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I tried upgrading the software on my Macbook pro from OS El Capitan to Sierra.

  1. I downloaded software and was installing it. Got the instruction to restart computer.
  2. On re-starting, I find I don't have enough space to install Sierra. I am unable to get to the login menu and am stuck in the OS x Utilities Window.
  3. Used Cmd + R to reinstall El Capitan. I get a notification saying I don't have enough space for this either. I am stuck in what seems to be no-mans-land.
  4. Tried entering safe mode to delete unnecessary files and folders. But even after several attempts my macbook does not go to safe mode.

How do I restore my macbook to El Capitan? Should I erase my disk? Is it possible to enter into safe mode through some other way.

Your direction is much appreciated.

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  • Doesn't booting into the Recovery Partition with Cmd-R give you access to a Terminal window (from which you can remove unnecessary files/folders)? – nohillside Jul 19 '17 at 19:37
  • Not that I'm aware. Thought this was only possible through safe mode... any advise? – TheEconomist Jul 20 '17 at 3:10
  • I have most of my folders backed on the cloud ... should I just erase disk? – TheEconomist Jul 20 '17 at 3:12
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  • Boot into Recovery Mode with Cmd-R
  • Once the "maOS Utilities" screen comes up, access Terminal from the Utilities menu in the menu bar
  • Delete unnecessary (or backuped) files/folders

(Soure: About macOS Recovery)

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  • You would need to know the file routes for terminal (in order to delete the files) ... I don't remember them exactly. Is it possible to access these from macOS Utilities somehow? – TheEconomist Jul 20 '17 at 10:32
  • By file routes you mean the path? The main drive should be mounted under /Volumes/Macintosh HD. – nohillside Jul 20 '17 at 11:30
  • yes, exactly ... paths ... is there a way to find the file paths and simply paste these or should I just type it out? I do know basic code but I haven't ever used terminal before. – TheEconomist Jul 20 '17 at 12:20
  • You need to type them (at least the first few characters, and use TAB for auto-completion) – nohillside Jul 20 '17 at 13:57
  • Thanks! I ended up erasing disk and using backup from the cloud. – TheEconomist Jul 22 '17 at 7:24
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Assuming you have a Time Machine backup, you can erase your disk and go back to where you started by restoring the backup. Once restored, delete unnecessary files, making sure this time you have enough space available, then try again to update to macOS Sierra.

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  • Don't have a backup on Time Machine. Do you know why safe mode isn't working for me? – TheEconomist Jul 20 '17 at 3:09
  • have most of my important folders backed on the cloud ... should I just erase disk? – TheEconomist Jul 20 '17 at 3:13
  • If there is not enough disk space for the OS to boot, it's probable it can't boot in safe mode either. – not2savvy Jul 20 '17 at 8:05
  • Try @patrix 's answer first! – not2savvy Jul 20 '17 at 8:06

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