Our Latest News

A Beginner’s Guide to Troubleshooting Mac Startup Issues

March 6, 2017

Just like any other computer or piece of technology, issues are bound to arise every now and then. Your Mac can suddenly develop startup issues such as failing to finish booting. It is, therefore, advisable to learn how to resolve common Mac issues to ensure seamless performance of your machine and zero downtimes.

To help, we share a few tips for troubleshooting Mac issues.

Boot in Safe Mode

The quickest, simplest, and ‘safest’ way to diagnose Mac startup issues is to boot the computer in safe mode. Safe mode boot option doesn’t allow system extensions, fonts, and several other startup items to boot. Booting a Mac in safe mode checks the startup drive to ensure it is in good shape, or at least bootable. When the Mac starts running in safe mode, you can troubleshooting the issue, with actions such as removing startup or login items or deleting applications causing, or launching Disk First Aid.

Reset the PRAM or NVRAM

Macs have a special memory, PRAM or NVRAM, that stores some of the basic settings required to boot successfully, including startup device to be used, size of installed memory, and configuration of graphics card. Corruption of this data may lead to startup problems. If your Mac is having startup problems, such data corruption may be the reason. The simplest way to eliminate such an issue is to reset the PRAM/NVRAM and back to its default state.

Repair Hard Drive

Many startup troubles are due to a faulty hard drive that requires some minor repairs. To perform any repairs, you first need to get your Mac to boot. Ways to work around the situation include booting your Mac from alternate device, booting in safe mode or in a single user mode. These steps will help you boot your system, so you can fix issues affecting your Mac startup and performance. You can optimize the drive using Apple’s inbuilt tools or an app such as iDoctor.

Reset the SMC

The System Management Controller is a crucial part of a Mac that controls a number of its core functions, including sleep mode, use of power button, and thermal management. If your Mac won't finish booting or freezes after starting up, an SMC reset maybe all that is needed.

Use OS X Combo Updates

Power hiccups or outages during OS X updates and installation can lead to startup problems. This is because sudden loss of power during OS update can result in corrupt files that won't let the system boot, or boot an unstable system that experiences crashes. Going for same upgrade will not help as upgrade versions of the OS usually only include files that are different from the previous version. Since it is not easy to determine the system files may have been affected, it is advisable to install an OS update that contains all the necessary system files. You can get a combo update released by Apple. Use the OS X combo update to replace most of the critical system software files with current versions to bring your Mac up to date.

Create a Spare User Account

The spare user account is an administrative account that can help you troubleshoot problems in your Mac. The sole purpose of creating the account is to have a set of pristine user files, extensions, and permissions that are necessary for booting. This can help you get your Mac running when your normal user account is having startup problems. Once you have the Mac up and running, start diagnosing the problem. A spare account is, therefore, a must for Mac users as a preventive measure that can bail you out when faced with startup troubles.

Wrapping Up

Whether you have been using a Mac for years or have recently bought one, it is important to know how to diagnose basic problems. You can also take advantage of Mac maintenance tools to maintain and fix your system. iDoctor is one such solution that help you optimize your Mac and get peak performance. The app cleans junk from your Mac, optimizes performance, and protects it from virus and malware. To learn more about our product or get an expert’s advice on Mac troubles, fill out our contact form or download our Remote Support tool.

Recent posts