huge system problems

in Genius Bar edited January 2014
i'm not sure if this is a place where i can or should post such a question, but i am desperate. osx(.2 i believe, maybe .1) is all but useless on my 12" pb g4 867 right now. the only programs i can even open are mail, software update, system prefs, and safari. finder does not launch and when i click it in the dock it will not start up, it won't even try. furthermore, if i use arrows in any program that program will crash. i tried to put in a norton antivirus cd and can't access it because there is no finder to display it in. i also can't eject it. i downloaded a free trial of the software online but cannot open it. i tried booting from the norton cd but couldn't. the only thing left i can think of besides paying someone to fix it is booting from an osx cd and reinstall the system, which i don't have here at school so i will have to wait until i go home, which will be a while. is there anything else i can do? sorry if this post doesn't belong here.


  • Reply 1 of 11
    alcimedesalcimedes Posts: 5,486member
    this should probably go in the Genius Bar, but here goes.


    Running FSCK: by Paul

    "FSCK" checks (fixes) the file system (File System ChecK)

    You have to be in single user mode in order for this to work...

    now this can get a little tricky...

    restart your computer and hold down apple-s this will bring up a bunch of text... (single user mode) wait for this to load.

    then type:

    code:/sbin/fsck -y

    (it will be already written a few lines up so you don't have to memorize it) and just like disk utility it will run through and check the filesystem, only instead of repairing permissions it checks the actual file system.

    after you run it, if it says "The system was modified" run the command again.

    if it says "The system appears to be OK" then type


    and your mac should start up normally

    <courtesy of kickaha:>

    Disk Utility's 'Repair Volume' also checks the file system. The only reason you'd have to resort to single-user boot mode is to perform fsck on the boot drive, assuming you don't have another boot volume or CD to do so.


    This should be done after every OS update and major software installation and if you are having any trouble with your computer this should be the step to try after repairing permissions with disk utility.

    you can find the thread here
  • Reply 2 of 11
    i ran this several times, and am continuing to do so as i write this on a different computer. the first time it said that "macintosh hd" was unrepairable. the next time it found many things wrong and ended as you said with "the system was modified." subsequent cycles yielded fewer and fewer problems but the last half dozen have returned the same two over and over. under "checking catalog file" it reads "overlapping extent allocation" twice, each followed by a file number. i tried rebooting and could not notice a change in performance. should i just keep trying

  • Reply 3 of 11
    ipeonipeon Posts: 1,122member
    Sounds like your Hard-Drive has irreparable damage. Damage that can only be fixed by reformatting it. This will of course erase everything and you will need to reinstall. That means backing up your files into another drive and reformatting your Hard-Drive. Then run Disk Utility to see if your Hard-Drive is ok. That seems to be what you need to do based on the info you've provided. Good luck.
  • Reply 4 of 11
    True, fsck can only fix so much. It sounds like this case is beyond its powers.

    Reformatting is certainly an option. However, if you really want to salvage that drive, you should find a copy of Alsoft's DiskWarrior as soon as possible and use it to try to recover the drive.

    I've personally had great success bringing back drives from the dead with DW and I've also read many other stories praising DW. DiskWarrior can sometimes take days to repair large drives, but the results are usually well worth the wait.

    Best of luck.

    Moving to Genius Bar.
  • Reply 5 of 11
    alcimedesalcimedes Posts: 5,486member
    another, simpler option is to try and find another kind soul in your area with a newer Mac. (last two years)

    if you find someone, and they have the space, you can easily just back your HD up to theirs.

    put your computer in "Target Disk" mode by holding down the T key while booting.

    then just plug your mac (now with a firewire icon on the screen) into any other mac. the other mac will now see your machine as a HD, and you can pull all of your data off.
  • Reply 6 of 11
    i doubt i have more than 20gb on the drive, and certainly half of that can be deleated for all i care. if i can't find a helper mac i do have a t3, so i could back it up to anyone online. now how do i reformat my hard drive?
  • Reply 7 of 11
    Reformatting the drive is simple.

    Just insert your Mac OS X Install CD (the first one), hold the 'c' key on your keyboard, and reboot. That will make the system boot from the CD.

    Once the installer screen loads, choose Disk Utility from the Installer menu. When Disk Utility is ready, select your drive from the left column and choose the erase tab on the right, entering any options you wish to change.

    Give it time and it should be smooth sailing from there.
  • Reply 8 of 11
    sweet, but how do i eject the cd that is in right now? keep in mind i have no finder, and the eject button on the keyboard doesn't work. also, will the "software and install" cd that came with the computer suffice? i don't have an osx cd here at school.
  • Reply 9 of 11
    That CD might work. I haven't any experience with the software restore CDs.

    To eject the CD, boot while holding the eject key or F12 or the mouse button.

    If that doesn't work, we can try some Open Firmware mojo, but be careful to follow these instructions precisely:

    1. Restart the computer.

    2. Immediately after the system startup tone, press and hold the Apple-Option-O-F key combination. The computer starts up to a text-only screen, indicating that you are in Open Firmware.

    3. At the prompt, type: eject cd

    4. Press Return.

    5. Type: mac-boot

    6. Press Return

    Hope that helps.
  • Reply 10 of 11
    alcimedesalcimedes Posts: 5,486member
    you ever find a solution?
  • Reply 11 of 11
    i ended up transfering the most important stuff to a friend via the local network here and erasing and reinstalling everything with the software restore disk. so yeah, thank you all for all the help. i don't know what i would have done!
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