Wednesday, March 14, 2007

MacOS X 10.4.9 Update Killed My Mac!

The same problem can occur with update 10.4.10 and 10.4.11 and the same instructions can be used to resolve it. See Update9 below.

Today I tried to install the 10.4.9 update for MacOS X that Apple has just released. Unfortunately something went wrong when installing the update and I got an error message saying that the installation was unsuccessful and the installer was moved to the Trash. After that I was prompted to restart, because of other updates.

So I restarted my MacBook Pro and let it run for some time. When I came back a bit later (at least 10minutes after the restart), I found the computer stuck at the blue screen, that appears just before the login screen comes up.

In hopes that another restart will fix everything I powered off the notebook and started it again. This time it got stuck on the gray screen with the Apple logo and a wheel spinning forever:

I tried the verbose mode:

As well as single user mode:

But both of them were unusable with this an error message appearing on the screen:
Load of /sbin/launchd, errno 88, trying /sbin/mach_init
Load of /sbin/launchd failed, errno 88
Fortunately I managed to fix this and this is the way to do it, just in case more of you get stuck with this issue:
  • Use another computer (or a live CD/DVD OS) to download the Mac OS X 10.4.9 Combo Update from the Apple website: Intel, PPC
  • Put the update on a USB key
  • Boot from Mac OS X Installation Disc (put the disc in, restart and hold c key)
  • When the installer starts, run Disk Utility and repair disk permissions
  • Open a Terminal and copy the update from the USB key to your computer's hard drive
    cp "/Volumes/YOUR_USB_KEY/MacOSXUpdCombo10.4.9Intel.dmg" \
  • Mount the dmg file
    hdiutil attach \
  • Run the update (for less experienced: the command has 4 lines, hit enter at the each line!). A GUI installer will start if the command was entered properly.
"/Volumes/YOUR_HDD/usr/bin/open" \
/Applications/Utilities/ \
"/Volumes/Mac OS X 10.4.9 Combined Update (Intel)/\
  • Restart your computer when prompted
  • Delete the dmg file
Credits go to Mike Brooks who inspired me with his post in a forum discussion.

It seems that I'm not the only one who's having this problem. I wonder what is triggering this and why only certain users are experiencing these difficulties.

UPDATE: It seems that Apple doesn't like any discussion on this topic as two threads (1st, 2nd) on Apple forums discussing these issues were deleted/blocked by forum administrators. Come on Apple, that's lame!

UPDATE2: Some users claim that this issue is caused by messed up disk permissions. It is not a bad idea to repair your disk permissions before (and after) installing an update. I wonder why this procedure is not executed automatically before the system update.

UPDATE3: Many people are having problems with all the backslashes and forwardslashes in the commands, so I got rid of most of them by putting paths into quotes. I hope this will make it easier for people not used to working in the Terminal window.

UPDATE4: Apple has contacted me regarding this issue.

UPDATE 5: A friend of mine pointed me to this blog entry that provides a possible explanation to the software update issues.

UPDATE 6: Some users pointed out that you can fix a broken Mac by starting the computer in the target mode (requires second healthy Mac), running the update and selecting the broken Mac as the installation destination - this bypasses working with the terminal, which some users found difficult.

UPDATE 7: According to experience of some users, PowerPC Macs can't read usb drives formated as FAT. That complicates the recovery process quite a bit :-/

UPDATE 8: I put together a small shell script that runs all the command for you - no more pain for "average" users who don't live on the command line. Download the script, read the instructions in it, run it and provide feedback.

UPDATE 9:This issue happened to at least one user during upgrade to 10.4.10 (see comments for this blog entry). The same instructions resolved the issue - just replace MacOSXUpdCombo10.4.9Intel.dmg with MacOSXUpdCombo10.4.10Intel.dmg.


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Anonymous said...

Thanks sooo much. Had the same issue with 10.4.0 update and your fix worked great. I burned the dmg to a cd and just substituted the volumes. If only I had read your blog updates it would have saved me a couple of hours since I'm not all that used to using Terminal.
Thanks again.

Anonymous said...


I did every step but the last one stay a problem.

It says :

Open[120] No such file : /private/var/root/Applications/Utilities/Installer. app

I tried different way to write it, and the best I have is :

"/Volumes/Mac OS X 10.4.9 Combined Update (Intel)/MacOSXUpdCombo10.4.9Intel.pkg" is a directory

If someone have a clue I would be really grateful.

Igor Minar said...

Download the script and use it or double check what you type against the commands in the script.


Anonymous said...


Thanks for your answer.
I used the script, It doesn't work at the last step. I've also checked the script on the files, typed it and it doesn't change anything.

I see the image mounted but I can't load the installation file...

Do you want a Screenshot or anything else ?

Anonymous said...


I tried :

exec "/Volumes/Mac OS X 10.4.9 Combined Update (Intel)/MacOSXUpdCombo10.4.9Intel.pkg"

"/Volumes/YOUR_HDD/usr/bin/open"/Applications/Utilities/"/Volumes/Mac OS X 10.4.9 Combined Update (Intel)/MacOSXUpdCombo10.4.9Intel.pkg"

I try differents ways, the image is mounted, I Can see the file in it, but I can't execute it, it only tell me "this is a directory".

I have also a windows part on the mbp, Is there any possibility to do something by this way ?

If you need informations tell me thanks for helping me...

Igor Minar said...

Are you updating to 10.4.9 or 10.4.10?

in the second command (the first one is wrong), have you replaced "YOUR_HDD" with the name of your volume? e.g. "Macintosh HD" ?

Anonymous said...

Yep I wrote the name who's actually "Macintosh HD"

And I wanted to write :

"/Volumes/YOUR_HDD/usr/bin/open"/Applications/Utilities/"/Volumes/Mac OS X 10.4.9 Combined Update (Intel)/MacOSXUpdCombo10.4.9Intel.pkg"

Nothing happen even if I write the same code as yours for the app. And I'm updating to 10.4.9

Should I try the 10.4.10 ?

Igor Minar said...

I suggest that you fix the 10.4.9 problem before you try to install 10.4.10.

Try this:

"/Volumes/Macintosh HD/usr/bin/open" /Applications/Utilities/ "/Volumes/Mac OS X 10.4.9 Combined Update (Intel)/MacOSXUpdCombo10.4.9Intel.pkg"

note that there are spaces after open" and

Anonymous said...

Well as you can see on the link I taped exactly what you said and nothing happen...

Do you have any advices ?

Igor Minar said...

ls /Volumes

ls "/Volumes/Macintosh HD"

and let me know what it returns

Anonymous said...

I'll give you the result as soon as I can !

Anonymous said...

This is what worked for me after the 10.4.10 update for PPC hosed my iMac G5:

USB_KEY="Memorex512" # EDIT
MY_HDD="Seagate ST3160827AS" # EDIT


echo "copying the update to your hard drive"
cp "/Volumes/$USB_KEY/MacOSXUpdCombo10.4.10PPC.dmg" "/Volumes/Seagate ST3160827AS/"

echo "attaching the update dmg file"
hdiutil attach "/Volumes/$MY_HDD/MacOSXUpdCombo10.4.10PPC.dmg"

echo "starting the update installer"
"/Volumes/$MY_HDD/usr/bin/open" /Applications/Utilities/ "/Volumes/Mac OS X 10.4.10 Combined Update/MacOSXUpdCombo10.4.10PPC.pkg"

Anonymous said...


This is weird, I taped the same thing and it finally installed the update 10.4.9 and 10.4.10 without any problems, don't know why...

BUT it still doesn't load OSX, after a minute of load I have a black screen saying :

"configd[103]: No AirPort Driver found."

"KerrlnelEventAgent : exited abnormally :bad system call"

and a

"respawning too quickly ! throttling"

Do you know what to do ?

I tried to reinstall osx but it says that they are some problems with the hard drive during the scan. I don't want to erase the disk because I've got a lot of work on it...

If you can help me I would be more than grateful !!!

Anonymous said...

I forgot to say that my mbp is broken up because of this :

I realised it while surfing on the apple website so that's certainly why the computer don't want to load. If you have any idea because I don't know what to do and there's nothing on google.

Thanks for helping me

Igor Minar said...


I never tested my procedure as a fix for
MacBook Pro Software Update 1.0 problems, so I can't help you. But from what you write it sounds like a major problem with your disk / filesystem / data integrity.

You might want to look for some specialized tools that can fix mac file system, but I'm afraid that it will be difficult to avoid full system reinstall.

If the data on the disk are valuable, and you are not confident about fixing the issue, look for a professional help. Otherwise you might loose everything.


Anonymous said...

I have installed diskwarrior on my hard drive, may I launch it from the terminal and solve the problem ?

Thanks for trying helping me.

Igor Minar said...

You can try it. It should be safe to use it, but keep in mind my warnings.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I've just a question...

I wrote :

"/Volumes/Macintosh HD/usr/bin/open" /Applications/DiskWarrior"

I think the code is almost right but I don't know the name for the applications, can you help me about this ? Thanks

Igor Minar said...

ls /Applications

the list of all applications will be displayed.

The name is most likely, but the list above should give you exact name.

Anonymous said...

Hi I have an older iMac graphite ed.
loaded with OSX 4.6 I was charging my mp3 player in the USB hub. My coumputer crashed I went to restart Now I have the gray screen apple logo no pin wheel. Help!

Anonymous said...

Hi Igor,

Thanks for your help, I'm the "anonymous" from the mbp update.
Apparently I can fix my computer with DiskWarrior but the thing is that I need to burn the image on my computer to use it. Don't you know terminal codes to do it ? Thanks for your time. :)

Nicholas said...

Hey there,

Thanks for this solution. It helped me revive my old PowerMac G4/400 AGP and install 10.4.10 combo update successfully. The problem now is that I let Software Update install the newer updates (Java 1.4.2 or something, Quicktime 7.1.6 and Security Update 2007-006 PPC). Those seemed to install fine (no errors like with the 10.4.10 update) but now I'm dead again. Startup screen, the blue bar goes about 1/4 the way, then it flashes to a dark blue screen with the wheel, then it goes to a black screen with "Darwin/BSD" which appears to be the console, and asks for "login:" but neither my user ID nor "root" seem to work...any idea what I can do?

Nicholas said...

Just thought I would add the next chapter. I used the method again and re-installed the 10.4.10 update (over, presumably, a system that was already 10.4.10). I got it to startup this time but no applications would open. They would just bounce once or twice and then nothing. Even system preferences, software update, Safari, iTunes, everything. So it left me w/no choice but to do a clean install of 10.4 then use the method to install the 10.4.10 update. I'm beginning to wonder if this is all worth it...I'm afraid to install any of the newer updates that caused the problem (Java/Quicktime/Security) for fear of causing it again and having to waste another hour fixing it. Perhaps I'll just do the updates one at a time...or maybe download them and install them the same way...seems like a lot of trouble to go to for future updates, though, since for my G4/400 PowerMac this is likely the last OS (not sure if 10.5 will work on this machine)...

Igor Minar said...

Hi Nicholas,

You might want to try launching the disk utility from the installation dvd and running the disk check again. If that doesn't help then your next option is archive install.


Anonymous said...

Hi my imac running os x 10.3.9 screen goes blue after the os x loading screen i can see my mouse and sometimes a spining thing at the bottom of the screen but nothing else is there a way i can fix this.

sorry im new to macs

Igor Minar said...


I don't know. Did the problem occur after update to 10.3.9?

I think the safest bet for you, if everything else fails, is to do "archive install".

600 University Blvd, Suite 200 said...

Hi, I have a MacBook Pro running 10.4.10 and this morning I tried to boot it and the system stays on the gray screen with the Apple logo and the spinning wheel where it stays indefinitely. I recently updated my computer with the latest QuickTime 7.2 and the Audio Update.

I experienced the same issue after upgrading to 10.4.9 and was able to fix it using Igor's recommendations (please see my previous posts).

Please help! Thank you!


Anonymous said...

hi im the one with 10.3.9 I got given the imac a few days ago and it was working fine until now. I think the person who owned it before did an update

Anonymous said...

hi it's the one with 10.3.9 again it happened to me after i updated quiktime

drShop said...

WooW =)

stefan, sysadmin said...

hi igor,

thx a lot for your solution.
not only that i learned once more again that osx is a lot easier to handle when you open the engine bonnet a bit :-) but too it put back the smile on my kolleagues face (from typesetting departement)
like a lot of other posters i was only seconds away from reinstall.


Partition Recovery said...

I solved my problem by using the above informaition.

Thank you
Damon Thomas

Hugues De Keyzer said...


I just ran a regular software update on my MacBook yesterday evening and it installed the following updates:

QuickTime (7.2)
Front Row Update (1.3.1)
AirPort Base Station Update 2007-002 (5.2.1)
AirPort Extreme Update 2007-004 (1.0)
iTunes (7.4.2)
Security Update 2007-007 (Intel) (1.0)

I continued to use my computer while the update was going on. When it finished, it asked to reboot. OK, gray screen with spinning wheel, blue screen "Starting Mac OS X" (but the progress indicator was going very slowly), then just the blue screen with the mouse cursor in the upper left corner and nothing else. After some time (around 30 seconds), the cursor disappeared and a spinning wheel briefly appeared (0.5 seconds), then the mouse cursor again, then the spinning wheel briefly appeared, and so on, indefinitely.

At the same time, the hard disk was making a repeated strange noise, which made me think about a read failure. I thought my hard drive died.

This morning, I booted in single user mode, ran fsck, then booted on the install DVD and ran Disk Utility. None found any error. Finally I found this page and its link to this other page explaining the prebinding problem. I understood that something went wrong while the installer was "Optimizing System Performance". I first reinstalled all the updates mentioned above but it didn't solve my problem. Then I installed the Mac OS X 10.4.10 Combo Update v1.1 (Intel) and now everything works fine again (except that any app that I haven't launched since doesn't appear in the Spotlight results; strange…). So it can happen with any update!

Thanks a lot.

Outlook Recovery said...

This blog contains all the information which is mandatory when somebody is updating the software and faces the problem.

Thank you
Damon Thomas

Hugues De Keyzer said...

Update of previous post: Finally it was a hard drive failure :(, so maybe it is not related to the update and the prebinding issue.

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for the detailed howto. I had the same problem with 10.4.11 today and could fix it.


pantsfam said...

Thank you so much for saving me today. I am a teacher in a computer lab and one of my Intel iMacs didn't complete the 10.4.11 update. Downloading the update on a the healthy machine next to the broken one then firewire-ing them together with broken in target mode and installing the update worked perfectly. Woo hoo, hooray for Igor!

Maarten said...

This is the second time my Macbook has problems during an update of MacOSX. Today, the update tot 10.4.11 failed, but with the instructions posted by Igor it has been solved for the second time... many thanks.

Anonymous said...

Igor, I would just like to thank you for your life-saving guide!! I was prompted to update with OS X 10.4.11 this evening, and got the boot-up problems straight away. This is the first time I've had any issues with my Macbook which is a year old now, so I was pretty worried!!

Your guide worked first time! I can't thank you enough, you are a true legend!
Will, UK

Harminder said...


I've been having a similar problem except with the 10.4.11 update. Will boot till the grey apple and then won't budge. This is my first time using terminal and I have to say I'm struggling a bit. My question is this...when I enter, for example, the cp command line, IF I have made a mistake ie. directory, syntax etc I get a notice right away...but when I have it right I get acknowledgement goes from

bash-2.05b# cp "/blah blah blah
That's it...i just get that half arrow...and I don't know if the file copied over from my USB or not. I would appreciate any help/advice you can offer. Thanks


Igor Minar said...


you didn't close the double quote, that's why the shell doesn't execute the command - it's waiting for you to close the quote.

Check out the script I created and mentioned in the entry. You'll be able to see the syntax there.

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much. It works. I had the same problem with latest update 10.4.11 As we can see the problem still exists.
Once again
Thank you
Greetings from Poland

Harminder said...


IT WORKED! I OWE YOU HUGE! Thanks! My Mac is back!

Julie said...

Hi Igor, I have downloaded the shell script you have provided. But it can't get it work. I have copied it to an usb key. But I don't understand what you mean with edit Usb key values. Please help me!


Anonymous said...

I got the same problem with 10.4.11 update.
Using your manual I returned my MacBook back to life :)

Thanks for help

Anonymous said...

Thanks Igor. I got the same problem with the 10.4.11 update. These instructions were great and got my laptop back up and running in no time! Thanks again.


Ronny said...

Awesome, awesome blog, Igor. My scenario was exactly like the one you describe, just like it -except for it happened trying to update from 10.4.10 to 10.4.11. (One starts wondering why Apple still has no useful information on their pages on what seems to be a pretty frequent f**k-up.)

I haven't gotten it to work quite yet though. I start with the my MacOS X boot CD and hit C during start; then I open the terminal, attach my Lacie firewire drive to it that has the update-files (should work just like a USB stick it would seem?), and make sure it has mounted. Then I type " cp /Volumes/MacosExt/MacOSXUpdCombo10.4.11Intel.pkg /Volumes/Machintosh\ HD/ " and it get an error-like message as output:

cp: /Volumes/MacOSExt/MacOSXUpdCombo10.4.11Intel.pkg is a directory (not copied).

Anyone any ideas?

(Oh, MacosExt is simply the name of my external harddrive; I renamed it from " MacOSX External (Journaled) ", because I couldn't figure out how to get the Terminal to read parentheses..)

It seems that the only thing I'm doing differently is I'm using a firewire (not usb) portable memory device. I have one of these dual external Lacie harddrives ("rugged")-thus should I try the USB method? (I can't see why that would make a difference..)

Or would I even have to use a plain USB stick as opposed to a USB external hard drive?

The third possibility I can think of is that I have to use a disk-mountable file (.dmg) and that the problem lies with trying to follow your steps with a .pkg extension; however, the update already downloads as .pkg to my brother's iMac. Plus, .pkg extensions is what you get when you mount the .dmg file with the update presumably anyway, so I can't see how that could matter either.

Thanks so much! (And happy holidays!)


Igor Minar said...


You need to replace the name of the usb key drive with the place holder.

If you can't follow the instructions, I suggest that you get someone with more experience to do the procedure for you. Or you can call Apple Care and see what happens, but I'm not very optimistic about their capabilities to resolve this issue because they don't acknowledge the problem in the first place.


Igor Minar said...


You are supposed to copy the .dmg file, not the .pkg folder.

Regarding firewire vs usb, in this case there is no difference between the two. You should be able to use either.


Woodward said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Woodward said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Woodward said...

Ok i fixed the first command line for the combo update and now it says /Volumes/Macintosh_HD does not exist

Erick said...

Igor! Your solution and generosity with your time/efforts has been the salvation of many a Mac user I see:) Hopefully you can help me out too.

I seem to be having the trouble that Kate had. Aside from the occaisional HDD does not exist issue, when I do get past that I just can't get the ".pkg" to open.

FYI, I'm new with terminal so the answer could be simple. I would like to use your scrip writer but don't know how to edit it without a working Mac.

I think the update that got botched was MacOSXUpdCombo10.4.11Intel.dmg (Don't know how to verify). Lastly, (noob question): Does is matter if I'm in Bash or sh?

Many thanks,

Erick said...

Ok, so following my previous post from a few minutes ago... I did the Is /Volumes/ and this is what I got:

Mac OS X 10.4.11 Combined Update (Intel) Macintosh HD

Mac OS X Install Disk 1 USB20FD

So I assume this verifies that the update in question for me is confirmed as the one stated. Right?

Erick said...

Nevermind Igor! An earlier post solved my last hang up! It was the space between (Intel) and /

Thank you!!!!


Ronny said...

Igor, I can't believe I forgot to thank you. Your suggestion helped. I was able to download to the DMG. What I did is download not to a brand-new iMac with OS X 10.5 this time, but to an old Windows XP-running machine. That way the .dmg file wasn't automatically unpacked into a .pkg file. From there I just had to follow your steps. And was able to reinstall the update through terminal.

Apple should hire you, and give you the then jobs of the people who should have dealt with this from their side, and pay you those 10 peoples salary (and that's from a very social democrat). They are becoming too big. The revolution devours its own children as usual.

So again thanks.


Mimi said...

Igor, i'm very upset right now. my 2006 MBP got killed this morning when i updated my software to 10.4.11 (intel).

-it froze my computer and now its suck on the grey apple screen.

Can you please explain how I'm supposed to follow your Update 6?

That seems like the easiest thing for me to do since i have a MB with a successfully updated 10.4.11
-I just downloaded 10.4.11 on my healthy MB and on my desktop its now showing up as two entities .pkg & .dmg. When I select .dmg it takes me to the .pkg window. I'm wondering if all the steps i've taken thus far are correct ones.

thanks in advance Igor, I shall anxiously await your reply as i pray that i can get my computer back to life...

Mimi said...

never mind :) things went smoothly last night. Thanks again for being amazing and posting this blog...seriously you're the best

maclin said...

Thank you Igor you're a life saver!! I ran your script from my USB key and it worked like a charm. My mac is alive and I think well again and running on 10.4.11.

Talia said...

Hello Igor,

I followed all your instructions using the terminal and the update finally installed. But when it restarted I immediately got the "You need to restart your computer message" and I see messages saying "Unable to find drive for this platform: "ACPI'
Debugger called: panic
etc. etc.
I'm new at all of this and I"m totally panicking!
It's an Intel based Macbook, barely 6 months old. What do I do now?

Igor Minar said...

Hi Talia,

I'm afraid that I can't help you with your problem. I suggest you visit the nearest Apple Store and ask them to fix your notebook.

Just a note: my instructions above are not any kind of hack that could void your warranty. So you don't need to be worried about that.


Talia said...

Hi Igor!

Didn't have to go to any store. I kept looking in google and I just reinstalled the OS without erasing the volumes. Worked like a charm. Macbook up and running as if nothing ever happened. I'll just have to beware of updates for now. Thanks for your help.


Steve said...

I had the exact problem as you decribed, and your advice worked perfectly (after much trial and error with typos) thankyou!!

Anonymous said...

It think this post could help me out of quite a jam but I am the same boat as Leibowitz -- "Terminal-bash-80x24 that says -bash-2.05b#" This shell doesn't seem to respond the way I have experienced in my previous noob experiments with Terminal.
Has anyone else encountered this situation and found the answer?
Your help is gratefully appreciated.
(And Igor, thank you for hosting and responding to so many of our similar problems!)

Anonymous said...

Er, nevermind. The noob got it. I simply punched in "sh" to get out of "bash". Not sure if that did though.

Other dumb mistakes I made in my particular situation...
- Changing the \'s to actual spaces.
- Even though I had firewired the .pkg to my dead eMac, I mounted the .dmg again in Terminal manually as per Igor's original instructions. Don't think it was smart to try a shortcut.
- Once I did, I note that the mounted image was "Mac OS X 10.4.11 Combined Update". A tried few times to make installer open "Mac OS X 10.4.11 Combined Update (PPC)" which is not what the image was called, though the file itself was "...10.4.11PPC.pkg"
- I also tried to skip some steps with some [-a < Installer >] instructions with no luck. Again, should have just stuck to Igor's recipe.

Anyway, as I type, my screensaver has popped up, making it past the blue status bar of death. My wife's computer is safe. My marriage is saved.

Of course, this 10.4.11 update still didn't solve my original reason for the update -- trying to fix the infamous "Snap, Crackle, Pop" disappearing audio. But that's a problem for other blog posts somewhere.

Thanks again to Igor and everybody else. The combined knowledge on this page helped the noob immensely.


Igor Minar said...


I'm glad that your marriage is saved :-)


Anonymous said...

Just thought I'd add my thanks... this post, along with some others, appears to have helped me solve my issue. I was fooling around with some stuff to try to get a permanent fix to the disk-images-won't-mount problem that randomly started last week on my PPC, and messed it up to the point where it wouldn't boot. Fortunately, I have Jaguar on a small partition, and was able to download the combo update 10.4.11, open it and copy to the Tiger partition, use the restore DVD to run terminal and open it from there. I'll report back if I have any other related issues...

Ronnie said...

Your blog info helped me fix my issue. I have a bootable firewire, so all I did was run fix permissions then install the combo update. After I restarted the machines, I ran software update to get them up to 10.4.11.

Thanks for your helpful article, you rock!

seyma said...

hello Igor,

I need huge help, I lost my installation cds and I update my mac os x two days ago, how can i make my computer work. It just stuck on blue, "starting mac os x" screen. I cant use my computer at all, I have let it run and whole night, nothing is working, what should i do? Plz.I need help :(

Anonymous said...

thanks for your help igor!

i installed the combo update successfully, restarted my mac and got the following error on the start-screen:
"you need to restart your computer. hold down the power button etc..."

i did not delete the dmg file yet, cause i have no idea how to do this.

do you know what to do now?

Anonymous said...

thanks for your help igor!

i installed the combo update successfully, restarted my mac and got the following error on the start-screen:
"you need to restart your computer. hold down the power button etc..."

i did not delete the dmg file yet, cause i have no idea how to do this.

do you know what to do now?

Anonymous said...

Hi Igor,
I'm a video editor, currently working on a project with VALUABLE data on my PowerPC G4. I have os x 10.4.6. To install my new iLife '08, I attempted to upgrade with the 10.4.9. I went through the process of installation all the way up to the restarting. My computer gets to the blue screen with the loading bar as if it is gonna start. I've left it all day, hopeing that the loading bar would move. But nothing happens. I'm trying not to freak out. I can't lose my project.
I'm not literate with the technical coding and all. And I tried the link to the script for dummies, but it doesn't work anymore. Could you help me?

Adam said...

Hi Igor, I am trying to fix my sisters macbook that ran into this problem. I have worked with Ubuntu etc. so the terminal work looked like it ran smoothly, however when i reached the finish of the installation and it restarted it ran into a grey screen that tells me to restart the computer. When i restart the computer it goes right back to the same "please restart the computer". PLEASE HELP or my sister will kill me!

Igor Minar said...

Sorry guys, but everything mentioned in this blog posts and following discussion is all that I'm able to provide you with without seeing the actual problem.

I suggest that you try your luck with a Mac "Genius" or do an archive install.


Adam said...

Okay so i realized what i did wrong, i installed the wrong patch LOL. But when i finish the last command line to start up the installer... it opens the installer but then i get spinning curser of death... should i just archive?

Igor Minar said...


It sounds like your OS is already fubared. I'd just archive re-install it.


Anonymous said...

hi. had the same problem. your guide solved it. perfect. i reinstalled the SecUpdate 10.4.11 (2008-005). thank you so much. best wishes from germany - merlin

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for this tutorial on solving the problem!!

Anonymous said...


Thanks so much for this, it really helped.

In the end my problem was resolved with this taken from another blog but I was able to use your information in terminal to reinstall the security update;

"I just got stuck with the same or a similar problem. After installing the latest Security Update 2008-002 v1.1 (Leopard) via Software Update I would not get past the blue screen after restarting. Just to be sure, I let the machine keep trying for over a half hour. I could hear the hard drive working, but it appeared to be stuck in some sort of loop. The reason for this is that the blue screen was "blinking" every half minute or so. The way it normally blink just before the login window appears or (if auto login is on) it gets me to the desktop. It would do that over and over.

I tried the previous things suggested in this thread to no avail and was even on the phone with and Apple rep who claimed no known issues with the latest security update. She recommended an archive and install. Something I definitely wanted to avoid. (I have tons of audio software installed that would require reauthorizations etc).

In the end I just had a hunch and rebooted from an external drive, downloaded the security update manually from apple's support site,
ran it (while booted from the external drive) but applied it to my internal drive. Problem solved. Everything works fine now.

I guess something must have gone wrong during the update itself, possibly the bug mentioned in an article linked to earlier in this thread, but applying the update again fixed it. Hope that helps."

pfelelep said...

first of all, thank you very much for this post. I was really becoming desesperate by messing up my wife's computer.

Before she think about divorce, I'm going to try the re-install the update as I guess this is exactly the problem I encounter now by installing the lastest security update on Tiger.

But, as I'm not sure to get the install DVD, I will try the "target mode" option with another mac.

So, if I'm not wrong, the correct line of command should be this:

Before I get lost, I would like to review the modified script:
As "YOURHDD" is the working MC HD and "WWY" is my wife's HD:

echo "copying the update to your hard drive"
cp "/Volumes/$USB_KEY/SecUpd2008-008PPC.dmg" "/Volumes/$YOUR_HDD/"

echo "attaching the update dmg file"
hdiutil attach "/Volumes/$MY_HDD/SecUpd2008-008PPC.dmg"

echo "starting the update installer"
"/Volumes/Macintosh\MY_HDD/usr/sbin/installer -pkg /YOUR_HDD\SecUpd2008-008PPC.pkg -target /Volumes/Macintosh\WWY"

am I planning right?

thanks for your all your help.


Anonymous said...

How to recover from a failed Software Update to OS X 10.5.6

The computer stuck at the blue screen, that appears just before the login screen comes up.

The computer stuck on the gray screen with the Apple logo and a wheel spinning forever.

Download the Mac OS X 10.5.6 Combo Update from the Apple website:

Put the update on a USB key

Boot from Mac OS X Installation Disc (put the disc in, restart and hold c key)

When the installer starts, run Disk Utility and repair disk permissions on the Hard Disk

Open a Terminal and copy the update from the USB key to your computer's hard drive (ENTER after each line of commands below)
cp "/Volumes/YOUR_USB_KEY/MacOSXUpdCombo10.5.6.dmg" \

Mount the dmg file
hdiutil attach \

Run the update. A GUI installer will start if the command was entered properly.
"/Volumes/YOUR_HDD/usr/bin/open" \
/System/Library/CoreServices/ \
"/Volumes/Mac OS X Update Combined/\

Restart computer when prompted

Delete the dmg file

pfelelep said...

I made it!

...a lot of troubles with typos, as I couldn't figure out why I could not type properly the name of the HD (I finally copy and paste it to the terminal command line), but finally...

It worked.

Igor, thank you so much, you really made my day.



RobS said...

Hi Igor,

Thanks for taking the time to publish a solution. I'm a Windows guy with almost 0 Mac experience. My girlfriend's ibook G4 blew up inexplicably last week. Your post helped me get everything working again.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the site. Ultimately what worked for me to repair this on a 10.4.11 Tiger machine was downloading the stand alone security update included with my initial update attempt onto another Mac. I did the firewire connection to the troubled Tiger machine, repaired permissions, and selected it as the target for the update. I did permissions again and rebooted with success.

Jonathon said...

Hi Igor, thank you for this info.
I have a similar problem after updating. (hangs on blue screen etc.)
and I am trying to do this for a macbook (intel) running 10.4.11, but am having a little trouble with the command line syntax. I have managed to mount the file and copy it to the hard drive. But where you used:
/Volumes/Mac\ OS\ X\ 10.4.9\ Combined\ Update\ \(Intel\)\/

I need to have the right syntax for the SecUpd2009-001.dmg
Would anyone be able to help me with this.

the only other problem i had was that the command to run the installer app has (according to the instructions) 4 lines, but it appears that lines 3 and 4 have been quoted together, so i assume that is just one line? eg:

"/Volumes/YOUR_HDD/usr/bin/open" \
/Applications/Utilities/ \
"/Volumes/Mac OS X 10.4.9 Combined Update (Intel)/\

Thank you in advance. I am a novice with this stuff but am learning heaps in the process. Cheers, jonathon

Igor Minar said...

Have you tried:

hdiutil attach \

Where YOUR_HDD is most likely: Macintosh HD

wrt 3 vs 4 lines.. in fact it's all just one line but the extra \ at the end of each line means that the command continues on the next line, so even though the quotes are there, the \ symbol splits the quoted string into two lines so that it is easy to read.

Jonathon said...

Thanks Igor.
I have absolutely no problem attaching (mounting) the .dmg. And I can copy it to the hard drive using terminal from the install disk no problem. (new tricks i am proud of :) It is the actual command to run the installer i am having problems with.
The update used in your example is:
and when running the app it turns into
"/Volumes/Mac OS X 10.4.9 Combined Update (Intel)/\

I guess the SecUpd2009-001intel.dmg also has a unique descriptor but i don't know where i would go to find that.

Cheers, jonathon.

Jonathon said...

Hi again Igor, I worked out the proper way to describe the update for the command line. Auto complete does it for you once you have attached it, Doh. I am fairly confident i have the command ok now, however i am getting an error:
no such file /Applications/Utilities/
which is very frustrating as i can see the in the utilities folder. Any clue on this one.
Cheers, jonathon.

Igor Minar said...

Hi Jonathon,

you can find the correct name by listing the Volumes directory: ls /Volumes/

wrt the second error - make sure you use and not


Jonathon said...

Thanks Igor, I would dearly love to solve it with this method, but i suspect my macbook has other issues caused by this failure to update. I am getting "segmentation fault" error whenever I try to run disk utility commands or "hdiutil attach" from single user mode and I suspect this is hampering the fix you provided. My own disc is scratched and unusable and I have borrowed a leopard disk to access the disk utility from that and the terminal. I think i will try and get hold of a 10.4.10 disc and hit it with a repair/reinstall. Thank you very much for your help, not a wasted exercise as I am a whole lot wiser now in what happens under the hood in my mac. Cheers, jonathon :)

Anonymous said...

Hi! Thanks for this guide, it's great. I do, however, have a problem.

There doesn't seem to be a in my Utilities folder. I'm sure I haven't deleted it, but it doesn't seem to find it anyway.

Any ideas? I'm running Leopard.


Igor Minar said...

@Jonathon I recommend using 10.4.x in your case.

@Anonymous no idea why that app is missing.

Beth said...

Hi there,

I recently attempted to install an OS X 10.4.11 update on my iMac and when it asked me to reboot I did so, only to see the folder/question mark combo when the computer was rebooting. From my experience that usually means hard drive failure. Could this software update "bug" actually have caused the hard drive to fail? Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Anonymous said...

I just tried this .

Booted up the g4 ibook in target disk mode , downloaded the 10.4.9 combo update to my powerbook , fire-wired the two together , then down loaded the update then installed the update making the ibook the destination .

Shut the ibook down the booted it up again and it is running like a charm.

Thank-you very much Igor

Scot said...

Ok so I am a less than average user experiencing this problem on my father's older imac g4 10.4.1something. Since the imac isn't functioning I can only access this blog and your fix from a windows pc. I tried to download your shell via the windows pc, but I can't open it to read the instructions. How can I use your ingenious fix? Thank you.

Igor Minar said...

Open it in the windows notepad.

Igor Minar said...

You'll still need to boot your Mac from a DVD. Maybe the best option for you is to take it into a mac shop, otherwise you might be spending hours and hours figuring out how to fix it.

good luck

Anonymous said...

If I use this solution, will all my data then get lost? I don't have any backup and I really needs my computers hard disk to work .... Please help

Igor Minar said...

The data will be preserved. But if you are not sure what you are doing and you really value your data, you better look for some professional help.

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