A noob needs help

Jul 3, 2018
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I have a MacBook Pro from a few years back. It's been a great computer and I've never had any issues until today. I booted up and an OS update started running on the grey screen. As usual, the status bar began filling up and when it filled up the entire way it stayed on that screen. The main page would not load. I went online and tried a half dozen different fixes, none that worked.

I finally saw a post to run Disk Utility which I did and saw that my Macintosh HD drive was 99.9% full. I say this as a complete novice with computers (and please correct me if I'm wrong) but I have to figure that's the reason why the OS update not fully loading.

My problem is I don't know how to get around the situation so I can get to the hard drive and start deleting old files. Is there a way? I don't see any good options in Disk Utility other than deleting the entire drive. There's about a half dozen training videos for my job on that hard drive and I think if I could get to them and delete them I'd easily have enough space for the update. I just don't know how to get around the OS update running. It automatically happens when I boot up. I tried safe mode and had no success that way either.

Cory Cooper

May 19, 2004
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Hello and welcome.

If the hard drive is 99% full, that is the cause of it not completing startup and finishing the update. The only real way to resolve that situation, is to use an external drive with OS X/macOS installed on it to startup from, and manually delete some files from the Macintosh HD. You may then be able to reinstall the OS over the top of the existing installation.

-Which model Mac?
-Which version of OS X/macOS?
-Do you have an bootable external drive?
-IMPORTANT - do you have a current Time Machine or other backup of your data?


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