How to Repair Hard Drive if Mac Fails to Start

Working on Mac is one of the comforts of a computer user. There are several versions of Mac in the market and all give some outstanding user experience. If you are a Mac user, you would agree with me on this. You might also have encountered the white screen issue, it happens when Mac fails to start. It’s very dangerous for your data in your computer. And it’s a quite difficult task to get back files after drive failure on Macbook pro, Macbook air or other Mac computers.

There are certain issues with Mac when it refuses to start. The system will display some traits of failure when you try to use it. Problems like blue screen display, logging in but showing white screen or Mac doesn’t load at all. Such issues are an indication of a greater problem than you think. This problem of not starting up can be so annoying most of the times. These issues have a direct connection with the data on your Mac. As well as the hard disc may get affected with time.

What to do When Mac Fails

When Mac fails to start up normally, it can be fixed with the startup device repair or Disc utility tool. This tool is available for Mac, but its access is only when the system is able to start. In this case, you have to first face the startup issue. To start the computer in our case, we need to get into the system and start it up.

An unresponsive Mac can be started with some of the methods that I will explain in the following section. Let’s go through these three troubleshooting techniques to start your system when Mac fails to start.

New Boot up

This is one of the most common practices people use for an unresponsive Mac. You can make use of a different device to boot up your Mac. This external source can be anything from a DVD to external hard drive with a Bootable Mac OS in it.

There can be different practices to boot up your device are booting with another bootable hard drive, a USB flash drive or a current OS DVD. You can use any of these devices to boot your system up and get into your computer. Here is how you can boot your device with different options:

Boot from external hard drive/USB – Connect the Drive to your computer.

Start your Mac holding the Option key.

Startup manager will display a list of boot devices, select your device.

Boot with Installation DVD – Insert the DVD in your system.

Start the computer pressing ‘c’ key.

Boot from recovery HD – Start the computer with Command key and ‘R’ Key.

Start (Command + R)

Once the computer finishes booting, open the Disk utility to recover all the data in your hard drive.

Boot in Safe Mode

To start your computer in Safe Mode, hold the Shift key and start. This will take a bit of time, as the system practically refreshes all the files on your startup volume. It checks all the directory entries and deletes some of the unwanted files and some disturbing entries. The safe mode operation makes system startup possible with some limitations.

After the system has started and you are on the main screen of your Mac, do not try to use applications immediately. The safe mode supports the operation of only a few features of the operating system. It is basically used for troubleshooting the computer issues and not for running general applications.

As soon as you are able to see the home screen, go to the Disk Utility tool. This tool will help you to repair your hard drive. And you can get a backup of all your important files along with repairing your hard drive.

Boot Using Command Line Prompt

 To boot your device in the command line mode, start the computer and hold the command key and ‘s’ (Command + S). This will allow the users to go into the command line environment and operate the computer with that.

In the command prompt, type this command


Press enter key – this will display all the information about your startup disk.

This will display one of the two messages, either the no problem found or it will show you some problem with the hard drive and the fsck attempted to rectify the errors.

If you see problem popping up in the system, run the same command 3 to 5 times or as long as you don’t get the message “volume F appears to be OK”.

If you do not get this message within 4 to 5 attempts, it shows some serious issue with your hard drive. Try to start your system up and get the hard drive backup as soon as you can. If you are able to rectify the error with the command line prompt, go to the disc utility in your system and fix the remaining issues with your hard drive.

How to Repair Hard Drive if Mac Fails to Start was last modified: January 9th, 2017 by John Harris

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