I'll start by saying that my issue is incredibly similar to Mac stuck in restart cycle after failed macOS Catalina update but being a new user I couldn't comment there nor I had any answers unfortunately.

A relative brought me is Mac stuck in the reboot loop, he doesn't have recent backups to restore from and can't lose the files stored on the disk (yeah..... I know....) . Trying to reinstall Mojave on the same disk via recovery mode causes the exact same loop with same error message (not enough free space).

Ideally I would have booted the Mac from another drive, cleaned up / backed up some files to make more free space and proceeded with normal installation BUT, once I mount the HD of the troubled Mac, I see 2 partitions :

1)"Backup (Original Drive Name)" - 480 GB large but no files visible
2) "Macintosh HD" - appears to contain only Mac installation files

Basically I can't find the original files, I'm guessing that during the installation process OSX installer created a backup partition (1) and would have restored the files once installation was complete, but don't know how to access those files.
Anybody knows of at least a way to access the files in what appears to be a backup partition created by the installer ?

Sorry for the almost duplicate question and great thanks to all for reading.

  • I wonder if Time Machine will see local backups for you. Can you please try out the first part of my answer in another similar post? – Dmitry Verkhoturov Oct 20 '19 at 11:08
  • Sort of solved the situation in a very weird way. Booted from recovery mode and tried to "restore" the affected Mac HD into another one. Operation took forever (like 8 hours) and failed just at the end, obviously discouraged I rebooted from a working disk/os combo, well, for some reason now all the files in the original disk which was stuck in the installation loop where visible so I could manually copy them, format and reinstall everything. Great thanks for your suggestion altho. – Orb Erb Oct 22 '19 at 6:19

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