Scary times with my mac (and a fix!) December 26, 2007

My macbook just scared the crap out of me.

Since I couldn’t sleep until I fixed, I figured I’d blog it. (It’s finishing up fixing itself now.)

Symptom:

Running Leopard, all normal updates. On 12/25/2007 I get a popup window with some macbook upgrades, a quicktime patch, and another innocuous looking update. However, after authorizing it to reboot the computer, I get the message “Reboot failed because application ‘Software Update’ failed to quit.” This, I think, is a bad sign. I quit every other application and tried running software update again. Same thing happens. I then try and shut down. It won’t. Power button’s not even working to bring up the “shutdown” menu. Only thing I can do is hold down the power button and power it back up.

Here’s the thing – on next boot, I’m looking at the OS X Setup Assistant. Yeah. As if I’d just installed Leopard. Great.

Fix:

Thankfully, the fix was easy, after I got my heart rate back down from 210 BPM. I searched in the KB a bit and found: Setup Assistant Appears after Every Restart

And that worked. Start it in safe mode, (hold shift right after power-on ‘Bong!’) when it gets to the login screen don’t login, but hit back arrow, then restart, and viola – upgrades continued like they should have, and on next reboot I was normal.

All’s well that ends well, but this DID make me want to get my backups back in shape one way or another; no more waiting around for SuperDuper to get Leopard-ready. (Even though his latest update suggests I could be good to go within a week… it’s rsync time, at least.)

Edit: Turns out the rsync was is easy. Just listen to jwz.