot from it and when it boots drag down the Utilities Menu to Disk First Aid.
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meelnahAuthor Commented:
it was a good thought... when I run the boot picker, the only thing that displays is the macintosh hd...


:)
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meelnahAuthor Commented:
ah.. i found why i can't delete any files...

per this article...http://hintsforums.macworld.com/archive/index.php/t-20067.html

booting into single-user mode boots the drive in read-only mode


I'm currently working on mounting the external drive to try another route.

scott
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strungCommented:
If you don't have working internal optical drive and no second Mac to use target disk mode, your repair options are very limited, unfortunately.
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meelnahAuthor Commented:
found out how to make the disk writeable from a single-user mode...

mount -uw /  

this makes the disk writeable

from here i was able to delete a 2.5 GB movie, which gives a tiny bit of breathing room....

however, rebooting isn't successful, but the symptom has changed slightly.... i now hear the 'mac sound' upon boot up, even though it still hangs at the apple-spinning circle screen.

Now looking through the steps you had me try earler.


Scott
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strungCommented:
You could try safe booting now that you have some breathing room, too.
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XaelianCommented:
Hi Scott,

Use following steps:
1. Try safe booting
2. If this doesn't work you can start your mac with command V (verbose mode) and view for the error why he stops and post it here.
3. If he safe boots, delete other files. Try a normal boot. If he doesn't do it, try repairing your disk in safe boot.

Afterwards, everything will be ok as long as you remember to clean up your HD early :)
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meelnahAuthor Commented:
Hi Xaelian,

Thanks for jumping in!

The system won't safe boot for some reason.  I've booted it in verbose mode and can see that it's sending logs to the report crash folder, but I'm not fluent enough in Unix to be able to read them from the terminal window.

Do you know how to display the log info from the window?
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XaelianCommented:
Hmm, normally you'll see a FATAL: or ERROR: afterwards the problem. Probably you go a disk error. Can you open recovery mode at startup? And use disk utility to repair it? If it doesn't work, you probably need a reinstall of lion. But then you need to copy everything with target disk mode to another mac first.
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meelnahAuthor Commented:
That's kind of what I'm finding.

We have two problems... the internal dvd drive isn't working, which is severely limiting my options... second, I don't have another mac to work through the target disk mode.

I have an external (usb) dvd drive, but it is much newer than the macbook, and the macbook doesn't seem to recognize it from the terminal window.

I will keep searching online and see if there's a way to display the crash log in terminal window.  I'm sure Unix has something for displaying these in the window, but I can't remember what it is.
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XaelianCommented:
Well best opinion is going to a mac store or friend to copy your data (that's the final step if it still doesn't work) I'll come back to you tomorrow. It's really late here now :-)
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strungCommented:
You could boot into single user mode and use nano to read the log files
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XaelianCommented:
If you have terminal acces, you can acces the terminal in recovery mode. You can do sudo nano /var/log/system.log, it will open the system log file in your terminal.
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XaelianCommented:
And in single user mode, you know how to do this, because you deleted files in this mode.
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meelnahAuthor Commented:
i will try nano... that's a command i take it?  (again, not a mac guy!)

thanks!
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strungCommented:
Yes. It starts a line editor which can be used to read (or edit) text files. The alternative is pico.

See:  http://www.markgreentree.com/hints-tips/2012/2/4/mac-tip-use-piconano-in-terminal-to-edit-a-text-file.html
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meelnahAuthor Commented:
reading logfiles now using nano (thanks).

The failing process is loginwindow [23325]

googling for more info now...
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meelnahAuthor Commented:
this article looks like it might be our problem...

http://www.frightanic.com/2010/08/17/mac-hangs-at-blue-screen-login-window-crash/


however, in the /private/etc directory, i only have the authorization file, noth the authorization~previous file which the guy mentions....

If my cdrom drive worked, I could pull it from the install disk, but of course, it isnt operational.

any wisdom?
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XaelianCommented:
Repair it with recovery HD. If you have it (if lion was preinstalled you have it)
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XaelianCommented:
Try the following:

Start up in Single-User mode. Then continue with:

   
/sbin/mount -uw /
    cd /Library/Preferences
    rm com.apple.loginwindow.plist
    rm com.apple.windowserver.plist
    cd /Library/Caches
    rm -r *
    cd /System/Library
    rm Extensions.kextcache
    cd /System/Library/Caches
    rm -r *
    reboot

Open in new window


This should now take you to a proper login screen after the normal boot sequence. If not then start to Archive all your files and reinstall your MAC.
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meelnahAuthor Commented:
I tried what you suggested.  Everything went off without error until step #8, as there was no Extensions.kextcache file found.  An ls of the /System/Library directory shows me an Extensions.mkext and Extensions.mkext.MXXJ file, but no Extensions.kextcache file.

I did the remaining steps and rebooted.  The system went through it's 'normal' (for this point, anyway) process of playing the macintosh sound, then going to the gray screen with the apple logo and the spinning circle.

After about 5 minutes of this, it went to a blue screen with the spinning circle, but no logon.

Thank you both for trying.  It appears I will need to find a Mac servicer in our area.


Scott
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XaelianCommented:
Sorry to hear this. You will need a reinstall of your MAC.
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strungCommented:
Probably at least have to re-install the OS.
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meelnahAuthor Commented:
Thanks to you both for your efforts.

We took it in to a local shop, who diagnosed the problem as a corrupted OS, but they said the hard drive is bad, and will need to be replaced.

I appreciate your help!
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