PLEASE, PLEASE, help me …
I know this is sort of off-topic, however …

My trusty MacBook had it’s brain sucked out last night. And I did it.

I wanted to give my 2006 13” MacBook, with SCRIVENER Installed, to my step-son a 20-something writer.

Thot I’d tidy it up using the Install Disk so he’d have a clean computer.

After hours of frustration, it became clear this wasn’t gonna happen. The computer ended up in a loop telling me the disk - that I’ve never used - has errors / no packages & neither the OS nor the Bundled Software could be installed. The disk wouldn’t stop spinning & I couldn’t even eject it. Now my MacBook is in a coma & on life support.

I found a post @Apple that said the Install Disk can’t be used with this MacBook. WTF? Tho, there was something about using another computer & FireWire … Thanks but no thanks. I will not risk one of my other computers.

I finally figured out how to eject the disk - which was a major accomplishment. IMHO

Of course my Apple Protection Plan expired @ Oct 2009 …

Anybody out there know what to do? [I live near Seattle]

Gratefully & Humbly,

Andrea Dahl

First, don’t panic.

Second, we need more information:

  1. Are you trying to reinstall the OS from scratch?
  2. Do you have the correct install CD for your system?
  3. Are you willing to upgrade to a newer OS (say snow leopard – assuming you have an intel mac)?

And if you just need to get the disc out, turn on your computer with the power button, and as soon as you hear the chime, hold down the mouse button. Do this with the trackpad button, not a USB mouse, for best results. Holding down the mouse button is a way to do an emergency eject in scenarios like this.

Hopefully you just have a bad disc that doesn’t work with the computer, and once you eject it, the computer will go back to booting off of the drive and not the DVD.

Thanks for your suggestion. I’ll remember it in the future.
Last night I did get the disk to eject - just turned off the power button [bad Andrea, bad Andrea?]
Now all I get is the start up screen with a flashing gray folder and a question mark.
Did I do something really bad?

How does it boot off the drive if there’s nothing on the drive?

Jaysen - Thanks for the encouragement.
Ok. No panic.

1 - Trying to reinstall everything from the Install Disks that came with the computer in Oct 2006.

it starts the install and about :15 in, it says it can’t continue because of errors on the disk. Disk Utility says it can’t verify because no packages - whatever that means.
2 - Intel.
3 - Didn’t really want to install snow leopard but I will if I have to.


Sounds to me like either a bad install CD or a bad internal disk. The unable to verify thing would point to the CD. I think the boot issue is due to a partition wipe prior to install failure. Does that sound right to you?


It might be easiest for you to upgrade to SL. That will give you a little more access to the Apple support if the install bombs (you can plead ignorance or the process to install SL). If there is a hardware problem it will still fail and Apple will charge you to fix it. I would wait to see if anyone sees any problems with the statement I made above before I bought SL though.

Hang in there. This will turn out OK.

I’d give it one more shot, attempting to do a full reformat before installing, and then doing a clean install. You can do this by erasing from Disk Utility (don’t bother with verifying the drive, it is clearly beyond that). Just use the default settings and let it do a quick reformat; shouldn’t take more than a minute or two—likely seconds.

If that doesn’t work—if formatting hangs at any point and never recovers, then it is nearly positive you have a bad disk and will need to have that replaced (fortunately they are pretty cheap, and not too difficult to replace on a MacBook if you are brave and have the right screwdriver).

I’d say Jaysen’s probably right about the partition failure or something similar; it would be odd that you’ve just now, since messing around with it, suddenly caused a hardware issue. It’s more likely something got really messed up and you just need to wipe the disk completely and try again. Granted, the error might have been obscured until now. It has, after all, been three years or so. These laptop drives will tend to fail around 3-4 years if they are going to fail early. If they last beyond that then they are good for a while longer, but that’s the last major failure point in my experience.

For right now, don’t worry about force-turning off the machine. That’s really only important when you have a live install and lots of data going on. Once the disk is messed up, the computer doesn’t care at all if you force it to shut down. So don’t feel bad holding the power key down a few seconds if at any point things hang. It might take a few reboots to pull out of this.

Upgrading to Snow Leopard isn’t a bad idea (but I’m not sure it will be a solution right now, and with a MacBook you might even seen a little performance boost out of it (2006 was still Tiger, right?) not to mention some nice features that have come along. Spotlight is a lot more reliable these days.


If Andrea see the “no packages” message would you still see it as a bad HD? That is the part that has me thinking that the install media might be toasted.


Look for a “used mac” shop. Ask them to take a quick look. If it is HW they will be able to fix it (probably on the spot) and it will be pretty cheap. If it is a bad install media they may be able to let you use one of their disks.

Just an idea.

If the hard drive cannot format be formatted in the manner described (starts and then halts and hangs) then I would suspect the HD. If, during the installation media verification process there are package/bundle/et cetera errors, then the install media is scratched or degraded and needs to be replaced (might as well just get Snow Leopard at that point as after-market copies of Tiger or Leopard are going to run about the same).

It’s hard to say what these no package error messages are though, without actually sitting at the computer. At what point in the installation did they occur? Very beginning, very end? Somewhere in the middle? That could make a lot of difference.