I am currently updating a computer at work to El Capitan. After downloading, I started the installation almost 48 hours ago and it hasn't finished yet. I know (by experience and through reading various threads) that El Capitan is pretty slow to be upgraded but 48 feels dangerously too slow.


Note that the machine has 500GB of storage and has been used in the past mostly for storing things and for running various processes coded in C, C++ and R.

How it looks like

The screen is blue and empty with only the below loading sign at one third of the height from the bottom. I did not stare at this computer for the past 48 hours of course, but I would tend to think that it reached this screen in a matter of minutes and then jsut got stuck there for the past 48 hours.

enter image description here

  • Obviously something wrong with the installation, it took about 40 minutes for me. What stage is it stuck on? I see how it looks but do you know what happened before or how many times it's restarted? You will have to redo the installation because if it's not done after 48 hours it will probably never be. – DisplayName Jan 4 '16 at 19:50
  • I did not spend the last 48 hours staring at this computer but I think that it went very quickly to the screen I am describing (in a matter of minutes) and never moved away from it. I added this info in the post. Thank you. How could I "redo" the installation? Can I just force to shut down and restart the machine and it will restart with the previous OS? – Remi.b Jan 4 '16 at 20:04
  • Yeah of course you didn't sit for 28 hours, but I mean what you last saw. I think force shutting it down could mess up some stuff, but I don't know if there's an other option. It won't touch the files on you hard drive though (which I suppose you have backed up), but only the system. – DisplayName Jan 4 '16 at 22:20

The chance that something useful is happening is low. If you are comfortable with terminal or have a second Mac I would power off the Mac and then examine the /var/log/install.log and /var/log/system.log to see what has transpired to get stuck.

Restarting the upgrade or reinstalling the OS from Recovery HD should be harmless and would very likely succeed.

You could also power off the Mac and connect it to another in Target Disk Mode and get a backup if you have none / don't trust the backup / it's not current. That way you can erase and install and migrate your user, settings and apps back using Migration Assistant or do it by hand.

Unless you can ssh in or use remote desktop to get the files mentioned above, you have few options but to pull the plug and pick up the pieces.

  • I am more or less confortable with bash, yes. I unplug the computer and restarted. I did not back up to the old OS but kept the installation going. I now have another window indicating 24 minutes left. I'll let you know how things are going. Thanks a lot! – Remi.b Jan 4 '16 at 21:32
  • Perfect @Remi.b . Also, when it says "one minute" it lies. That should say - we are now running migration scripts and copying your personal files and we have no clue how long this will take as counting the files will take as long as moving them and we can't guess how long the migration script will take... – bmike Jan 4 '16 at 22:07

Wow you are exremely patient. I would have unplugged it a long time ago.

I agree with DisplayName there is something wrong.

Make sure you internet connection to the unit is good.

Unplug and try the install again.

Good luck!


download behind a VPN

problem solved

  • How does this address the OP's question? – Allan May 7 '16 at 20:35

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