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I have an iMac running OS X El Capitan.

I tried to use the disk utility in normal boot to restore two partitions into one but it would exit with an error (exit code 8) and delete the second partition. I then tried to restore the partition in the recovery mode. It seemed to have gone fine but it has got stuck at the last step for ~20 hours now (please see attached image).

enter image description here

I realize it's a foolish thing to have done this without having my data backed up! So, I'm not sure if I should try a hard reset.

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In theory, exit code 0 means "No errors found, or successfully repaired" - though I don't know why it has then failed to complete & light the Done button.

Exit code 8 was "A corrupt filesystem was found during a check, or repairs did not succeed." which would not really be surprising if you were trying to work on the partition you were booted from.

Disk Utility is actually running a process called fsck_hfs which has published exit codes on the OS X developer pages

EXIT VALUES
     fsck_hfs indicates some status by exit value.  The current list of exit status results is:
           0       No errors found, or successfully repaired.
           3       A quick-check (the -n option) found a dirty filesystem; no repairs were made.
           4       During boot, the root filesystem was found to be dirty; repairs were made, and the
                   filesystem was remounted.  The system should be rebooted.
           8       A corrupt filesystem was found during a check, or repairs did not succeed.
           47      A major error was found with -E.

If you cannot normally Quit Disk Utility, force Quit it with Cmd ⌘ Opt ⌥ Esc , or persuade the Mac to restart or shut down normally, then you may have no option but to hold the power key until it shuts down.

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    This is sage advice. You can wait an arbitrary amount of time for the system to finish, but unless you can SSH remote log in to the recovery HD (which isn't going to happen) or open a log window to review the details locks of the check (Look in the menu items) eventually you have to power off the machine and hope that the operation succeeded or hope you can do a back up at that point or hope a second round of disc utility will be more fruitful – bmike Oct 21 '15 at 16:06
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    From the reassurance, I restarted by holding down the power key. My data is fine (I will backup right away) and I tried restoring the partition using Boot Camp and it worked! So, all's well now! – Ajax Oct 21 '15 at 16:55
  • Glad it helped :) – Tetsujin Oct 21 '15 at 16:58
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If you were to power off the Mac, it's very likely that you'll be able to restart it in target disk mode and connect this Mac to another Mac. If that other Mac mounts the filesystem, you can back up your important files. If the filesystem won't mount then you could decide to use file repair/recovery software like disk warrior or data rescue to see about recovering the critical files.

If you've got a lot of time on your hands and not a second Mac, I would get a blank external hard drive, boot into (Internet) recovery and reinstall OS X onto that blank USB drive. Now you have a functioning OSX to see and fix what's wrong with the internal drive or then try to back up what you need. Your Mac will run happily on the OS on an external drive, Giving you time to figure out what to do with your actual data.

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