My macbook air start up is acting weird.

  1. I press start button,
  2. I hear the apple sound and a blank grey screen appears
  3. Then the apple logo shows on the grey screen with a loading circle below it.
  4. Then a blue screen appears
  5. and then the grey screen appears with the loading circle (the loading circle doesn't spin though.
  6. Then the mouse appears on the grey screen
  7. then the blue screen comes up
  8. and then the login box with the desktop image.
  • Which MacBook Air is it? What spec/year/model? On start up hold Command + s for single user mode, when it stops loading text and will accept input type: fsck -f and see what it finds. Commented Nov 10, 2012 at 5:47
  • I'm not sure of what year. Just that the OS is 10.6.8 I ran that code and got a response of "The volume Macintosh HD appears to be OK.
    – EGHDK
    Commented Nov 10, 2012 at 5:58
  • OK, now start up holding down shift on the keyboard (safe boot). This will disable any third party software that's struggling to load. Does the boot process seem to change at all when you do this? Also do you know how much free space you've got on the Mac? Commented Nov 10, 2012 at 10:21
  • The boot process changed and seems to be a little faster than normal. Anything I should do in safe mode.
    – EGHDK
    Commented Nov 10, 2012 at 22:46
  • If it had a standard HD (not SSD) I'd run Smart Utility volitans-software.com and if it passes I'd just erase and install the OS. Commented Nov 11, 2012 at 6:34

3 Answers 3


A typical issue causing long boot times is a faulty or missing selection of the startup disk. Go to System preferences > Startup Disk and make sure your Startup Volume is selected there.

Another thing which definetly helps to improve startup times on my MBP is running Onyx from time to time and have it rebuilt system caches, etc. (see tab "Automation"). Make sure to backup first.


Boot up taking 4 minutes is way too long.

  1. I'd suggest you upgrade your OS if you haven't already. Sometimes just upgrading your OS will fix a lot of problems. Mountain Lion is $20 or so in the Mac Appstore. Try this first.

  2. If you don't want to upgrade your OS, you can try to reinstall your OS using the factory install DVDs. Since you have a Macbook Air, you'll need an external drive or use disk sharing.

  3. If you don't want to do #2 and #3, you could try doing a hardware test. See http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1509?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US .

Hope this helps!

  • Couldn't get those instructions to work. Ugh. It's version 10.6. Don't really want to upgrade though.
    – EGHDK
    Commented Nov 10, 2012 at 3:52

Two appearances of a blue screen indicates user level issues. You should only pass to the blue screen when the system is fully booted and ready to hand off to the user start part of the process.

You can troubleshoot this with three small changes:

  1. Disable automatic user log in to separate the user from the system.
  2. Open Startup Disk system preference and ensure the correct drive is selected to boot.
  3. Power down the Mac and then boot in safe mode once to rebuild a few databases that could be causing the corruption or slow boot process.

Once you start into safe mode, log in or not, but shut the Mac down cleanly and then re-test the startup sequence. Should the symptoms change or nothing change - you will have isolated the issue and eliminated three likely potential causes to a slow reboot that eventually works, but is troublesome from a speed consideration.

Also - you might start with step 0 - make a good full backup of the system before investigating further since if the hard drive is beginning to fail - you'd rather have a good backup before you try fixing things in case the time left to run before failure is small.

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