I had brought an external hard disk to use as a time machine. There was a problem while trying to partition, so i booted into single user mode and ran the ffsck command. This returned an error, and after that, my mac stopped rebooting. I tried many things, from safe mode to repairing in disk utility, but nothing works. All im getting when i try to boot is a progress bar that stops when its about 1/9 done, and then the computer shuts down. What the hell happened? I have no back ups whatsoever...

EDIT: is there a way i can somehow get the files off my hard disk using the same mac? I have no other computers.

1 Answer 1


If the fsck modified the filesystem, it may have corrected damage to the file system by deleting a file needed to boot.

If you can get professional troubleshooting assistance, I would do that since without a backup, you'd hate to make the problem worse.

Trying to fix a filesystem or writing new files to it will over-write space that could have files that you need to recover, so you'll want to shut down the computer and make a decision:

  1. Are you willing to proceed without trying to recover the files you need?
  2. Is it better to get a quote for data-recovery and learn more about the problem than it is to try to fix this now.

Good luck - I hate to be in this situation (either as the one giving advice or the one needing advice), but it's a problem that many have overcome, so you'll just need to figure out what's most important to you and be sure you understand what the consequences of doing a step might be. In your case, fsck isn't a good tool to run if you have precious data since it is designed to save a filesystem by making it sane after errors creep in. It's not designed to save individual files that have not been backed up.

  • Thank you for your input - it is really helpful. The files I'm trying to save aren't that much - is there any way I can somehow access or attempt backing up this hard disk to another hard disk? The only issue i'm having is that I don't have another computer, otherwise i would just use it to install osx on the external hard disk and use it as a boot up drive.. May 6, 2013 at 17:01
  • You didn't put nearly enough detail into the question for us to even guess what your options are. You could go to apple.com/support and work through the process of "which mac do you own?" / "Which version of OS was installed" / What happens when you boot to recovery? etc… and then ask a second question listing the specific article you ended up at and what you don't get. If you want, I'd also say - just ask a second question stating what you have and ask people to help with options. Just give a few words of detail so that people don't have to guess what you've tried and where you are at.
    – bmike
    May 6, 2013 at 17:43
  • Point taken - my apologies. This is mostly because im having trouble typing on a tablet. Nevertheless, i have figured out a way to install osx on an external hardisk, which ill use to boot my computer and access my main hard disk. Thank you for your help! May 6, 2013 at 17:56
  • Good Luck. We optimize away from being the place to ask urgent troubleshooting problems and instead optimize for problems you've thought about for a while and can't get traction after doing some research.
    – bmike
    May 6, 2013 at 18:08

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .