When The Mac No Longer Starts

If the Mac does not start, you can solve the problem yourself in many cases. A guide in ten steps.


Only when something is missing does one often realize how valuable it is. This experience made since Sunday afternoon almost one million households, the customer of the Telekom are us dial in with an access of the Bonn-based group in the Internet. The exact causes are also on Monday not known , but gradually grab the repairs. After all, you could drive the time on the Mac even without the Internet, at the time just with the one or other game of chess against the computer. So there are worse than offline days, but also for one or the other cure. Read the following steps to solve the problem step by step when your Mac does not even start.
It is to despair: If the Mac does not start, it feels like a total loss. What can you do about it and save your system, the programs and above all the personal data?

Although Macs are very reliable, they are only computers and therefore are not 100 percent protected from failures, sometimes expressed in a refused startup process. This can have many causes before one comes to a solution, one must first know the problem exactly. Fortunately, there are sufficient measures for diagnosis and cure. We have divided this guide into ten steps which lead to the goal. The measures apply equally to a number of operating system versions, also for the upcoming MacOS Sierra. However, one or the other menu can differ slightly from version to version.

Step 1: Make sure your Mac is turned on at all

It sounds trivial, but the reason your Mac does not start is simply because it does not turn on. If you press the power button, no Startgong (with the Macs older than 2016) and no fan hear, no light on monitor or components is concerned, then this is probably the case. (Obviously, the mere absence of the startup chime can also mean that you have muted the computer at the last working or speakers are made or a Macbook Pro have the latest generation. It must have more symptoms of silence occur.) In the concrete situation it is not easy to find the cause, this does not have the software or hide concrete the start routine. Apple has the event that the Mac is not turning on, a separate support document issued and are in essentially four advice. First, you should check the power supply (Is the Mac plugged in? If possible, use a different cable, disconnect any peripherals such as printers or USB hubs (of course, not the monitor …) and if necessary Recently installed new hardware – such as a new memory latch or a hard disk – to check whether these components are still correctly installed or, if necessary, remove them again and retrieve the old components. If this does not help, try to reset the SMC. How to do this is explained in step 7.

Step 2: No video signal – or just a distorted signal

If the Mac turns on but does not show an image, then you probably have a problem with the monitor. But if you get something displayed, but can not log in to your Mac, then continue to step 3. If you suspect problems with your display, you can again help from an Apple support document relate. Apple advises in this case:

  • Check the power supply of the (external) monitor
  • Ensure that all cables are plugged in correctly
  • Make sure the monitor is compatible with the Mac
  • Remove any extenders or switches between your Mac and your monitor
  • Disconnect and reconnect the video cable (between the Mac and the monitor)
  • If you have several monitors connected in series (daisy chain), plug them all off and only once again
  • If possible, try using another cable or better interface – such as DVI instead of VGA
  • If this does not help, advise the document to delete the PRAM or start the system in safe mode. Later more.

Step 3: Run the disk utility in recovery mode

The Mac turns itself on and with the monitor is also all right – why is he still not booting? There can still be many reasons for this, but in this step, we want to exclude that our problems are related to the hard drive or, if necessary, resolve it. For this, we need the Disk Utility – and that it can provide not only a diagnosis but also discovered problems fixed quickly, we need to boot from an external drive. Respects a separate partition that is separate from the system partition. Since OS X 10.7, the rescue partition on board the Mac is usually invisible. If we start from this partition, we can also use the hard drive utility from there.

Before restarting, we have to make sure that the Mac is really off. If a light glows or a gray screen is lit, press the power button for five seconds to turn off the Mac. Then we hold the keys cmd and R on the keyboard and turn on the Mac again. If this boot occurs, it will lead to a screen that will show us some OS-X utilities. Click the hard disk utility. Then click on the icon of your hard drive in the list on the left, then click “First Aid” and “Run” (OS X 10:11 El Capitan) respectively on “Check” in previous OS X versions ( Apple Disk Utility program last update a little renovation … ) then wait just starting and have it repaired a possible error, the tool.

Step 4: Secure system startup

The secure system start tests the functionality of the Mac during the start and leaves some system components and especially extensions unfulfilled. In rare cases, this method helps to eliminate the limiting factor. After the safe system start, a completely normal boot process can take place. If you press and hold the shift or shift key during the boot process, you will release the boot safely. If your zipping Mac is brought to life, this process may take some time, as the system runs some check routines. If you want to know what your computer is doing, press the Shift key on the start, but you will also start the verbose mode, which will show up on the screen during startup What results. As a layman, however, you will hardly draw valuable information from it, but it looks pretty cool …

If the secure system startup (with or without Verbose) has been successful, restart your Mac just as normal. When the trouble solved: Congratulations! If not, please read on.

Step 5: FSCK – File System Consistency Check

If it is not exactly your own Mac that you try to repair in the sweat of your face and more and more burning concern, Step 5 makes straight fun, almost even more than the Verbose boot. Because the file system consistency check feels right geeky.

Turn off the Mac and then turn it on again while pressing the cmd and S buttons. The “S” stands for single-user mode, in which you now start. You can detach the handle when white characters appear on a black screen. Now wait for a command line to appear and then type:

fsck -y


After the test, your computer tells you either “The volume [name of the Mac ‘] to be OK” or – what you did not want to read, especially in volume – “FILE SYSTEM WHAT MODIFIED”. In the first case, you can leave “reboot” in the command line and press the Enter key. In the second case, run the check again, and you do not even have to type the command again. It is sufficient to press the arrow key up, the command appears again, you just have to confirm it with the Enter key. Either you are successful in the second, third or further attempts. Or not. Before you do it dozens and hundreds of times in vain, you’ll be more concerned about the next step.

Step 6: Reset NVRAM

In times of the PowerPC, the first consultation of experts was usually “PRAM already reset”. Did times work, times not, PRAM reset was not a cure-all? This store, which can cause quite a problem, is correctly called NVRAM in times of Intel Macs. And yes, you can reset it. The name of the memory refers to certain sections of the memory that keep certain parameters in the off state, such as the screen resolution or the selected volume – so a properly booting Mac will not let you hear a startgong when you last turned off the sound.

As always, the reset of the NVRAM is not necessarily promising but does not hurt either. So it is quite appropriate here. If you have learned piano or another instrument that requires special skill, you are now in an advantage. Everyone else has to be a bit distracted by the boat or a third helping hand. When you start the Mac, you must hold down the Cmd, Alt, P, and R keys at the same time. And then press the power button. (We tried again, the best way to do this is to press the right hand finger “R”, the right little finger “P”, and the right thumb at the same time Alt and Cmd – then you have the left hand free for the power button So you have to “overlap” on Macbooks.) You have to hold the more or less uncomfortable position on the four buttons (without the power button) until a second start signal sounds.

Maybe the Mac starts normally and shows a progress bar. If it can happen, however, that the boot process is terminated before it is completely filled, the resetting of the NVRAM did not help. We have some arrows in the quiver.

Step 7: Reset the SMC

Now we have come to the point where we need to reset the System Management Controller (SMC) of the Mac if anything should help – almost an ultima ratio before the Mac is completely new. This measure is a little more complicated, Apple must provide detailed instructions provided, in each case for notebooks and desktops. For the latter, she reads simply: disconnect power, wait 15 seconds, reconnect, wait five seconds, then back on .

With Macbooks, however, it is now complicated, because the trick is yes, the computer for a short time at all no power source available. The power supply of the Macbooks to unplug so does not help. In older Macbooks, where you can still remove the battery, is the appropriate action. When the power supply is completely removed, press the power button for five seconds, then reinstall the battery and plug in the power supply. Then the machine is booting hopefully.

On most mobile Macs, however, the battery can not be expanded. Apple’s procedure for deleting the SMC looks like this:

  • Turn off Mac
  • Insert the power supply (Magsafe or USB-C) into your Mac and socket
  • On the internal keyboard, press Shift, Ctrl, and Alt, then press the power button
  • Release all buttons, then press the power button again.

Step 8: Target Disk Mode

Is not it still possible? At least now it is time for data recovery before we really need to re-launch the system. If you are a notorious backup objectors, then it is at this step to your last straw to get your information. The Mac did not fix it, but we’ll take care of that later. Essentially, the target disk mode means you can connect your (defective) Mac to another (healthy) Mac and mount the hard disk of the broken computer as an external volume on the working one. This may result in a last-minute rescue of your data. That’s how it works:

Connect the two computers using a Thunderbolt or Firewire cable
Turn off your (defective) Mac
Reboot and hold down the T key
Hold the handle after the startgone sounds and wait until the screen displays nothing but the Thunderbolt (or Firewire) icon.
On your healthy Mac (or a colleague’s or friend’s), you’ll see the icon on your hard disk. Now drag the data you need to another external storage medium. You can also clone the entire hard drive, such as the hard disk utility. Does the computer not boot even in target disk mode? Geez! Go to step 10.

Step 9: Reboot the system

Well then. There is not much left to rebuild the system. To do this, go back to step 3, the restore mode. After the successful start in these, you also have the option to reinstall the system, the rescue partition is there. The process is actually self-explanatory. Instead of rescue partition You can also buy from a bootable external media reinstall the system, such as a create Boot Stick of OS X 10:11 El Capitan, we explain here. Important: From the Recovery Partition to obtain the latest system on the root partition that Yes now no longer wants is installed. From USB Stick only the version that you have stored there at the time. D as can still be the first public beta …

Step 10: Go to the Genius Bar

Now we have to learn Greek because we are finished with our Latin. However, the pictorial “Greek” is very concretely the Genius Bar next Apple Store , where you should see your Mac now carry you to necessarily make an appointment via Apple’s website. The Genius will tell you what to repair and what is hopelessly lost – including cost estimates. In the worst case, the Apple Store takes back your electronic waste and sells you a new computer. But as far as it does not come, the exchange of a hard disk / SSD or a Logicboard usually comes cheaper than the purchase of a new device.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *