This morning we encountered a MacBook that was not just dead, it was super-dead. It wouldn’t come on, even holding down the power button for ten seconds wasn’t sufficient to kill it and get it to start back up.
So I learned all new keystrokes to press to get out of this kind of situation that I’ve never encountered before:
Reset the SMC (http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3964)
Hold down the Shift + Control + Option keys (all on the left hand side of the built in keyboard) + the power button
Release and then hit the power button again
Reset the NVRAM / PRAM (http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1379)
Command + Option + P + R with the machine powered on
It took the last one to get the machine back to a working state, something I’ve never seen happen with a Mac before, but if I ever see it again, I’ll know what to do.
I wanted to give my existing MacBook (a mid-2009) to my wife because she has had tons of battery issues, performance issues, you name it issues with the commodity Windows 7 Toshiba laptop we cursed her with a few years ago. My Macbook is older but still comes up in a fraction of the time hers does when you open the cover, lasts something like four times as long on a battery charge, and though it’s a slower processor seems to be about as fast for most of her needs.
But I didn’t want to give her a programmer’s laptop with all of my IDEs, extra browsers, compilers, databases, etc. installed on it. I wanted it to be a just like new experience. So I removed the stickers, scrubbed the aluminum exterior (though I couldn’t do much about a few small scratches on the bottom of it, the top still looks pretty new); and cleaned the screen, keyboard, and trackpad thoroughly. But when it came to completely formatting the hard drive and installing a brand new copy of OS X Mavericks it seemed like it was going to be a lot harder. For example, this article on doing a clean install was pretty typical: http://mashable.com/2013/10/23/clean-install-os-x-mavericks/
Whoof! That’s a lot of work to do something that should be pretty easy. It turns out, it can be:
- First make sure you can use the Command+R when you boot your MacBook to go to the recovery screen.
- If that worked, start up your Mac again normally and install Mavericks on it. It’s still your old stuff on the machine though, just with a new OS on top of it.
- Then reboot and use Command+R and go into the recovery screen.
- Use the Disk Utility in the recovery screen to format the hard drive and use the Reinstall OS (again a recovery screen tool). After that you’ll have a fresh clean machine with OS X Mavericks on it.
It might not be the fastest way to do it because you did two installs of Mavericks on the same machine, but it was much easier than downloading special tools and creating USB boot keys.