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I’m using macOS Big Sur and accidentally deleted private/var/folders while trying to clean up my storage. Now I’m stuck at the Apple logo on the boot up page (the white bar won’t move). I’ve found some solutions from similar questions which did not work for me. I guess the old commands don't work in Big Sur.

Under single-user mode I tried:

/sbin/mount -uw /

It returned:

Volume could not be mounted:resource busy failed with75

I’ve also tried reinstalling macOS but it failed and automatically returned to recovery mode. Sadly I just deleted my back-up a few weeks ago so Time Machine won’t work.

Is there any other way to fix the problem?

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  • What was the method of reinstalling? clean install or just installing over the old version? And do you need to recover the data on the Mac or is wiping the disk through recovery mode an option? Also, can you boot into target disk mode and do you have another Mac available? – X_841 Mar 13 at 15:52
  • Thanks for replying.I reinstalled in recover mode(pressing commandR).Yes I need to recover the data so it would be great if I can just simply replace the files I deleted.And I don’t have another Mac available. – Greg Mar 13 at 16:19
  • Can't you just mount the -Data volume and copy what you need, then erase the drive? – Marc Wilson Mar 13 at 17:49
  • Big Sur (and Catalina before it) use a dual-volume file system layout; writable parts of the filesystem (like /private/var/folders) are on a separate "Data" volume, not the root ("/") volume. I haven't worked with it in Single-user mode, but in Recovery, you should be able to mount the volume with a " - Data" suffix in Disk Utility, then run something like mkdir /Volumes/Macintosh\ HD\ -\ Data/private/var/folders (note: tab-completion of filenames is your friend). – Gordon Davisson Mar 14 at 0:04
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You can reinstall “macOS” in the recovery partition, which will install all system-relevant files that are important for the system. This should solve your problem.

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  • The OP states "I’ve also tried reinstalling macOS but it failed" and a follow up answer to "What was the method of reinstalling? clean install or just installing over the old version? " in the comments states "I reinstalled in recover mode(pressing commandR)", so to say "You can reinstall “macOS” in the recovery partition" and "This should solve your problem." is not really helpful under the circumstances! – user3439894 Mar 13 at 21:15

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