Our Macbook hangs on startup and doesn't boot into the desktop environment. The most notable problem is that the Macbook doesn't make the usual startup sound when we boot up. It doesn't make any sounds at all at startup. Then it hangs for a long time on the grey screen with the Apple symbol and the spinner.

We have tried to restart it several times, and most of the times it does what I wrote above, but on a couple occasions it actually showed the desktop background, but then froze. One time it showed the blue screen and then froze.

I have tried to boot into Safe Mode (holding shift) and it won't boot into safe mode either. I tried booting into Safe Mode with verbose enabled, and the few times I did it, I didn't see any errors, but it stopped once after this line:

AirPort: RSN handshake complete on en1

The other 2 times it stopped after a few lines later:

NTFS volume name , version 3.1

After seeing these lines on the verbose output it just stops.

The one thing I CAN do is boot into command line mode (holding command+s), and I can navigate through the file system via command line. I performed fsck -f and it said there weren't any problems with the hard disk.

That is about all I know, any help would be greatly appreciated. Is there any way I can recover this computer?


  • Hanging at different stages often mean that it is a hardware problem. Boot into recovery mode to completely rule out software problems.
    – Sergei
    Jun 11, 2014 at 10:19
  • @Sergei I mentioned that I tried to boot into "Safe Mode" which would not boot either. Is that the same as recovery mode? Safe Mode: support.apple.com/kb/ht1564 Jun 11, 2014 at 10:30
  • 1
    Nope, Safe Mode uses files from your main OS installation, while Recovery Mode boots autonomous minimalistic OS image from recovery partition or network.
    – Sergei
    Jun 11, 2014 at 10:33
  • @Sergei thanks I found some documentation, you have to start up using command+R. Unfortunately it doesn't boot up to the recovery mode either :-( Jun 11, 2014 at 11:30
  • Do a PRAM reset by holding cmd+alt+p+r after pressing the power button. Hold it until it re-reboots, the chime should sound again. Does it? Jun 11, 2014 at 12:02

1 Answer 1


Your problem seems to be bit deeper since you tried few options already.

You might or might not have the recovery installed!

You could get one and use it from USB, or if it happens so you might have bootable os on USB.

In none of the above is possible then try using the Target disk mode.

For that you will need a second mac (not many have that).

To some degree the Apple Hardware test could detect problems with hardware.

Press and hold the D key before the gray startup screen appears.

  • I tried holding the D key on startup, it seemed to take longer before the grey apple appeared but then nothing really happened. Jun 11, 2014 at 14:55
  • well you only other alternative is to use external boot disk
    – Ruskes
    Jun 11, 2014 at 15:42

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