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Yesterday I had what seems to have been some hard drive malfunction. The disk cannot be verified or repaired and suggests that I reinstall OS X.

I've backed up my files and in the recovery utilities I select "Reinstall OS X", It then spends around 3 hours downloading Mavericks, when it's completed it doesn't provide me with any prompt, it just takes me back to the main OS X Utilities screen. At first I assumed that maybe I have to click Reinstall OS X again, this just downloaded the installer all over again.

Any ideas on what this could be and how to fix it? Short of sending this back to an Apple dealer.

I'm a Windows/Debian user. I only use my Mac at work for iOS Dev so I'm not entirely sure what I'm doing.

  • Do you get any interesting lines in the log? (⌘L) – grg Jan 16 '14 at 16:51
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Your Recovery HD might not match with the version of OS X installed on the drive — try Internet Recovery. Boot with ⌘⌥R until you get the spinning globe, then follow the instructions. This should download a new Recovery HD which you should be able to use to reinstall OS X.

  • Well this is the farthest I've got so far, I've noticed it's no longer downloading Mavericks but has fallen back to Lion, so there's hope there, I shall report back in a couple of hours when it's downloaded the OS. Thanks. – Jamie Taylor Jan 17 '14 at 8:56
  • Expecting this to be a little longer, After getting down to "20 minutes remaining" twice, it's gone back to 3 hours. The saga continues. – Jamie Taylor Jan 17 '14 at 11:48
  • Okay, It seems like this isn't working either, it kept downloading and then restarting, rinse, repeat. Now almost sure it's the HDD. Although with this new Recovery HD, it is passing the disk verification! – Jamie Taylor Jan 17 '14 at 16:15
  • Time to erase and repartition the drive. Once you are in Internet Recovery then you can run Disk Utility and erase the entire drive and create a single partition. Then the install should run fine unless the drive is having hardware problems. – Tony Williams Jan 18 '14 at 15:35
  • Everything is still running extremely slow but it is re-installed now, so thanks! – Jamie Taylor Jan 20 '14 at 12:22
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What you can do is:

  1. Boot in Recovery Mode / to Recovery HD
  2. Delete / Format your Hard Drive
  3. Boot your Mac and you should be forced to download and install OS X

Everything what holds you back from reinstalling OS X can only be on your "real" hard drive, and not on your RecoveryHD. You cannot write anything to the RecoveryHD, so you cannot destroy it (you can force to, but normal usage prevents from destroying this partition).

If this doesn't work, let your HD check from a Apple Store.

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