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I was running Mavericks on MacBook Pro (mid 2012 model). I started upgrade to Yosemite. All seemed well on download, and the laptop re-booted to complete the install. The installation screen with OSX logo appears, and progress got to over 90% complete, with "2 minutes remaining" displayed. It remained like that for around 2 hours, before I decided something was likely wrong.

I have started the machine a few times, and by default it boots back to try the install again, and stops in the exact same place.

I have also started the recovery disk ( cmd-R ), checked for and repaired some permissions errors (that looked unrelated), and have also run a full install of Yosemite from the menu, which apparently succeeded. However, the machine still boots to same attempt to complete the install - I'm assuming this is the original upgrade that still expects to be completed.

I have not been in this position with a Mac before, and am not sure what my next steps are:

1) Is there any safe way out of the installation loop?

2) If not, is there any way I could connect a USB drive in recovery mode, so I can retrieve some local files before wiping the disk for a complete re-install?

  • Please boot to Recovery mode, open Terminal and enter cd "/Volumes/Macintosh HD/var/db" && cat .AppleInstallType.plist & then ls -la and add the output to your question. You may have to mount "Macintosh HD" first. I will remove the output if nothing interesting can be found. – klanomath Feb 20 '15 at 23:42
  • see this support.apple.com/kb/PH18791 – Ruskes Feb 20 '15 at 23:55
  • Lets clarify. do you or do you not have the Yosemite installed (as you say so) ? click on About this Mac and look ! – Ruskes Feb 21 '15 at 2:26
  • @Buscar웃: Definitely not a kernel panic, although I was getting a few of those in Mavericks when coming out of hibernation. Also, I cannot fully verify whether I have Yosemite installed correctly, because the machine will not boot to a menu with "About this Mac" as an option - however when I used the Recovery option to reinstall the OS, it claimed to be installing Yosemite then apparently downloaded a new copy and installed it according to dialogs. The process looked different to the update one. – Neil Slater Feb 21 '15 at 7:42
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    @NeilSlater ok, i read your profile. Ruby etc. A lot of developers (with a large number of project files/ruby/etc) experienced the same upgrading to yosemite. – klanomath Feb 21 '15 at 8:08
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This was a problem solved by simple patience.

I left the machine with "2 minutes remaining" on overnight. After some period of time (presumably greater than 2 hours), the Yosemite install got over whatever was blocking it and completed.

I do not know what the fault was. I am assuming some simple but non-critical I/O was timing out, perhaps repeatedly in a re-try loop. Whatever it was, the predicted time was not updated to reflect the problem, making it look like the upgrade had hung.

That does make this a rather uninteresting fault in terms of Q&A, but I am leaving this here in case anyone else ends up with a similar long-running upgrade and wonders how long to wait.

According to comment by klanomath, many developers (with a large number of project files/ruby/etc) experienced the same problem upgrading to Yosemite. I have just shy of 100,000 files in dev projects in my home folder.


It might be interesting to know if there is a way to back out of incomplete installations (without a disk wipe and re-install) at the late stage my machine was at. My original question is essentially about that. However, I won't be in a position to try or verify any answers.

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