I seem to be having this weird issue where my MacBook won't boot up after installing the OS X 10.11, El Capitan, update.

It goes to the login screen and once I login the bar freezes and I can't go further.

I have tried doing an over the top reinstall and that seems to have done nothing.

I have repaired permission (first aid) in disk utility and that seems to have done nothing.

I am more than happy to do a clean restore. But is there ANY WAY for me to get my data out?

Please. If anybody could help me id appreciate it.


Yes - you have many options to back up a Mac that won't start.

  • you can start the Mac in Target Disk mode and connect it to another Mac to do the backup.
  • you can bring a USB drive and use internet recovery to install a working OS on to the new drive. Boot to that and then perform the backup.
  • you can get help at https//locate.apple.com
  • you can even try reinstalling the OS on top of your current OS. That might fail and might make things worse if the problem is a hardware issue (failing hardware) so I've listed this last.

Which you choose depends on your expertise, amount of time you care to invest, speed of your network and whether you can isolate why the Mac isn't starting. Knowing that might allow a more surgical repair instead of starting over. I'd say get a backup and then decide how to fix things as a follow on step.

  • If I was to install OS X on an external drive and boot from that drive, am I able to access the OSX hard drive or is that not possible because it's encrypted? – RandomMath Oct 29 '15 at 18:48
  • @RandomMath You will be asked for a password to decrypt the drive. Booting from another OS won't lock you out if you know one admin password. – bmike Oct 29 '15 at 19:46

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .