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PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2018 2:24 pm 
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Mr H's 2007 MBP at startup behaved oddly this morning. He turns it off each night and unplugs it from the magsafe connector to power.

At startup he reported seeing a circle with a line through it (always scary) which quickly went away, then it went to the apple logo, the progress bar hung at 55%, then went back to the beginning of the progress bar and went to the welcome screen (OS trying to re-install?)
At this point I got over to the machine to see what.
We were offered many choices - I chose disk utility - disk first aid was one of them and I thought this was harmless so I ran disk first aid on mac hd, which is the startup and I know it can't repair it.
When it finished running disk first aid - and I stupidly didn't copy what it did! - we exited DU and shut down.

Took out battery for sh*ts and giggles - and restarted.
All good.

I don't know what was going on but...

we are heading back to Japan in about a month and need both computers working until we go (when we travel with the traveling MBP)

Now that he is up and running can we just leave the MBP plugged in and ON for the next month or so???

If we close the lid - it goes to sleep? Is that OK for a month?

I tried to find info online about 24/7 for an old MBP and read so many conflicting posts that I gave up. Many just started talking about maximizing battery performance which is not an issue now. We never remember to run the battery down every once in a while, but it happens sometimes when he forgets to plug it in.

Anyway - 2 questions:
-can anyone shed light on what went wrong at startup - and why it wanted to reinstall OS?
-is it OK to leave the sucker on 24/7 for a month or so?

Thanks all!

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2018 6:05 pm 
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Mrs H wrote:
Now that he is up and running can we just leave the MBP plugged in and ON for the next month or so???

If we close the lid - it goes to sleep? Is that OK for a month?

Yes, and yes. At least none of those things will cause a problem by itself, provided it's plugged in and your house doesn't get hit by lightning. I've had my 2010 MBP plugged in, asleep, for about five months. The worst that I can imagine would reasonably happen is that the computer, in its efforts to keep the battery almost fully charged, would very slightly reduce the lifetime of the lithium ion battery. This is something that is probably not worth trying to optimize for the negligible benefit you might receive but will never be able to measure.

I don't know what the other problem was. It might have just started from the recovery partition because the drive was corrupted in some unbootable way, and repairing the directory fixed it up.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2018 10:49 am 
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The progress bar restarting isn't reinstalling the OS, it's just a case of two different progress bars at two different parts of the OS.

When its loading the initial part of the OS it displays the first progress bar. This part of the OS is essentially a graphic that exists solely to hide all the text that should normally be displayed. The progress bar is minimally useful and is based on what it thinks are the normal number of text messages that should be displayed.

When it finishes loading the initial part and transitions to what you probably think of as OS X, the first thing it loads is the login system, at which point the progress bar changes to a completely different progress bar.

Under normal circumstances the two progress bars line up and everything is fine. However they can also transition with the bar at different points, which is also fine, but it means something extra was going on during the first part of the boot.

If the disk has whole disk encryption enabled there will be one additional progress bar introduced, prior to the initial progress bar. This is basically unlocking the encrypted disk. However unless you have to enter a password in order to boot the system then this isn't enabled.

The crossed out circle followed by booting means it couldn't find a bootable OS where it expected to find a bootable OS. Normally the first step I take with these is to clear the PRAM (shut down, hold down command-opt-p-r, power on, keep holding down until it chimes twice). This usually fixes it. Essentially something stuck extraneous information into the nvram value that Startup Disk sets, so its trying to boot from a location that doesn't contain an OS. In theory you could just open Startup Disk and select Macintosh HD again but zapping PRAM works better in some cases (where SD won't fix the problem).

If the issue persists after clearing then it could be an issue with the internal HD itself starting to fail. Backups and bootable backups are your savior here.

Leaving the system on is perfectly fine however if the HD is failing it may accelerate this failure. Or it may prolong its life. HDs are fickle creatures these days.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2018 2:03 pm 
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Anonymous wrote:
Yes, and yes. At least none of those things will cause a problem by itself, provided it's plugged in and your house doesn't get hit by lightning.


Thanks, Anon, for the yeses.
It's plugged into a surge protector - a travel APC one, not the big UPS one the imac is plugged into. When the forecast is for lightning, we disconnect everything computer related.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2018 2:16 pm 
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MonkeyBoy wrote:
The progress bar restarting isn't reinstalling the OS, it's just a case of two different progress bars at two different parts of the OS.


But... as I said in passing describing what happened, without stressing it, the MBP "went to the welcome screen (OS trying to re-install?)"
This is sort of what we saw - I got this online, but it's pretty much what I remember, the welcome screen when you go to install an OS.
It asked us to select a language - that's when I freaked and somehow got to DU from this:
Attachment:
sort of what we saw.jpg
sort of what we saw.jpg [ 41.9 KiB | Viewed 201 times ]


MonkeyBoy wrote:
When its loading the initial part of the OS it displays the first progress bar...
When it finishes loading the initial part and transitions to what you probably think of as OS X, the first thing it loads is the login system, at which point the progress bar changes to a completely different progress bar...

Thanks for the explanation - I never really knew what was going on. It just goes on.

MonkeyBoy wrote:
The crossed out circle followed by booting means it couldn't find a bootable OS where it expected to find a bootable OS. Normally the first step I take with these is to clear the PRAM (shut down, hold down command-opt-p-r, power on, keep holding down until it chimes twice)...

He took out the battery, let everything sit a bit and then restarted with no issues.

Last night we left if on overnight - first time ever! - and all was well in the morning.
If when we next turn it off and on the problem recurs we will do the PRAM thing you suggest.
We will turn it off once a week - when we go into town I don't like to leave it out.

MonkeyBoy wrote:
...Backups and bootable backups are your savior here.

We have lots of those, so we are safe.

MonkeyBoy wrote:
Leaving the system on is perfectly fine however if the HD is failing it may accelerate this failure. Or it may prolong its life. HDs are fickle creatures these days.

Sure thing... ;)

btw - we had that PW issue once again (this:https://x704.net/bbs/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=8244)
There must be some bit of software that is not playing nice with something else.
Login is set for auto- just as well since if it weren't he might get locked out.
It seems that the PW works at first for auto login and at the start of working, but later on sometimes it doesn't.
I don't have the time to keep testing when it does and doesn't. And asking Mr H to keep a record of what he's done and when he can and can't get the PW to work just isn't going to happen before we leave the country. I'll keep you posted on this issue later on.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2018 2:46 pm 
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Oh, in that case it's what Anonymous explained. What you booted into was the recovery partition. It lets you do a limited number of things because its not a complete OS X environment. The recovery partition is a second OS partition on your disk, so you can repair Macintosh HD from it (because you're not booted off Macintosh HD, which is in its own separate partition).

There was some issue stopping you from booting into your normal OS so it booted into recovery to help you recover your OS, basically. I recommend being diligent about backups on that system since it's having problems. Could be the HD (or another component) on its way out, could just be some corruption in the OS, best to have backups to ensure you don't lose data.

Sorry, I was thinking it booted into the normal OS after a momentary pause and an incongruous progress bar (resets to a different position in the progress bar in the middle of filling). You work in a school long enough you'll see every behavior under the sun.

There is a very special progress bar that you'll only see during firmware updates. The normal progress bar is fairly thin and normally fills very slowly. The firmware progress bar is very fat, 4 or 8 times thicker, and fills at a fairly good clip but will be there long enough for people to completely freak out and turn their system off because VIRUS!!!11! If you see the fat progress bar don't freak out, let it sit, and it'll fill and go black and chime and startup normally and that's all okay. With the last few vulnerabilities that have come out Apple's been patching firmwares left and right. KRACK and Meltdown and a couple others over the past couple years each required a firmware update to fix.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2018 8:13 pm 
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MonkeyBoy wrote:
Oh, in that case it's what Anonymous explained. What you booted into was the recovery partition....

There was some issue stopping you from booting into your normal OS so it booted into recovery to help you recover your OS, basically. I recommend being diligent about backups on that system since it's having problems. Could be the HD (or another component) on its way out, could just be some corruption in the OS, best to have backups to ensure you don't lose data...


Thanks. Will do - as I always have done - backup, backup, backup!

I don't know if running Disk first Aid did any good. I figured it was a start. If I was in the recovery disk, would disk first aid be able to repair anything or just check things? I know one can't do repairs on start up disk, but I guess we weren't in the start up disk.

I hope it gets us through the next few weeks and maybe when we return we'll have to start thinking about a replacement for Mr Hs' beloved MBP.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2018 10:30 am 
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When you're booted into the recovery partition you can repair Macintosh HD because you're not booted off Macintosh HD.

Does it do any good? Consult your magic eight ball for the answer. Can be good, can be bad, can be no effect, it all depends.

If it helps I crossed my fingers that it lasts, though that kind of magic normally only occurs in person.


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