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Unfortunately, today I wanted to update my operating system from Catalina to Big Sur. I had more than the approx. 12Gb required to installed (if I remember correctly I had around 21Gb available). Later, when only 2 minutes were left to finish the installation I had ´An error occurred preparing the software update - Big Sur´. This ended up in a loop after rebooting as described here: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/252038616

The problem is that apparently, the installation required way more than those 12G, so the only way I can think of getting out of this is to start in recovery mode, and use the terminal app to delete folders that I have in my desktop. Once this is done I hope the installation of Big Sur will work.

I am now in the terminal (bash 3.2) but I don´t know how to get to my desktop. After I type cd /Volumes I can see via ls that there are the files .fseventsd , Macintosh HD - Data , Macintosh HD and macOS Base System.

I assume that the files and folders in my desktop are in Macintosh HD - Data but I can´t access to it. I tried cd Macintosh HD - Data without result, the prompt out is ´cd: Macintosh: No such file or directory´.

I don´t know how to access the desktop and delete files from there.

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  • Watch out for spaces on the command line. We'll probably have to use quotes, or tab-expansion to get the spaces in the directory name: cd "Macintosh HD - Data". I think this is the problem because of the error message saying it couldn't find a plain old Macintosh. – aMike Feb 9 at 23:12
  • you are right! it was a problem of the spaces, I managed now to get into Macintosh HD - Data and will try to delete the files, thanks a lot – inquisitor Feb 9 at 23:51
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First, back out of Terminal and open Disk Utility. Use that to mount the data volume. Once it's mounted, you can go back to the Terminal and cd /Volumes and ls. You should be able to cd into that directory and find Users/your username/Desktop from there.

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    Thanks a lot, I managed to solve it. The disk was mounted already, the problem was with the spacing. I had to type something like cd Macintosh\ HD\ -\ Data/ and then once in there I went to the desktop and deleted the items. – inquisitor Feb 10 at 10:53

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