Can't boot up - stuck at spinning wheel against grey background

My problem is quite similar to this thread:

Stuck on grey screen after boot, Disk Utility says HD is OK

however even using Disk Utility to try to start up, I get nowhere. Ditto re start up using my wifi network - I get about 5% along the progress bar, and then I get stuck. But according to Disk Utility, there's nothing wrong with my hard drive.

Prior to trying Disk Utility, with holding shift or shift+V or whatever, about 25% along the progress bar, and then that bar disappears. I have tried and failed with all the other tricks: safe mode, cmd+o+r+option, PRAM/NAVM etc.

Nothing external was connected at the time, I had just been using it to surf. The only thing unusuak was Avast! picking up and quarantining a supposed threat to the laptop (presumed malware). But reading other threads, this doesn't sound like the problem is related to malware.

So essentially, Disk Utility says no hard-drive problems, but can't load up AT ALL, using any method

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Hello, I have the same problem as Paul. I thought my MacBook was just old and bought a new one. Once I migrated my files from my old MacBook to my new MacBook both computers are behaving like Paul's.

I followed your steps and waited the one hour and still have the spinning wheel problem. I know how to remove the battery on the early 2011 MacBook. Can you please tell me what to try next?


Billy - - For future reference you posted a Question in the place where only Answers belong. Please use the add comment link to the O.Q. or a particular Answer. Also tell me what machine, and which version of the OS (be specific) you are using. What was the last thing you did before the problem started? Have you done a safe boot? Di d you unplug all peripherals?


I have two MacBook pro. One is early 2011 and one is 2014 new. I bought the new MacBook to replace the 2011 one due to the spinning wheel issue. I have the newest operating systems in both computers.

The problem began when programs started to freeze. I closed an application. I couldn't reopen it. Then when I attached a file to Outlook that program froze. I would reboot to get the programs to work. Eventually the computer wouldn't reboot.

I transferred my old files from my old MacBook to the new MacBook through the migration program. Now both MacBooks have the same spinning wheel problem.

I performed the safe mode start holding shift and 25% along the progress bar the bar disappears and the same spinning wheel problem persist.

I performed the /sbin/fsck -fy twice because it said it modified the system the first time and waited over an hour. Same spinning wheel problem persist.

I performed the option, command, p, r but same spinning wheel problem persist.

I performed the Shift-Command-V during start up and all I see that appears out of the ordinary to me is BootCacheControl: Unable to open /var/db/BootCache.plylist: 2 No such file or directory

I don't know what to try next. Any idea?



You have a mugged up OS. Repeated crashing will screw up the MBD. This is a software, not a hardware problem. We don't do a lot with/for software issues. What I can tell you is a solution is to backup the important data... By putting your messed up drives in an external case, or Target booting the machines so you can access them from a working Mac. Then wipe the drive completely and reinstall the OS from the R disk volume, do all the updates. Verify the machines are booting/working normally. Then carefully transfer back only the data, you don't want to bring over corrupted fonts, extensions or prefrences.


I can have the shop re install the operating system on my new MacBook but how do I transfer MS Office and my Outlook calenders and contacts from my 2011 MacBook to my new one?


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Right you don't have a HD problem you have an OS problem. You have a virus or corrupt/missing boot file.

Try a Single User boot to force file check. (Command-S) It should boot to a black screen with scrolling white text... that text roll until it stops.

When it does you will see At the some text about /sbin/fsck -fy when the cursor pauses blinking type:

/sbin/fsck -fy (that is a single space between fsck and the -fy)

Press Return. fsck will go through five "phases" and then return information about your disk's use and fragmentation. Once it finishes, it'll display this message if no issue is found:

  • The volume (name_of_volume) appears to be OK

If fsck found issues and has altered, repaired, or fixed anything, it will display this message:


Important: If this message appears, repeat the fsck command you typed in step 2 until fsck tells you that your volume appears to be OK (first-pass repairs may uncover additional issues, so this is a normal thing that happens).

When fsck reports that your volume is OK, type reboot at the prompt and then press Return.

At reboot if you see a dark elliptical progress bar that suddenly disappears and/or hear a tone DO NOTHING for a hour. Your EFI might be repairing itself. If you halt this process you can really screw things up (from some of your description you may have already don this). If thats the case only someone with a working Mac or an Apple Genius can help you.

If this answer is acceptable please remember to return and mark it.

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machead3 thanks so much for your helpful and spot-on answer: i did indeed have this scrolling ms dos-type text, i should have mentioned this in my OP. After the initial page of output/text and a minute or so of the screen then doing nothing, i did a few ' enter' keystrokes and a couple of backspaces before powering down - clearly a major rookie error. I now can't get back to that screen to follow your tecommendations.

So, sounds like I've really stuffed things. What's the next step - take it to a service centre to see if they can help? I'm living, however, in a non-English speaking country where I would have - perhaps unjustifiable - security concerns about this. (it's not China)


Do you have access to a second mac running the same OS as your machine?


You could try pulling all the power, mans and battery leaving over night reconnecting the power and doing the single user boot -force repair if you can get to that screen after the power drain reset.


Hi machead3 - I likely won't have access to a second Mac.

I may actually be able to take the laptop to a service centre for repair, despite my concerns yesterday.

What does that process you mention above actually involve? i.e. physical dissemblement of components? If it's simple enough, sounds like it might be worth doing ...


Because you have a self-contained (not easily removed) battery you'd need the proper tools to get the case open... follow the guide.


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