What Can Go Wrong With Mac OS X – Lion?

This morning I turned on my trusty MacBook Pro and read some emails (battery very low), then dashed off to walk my youngest son to the bus stop. Returning home I closed the lid and headed into the office.

At the office I opened the lid and hit the power button. Uh oh. My LCD was dim and I could barely make out the windows. No problem I thought, then pushed the Power button to restart my laptop. When the laptop restarted I saw the familiar Apple logo and the swirling icon:

After several minutes and no login prompt I knew that something was wrong. Probably the Hard Drive, so let’s try rebooting with Command+R:

Then I choose Disk Utility and clicked both Verify Permissions and Verify Disk, followed by Repair Permissions and Repair Disk:

Tried to reboot but my laptop was still stuck at the Apple logo, no login.

Well, time to try and restore Lion from the Internet, so another reboot with Command+R then tried Reinstall Mac OS X:

A dialog asks for my AppleID:

I lookup my AppleID in an Excel spreadsheet but it isn’t accepted. I click Forgot Password and wait for an email confirmation, none comes. I try a second AppleID, that also is rejected. Finally, I try a new AppleID which is accepted however it tells me that the new AppleID wasn’t the one used to originally buy Lion.

I phone Apple Care and spend 58 minutes on the phone (very nice tech support guy who helped in spite of the fact I don’t even own AppleCare):

I try several things the tech support guy offers, none of them fix the broken login.

Support: Go to iTunes and add Lion to your cart.
Me: I only have a PC and iTunes won’t let me buy Lion. Can you just charge me the $29.00 and add Lion to my account?
Support: No, we aren’t allowed to do that. Do you have another Mac?
Me: Yes, at home.

Driving back home I login to my iMac, click the App Store, buy a 2nd copy of Lion, pause the download, then drive back to the office.

In the office I reboot with Command+R, choose Disk Utility, Reinstall Mac OS X, AppleID. Finally, it’s accepted and I wait another 95 minutes for the download to complete, the MacBook Pro reboots, I wait another 35 minutes for the install to complete, then I see the login:

All of my data and apps are in tact, the only things I had to re-install were:


I entered my office at 8:00AM and had a working laptop at 2:30PM. That’s 6.5 hours of character building experience for me today.

Lessons learned:

  1. Recharge or plugin my laptop when it’s low.
  2. Use TimeMachine to make a backup.
  3. Never forget my new AppleID password.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Mark Fordice

    Doh. Character building is a great way of looking at it!

  2. John O

    I have been repairing Macs for 20 years and am appalled at the re-install system for Lion.
    What used to be easy is now an ordeal. I entered an Apple ID and password 20 times and was turned down 20 times.
    On the 21st, the install started downloading. Who knows why.

    Truly abysmal.

    What this new system also means is that if you don’t have an internet connection at the moment, you are screwed.
    I always thought the prime rule was don’t break what isn’t broken.
    Apple broke what worked very well.

    Way to go, Apple.

  3. Daniel Payne


    My sentiments exactly. This whole move to the cloud and download-only upgrades has a dark side that costs me time and money as a user.

  4. Daniel

    Deja vu, all over again.

    Today I reached my office and turned my MacBook Pro laptop on and found that it was operating so slow that something must be wrong. I went to Disk Utility and did Verify Disk, it could finish and said to copy files to another disk and re-format the drive. Uh oh.

    I next rebooted with Command+R and tried to re-install Lion, but was not allowed by the drive was Locked. Hmm, no luck.

    Driving back home I fetched my handing backup drive from using Apple’s Time Machine. Sure enough after three plus hours I had a restored laptop and could do useful work again.

    I’m just not buying that Apple laptops are more reliable than Windows laptops, just comparing my experiences the past two years with Apple compared to decades of Windows use. Your mileage may vary.

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