Repair guides for the MacBook Air, Apple's current line of consumer laptops.

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HELP! Tried to DL Capitan, Kernal screen, won't even start!

I tried to DL Capitan. I think I may not have had enough memory/storage. Now it keeps going to password screen, then to choose a language, then back to password. I can't get it to start up and my back up is not great...only pictures I think :( Please help! I have no idea what to do!!!

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I o have access to another mac and thumb drive can you walk me through the steps please?


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Do you have access to a second Mac & a USB thumb drive? If you do prep up the thumb drive as a bootable disk.

Then try starting up with it on the Air by holding down the Option key select the thumb drive as your boot disk. If you can get that far first save anything of importance as you may need to wipe the drive. Then next thing here is to free up as much space as you can as I suspect the system can't expand the new files.

The last direction here is to wipe the drive if it still won't fly. Then using your thumb drive set it up as an installer with El Capitan and try again.

Update (10/03/2015)

OK here goes:

  • Using the other Mac open up Disk Utility with the USB drive plugged in you should see it show up. Delete the partition as its likely FAT32 and not workable for a Mac boot disk. Now create a partition you want a GUID & Mac OS Extended (Journaled). I would recommend you rename the drive to something unique.
  • Now if you don't already have the OS installer on this Mac download it. Once downloaded make a backup copy and place it in a folder away from the other installer
  • Run the OS installer make sure you select the USB thumb drive (16GB or larger). Once it goes thought the process you should be running under the USB drive under the new OS on it. To be sure it works shutdown the system and restart holding the Option key that will get you to the boot manager now select the USB boot drive let it boot up and the last thing here is to copy over the OS installer to it (the backup). Shutdown the system disconnect the USB drive and plug it into your Air.

Boot up your Air now with the USB thumb drive present. Using the Option key like before to select the USB thumb drive. Are you able to get to this point? If you are, delete what you can to make some room & copy off anything important. I would recommend also running a cache & log cleaner like this one: Disk Doctor. After you have cleaned things try running Disk Utility to see if you can fix the internal drives disk & permissions.

Let us know what happens.

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Thank you Dan, going to try now! Wish me luck :)


After formatting the USB do I DL OSX on the USB? Then try to reinstall on the Air?


You fist need to install a working OS onto the USB thumb drive. Make sure it works on your 2nd Mac as a bootable drive, then copy over the Installer App you made as a backup to the USB thumb drive as you may need it. For now we'll focus on running Disk Utility from the thumb drive when you start your Air with it.


I'm trying! Please be patient LOL. I'm on my son's Macbook and found Yosemite in Applications and copied it to thumb drive. Is that correct so far?

I can't even fin the "download" in the app store and on the air I can not even get to desktop or ANYTHING on drive to delete etc. I'm stuck right now, how do i tell if what I need is on flsh drive


I think you jumped over the steps here. Did you format the thumb drive on your sons Mac? That's step 1, Did you run the installer and install the OS onto the thumb drive as it needs to be able to boot up (you can use what your son has Yosemite is just fine here). Now are you able to test out the drive booting up your sons system with the USB drive? If you get to this point then and only then do you copy the installer over. This is where you'll want to download El Capitan to the Flash drive so you can then install it again if needed. But thats only if you can't free up enough space to allow the installer you have running on your system now to work.


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