El Capitan won't install

Discussion of issues related to OSX 10.11 (El Capitan)
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ChrisO
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El Capitan won't install

Post by ChrisO » Tue Oct 27, 2015 8:54 am

And worse, my Mac Mini now appears to be a paperweight.

bAsically I downloaded El Capitan. i made a bootable flash drive installer ( so I could install to two computers) and installed from that flash drive. it took 1 1/2 hours or so, then left me with a screen saying to restart, which I did.

it will not restart. I get a brief screen of text saying something about no OSX then an Apple logo with a progress bar that times out and says in multiple languages that it can't start. tHen the whole thing repeats.

i tried Recovery using a time machine backup, no dice. The internal drive (a Fusion) appeared the first time, but the recovery failed and now the internal drive doesn't appear as an option.

I could download using Recovery a new copy, but that will take hours and if there's something wrong with my Fusion drive, then ...?

Trying Internet Recovery now, but help! Any ideas?

Chris Ogden

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Stephen Hart
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Re: El Capitan won't install

Post by Stephen Hart » Tue Oct 27, 2015 3:18 pm

The multiple-language screen you saw was a kernel panic. That usually means something seriously wrong with the software or hardware. You wouldn't get a kernel panic if the mini's hard drive had been disastrously corrupted. That doesn't mean the problem is permanent.

Do you have a bootable backup of your mini? If so, boot from that and check the hard drive in the mini with Disk Utility.

If you don't have a bootable backup drive, try booting in Safe mode. That might help.
https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201262

If you can get the mini to boot, you could drag the El Capitan installer app from the flash drive to the Applications folder (the one in hard drive, not your user Applications folder), then begin the install from that startup drive.

If none of the above work, you could restore from your Time Machine backup, then copy the Install app to the restored drive.



Here's how I did three installs of El Cap:

1. Download on my main iMac (18 hours!). Quit the install app before installing. (The install app self deletes after an install.)
2. Option drag the El Cap install app from the Applications folder to the desktop. (This is safety voodoo; I could have skipped to step 3.)
3. Drag the installer app from my desktop to a flash drive. Properly eject the flash drive.
4. Restart the install app on my iMac and let it install.
5. Drag copy the install app from the Flash drive to the Applications folder on my other two Macs and run on each.
"Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."
Steve Jobs

ChrisO
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Re: El Capitan won't install

Post by ChrisO » Tue Oct 27, 2015 4:53 pm

Stephen Hart wrote:The multiple-language screen you saw was a kernel panic. That usually means something seriously wrong with the software or hardware. You wouldn't get a kernel panic if the mini's hard drive had been disastrously corrupted. That doesn't mean the problem is permanent.

Do you have a bootable backup of your mini? If so, boot from that and check the hard drive in the mini with Disk Utility.

If you don't have a bootable backup drive, try booting in Safe mode. That might help.
https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201262

If you can get the mini to boot, you could drag the El Capitan installer app from the flash drive to the Applications folder (the one in hard drive, not your user Applications folder), then begin the install from that startup drive.

If none of the above work, you could restore from your Time Machine backup, then copy the Install app to the restored drive.
Stephen, thanks for your comprehensive reply. Since posting, I determined the computer is still under warranty, so I called Apple Tech Support. One hour and 41 minutes later, the support rep (who was very good) after multiple attempts at recovering, determined that I had a hardware problem with my Fusion drive, and that it could well be coincidental that it failed when installing OS X.

Although I can see the drive in Disk Utility and can Verify it, and it passes the Diagnostics, it cannot be seen either by the installer or by it's Restore partition or by restore from Time Machine. Therefore, I can only boot from an external drive and can't restore any of my settings, documents or applications.

I have to bring it in to an Apple Store (ugh) I can't even ship it, apparently. So unless there's a third-party program that can resurrect the drive, I'm stuck I guess.

Chris Ogden

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Stephen Hart
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Re: El Capitan won't install

Post by Stephen Hart » Tue Oct 27, 2015 7:42 pm

I have to bring it in to an Apple Store (ugh) I can't even ship it, apparently. So unless there's a third-party program that can resurrect the drive, I'm stuck I guess.
Seems unusual that there'd be this kind of hardware problem with a Mac new enough to be in warranty.

At any rate, in the past when I've had serious hardware problems, I've told AppleCare that it's a 5-6 hour round trip to the nearest Apple Store and they've let me ship the Mac in.

That said, the Tacoma store is the closest from PA-Sequim, especially since the Tacoma bridge underwent binary fission. It's a little weird doing the last couple of turns from the highway, but it's only a couple of minutes. (You turn off at the point where you'd turn left to head up to Seattle.) Let Siri and Maps guide you.
"Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."
Steve Jobs

ChrisO
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Re: El Capitan won't install

Post by ChrisO » Wed Nov 04, 2015 4:52 pm

I have temporarily solved the problem by creating a new boot disk on a Firewire drive, which I could then restore my Time Machine backup to. So my Mini works for the moment, but obviously I have to deal with the potential hardware problem. I agree it's odd that a drive less than a year old would fail, right in the middle of an OS upgrade.

Anyway, I can ship it back to Power Max, where I bought it, at my expense, and they will fix it under warranty. Or, I can take it to an Apple Store in Seattle. Not sure if there's much difference (?).

I'm attempting to buy AppleCare due to this, $99 for two years. I bought it on the exact day I bought the computer, a year later, but I waited until late in the day, so not sure if they will accept it.

Chris

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Stephen Hart
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Re: El Capitan won't install

Post by Stephen Hart » Wed Nov 04, 2015 6:20 pm

I assume the AppleCare tech suggested this, but if you can see the internal drive in Disk Utility, did you try partitioning it again? Disk Utility will guide you as to which settings to use. In any case, if it were me, I'd get Apple to replace the drive.

Watch carefully for a recall on those drives. I just replaced a hard drive in a 2010 iMac. It's drive was replaced once by Apple, but the replacement showed some troubling signs, and was declared to be suffering from "old age" by Smart Utility. A few months after Apple replaced my drive, the drives were recalled, and I suspect I got one from the original batch.
"Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."
Steve Jobs

ChrisO
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Re: El Capitan won't install

Post by ChrisO » Fri Nov 06, 2015 9:52 pm

Stephen Hart wrote:I assume the AppleCare tech suggested this, but if you can see the internal drive in Disk Utility, did you try partitioning it again? Disk Utility will guide you as to which settings to use. In any case, if it were me, I'd get Apple to replace the drive.
UPDATE: Called Apple Support again because unhappy with options in getting computer to them. Was escalated to a senior support engineer.

He said, "Let's try something first" and proceeded to have me boot in Recovery mode (CMD/R) and then open a Terminal window. He then had me type in a bunch of diskutil commands that separated the Fusion drive into two separate drives, the SSD and the hard disk. We then erased both of them, then combined them back together. After a restart, I was able to restore a recent Time Machine back up to the Fusion drive.

Unfortunately, I did not write down the Terminal commands.

Hard drive came back to life, and all seems good, at least for now.

Chris

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Stephen Hart
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Re: El Capitan won't install

Post by Stephen Hart » Fri Nov 06, 2015 10:04 pm

Wow! Sounds like you got to a real Apple guru!
Let us know if the fix stays fixed. It sure sounds like it wasn't a hardware problem.
Unfortunately, I did not write down the Terminal commands.
That's a feature, not a bug.
I don't know how many times I've seen posts with Terminal commands that are a short time later corrected. Terminal is a powerful app, and a typo can ruin your whole day.
"Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."
Steve Jobs

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