There isn’t much scarier than seeing your $1K+ Apple computer cease to function. Fortunately, you paid for quality hardware / software and restoring functionality is pretty straight-forward.

Indications that your mac isn’t (or won’t) boot include: a blinking folder icon with a question mark; an infinitely spinning wheel on the apple boot screen; or a frozen spinning wheel on the apple boot screen.

If you have any of these symptoms, the first thing that we are going to do is power off the mac completely. To do this, hold down the power button on the bottom left back of your iMac or the top right of your Macbook. Once it is fully off, turn it back on and hold CMD+R. This will boot you to recovery mode.

From here, you have access to OSX’s core system utilities. Of the options available, select Disk Utility.

In Disk Utility, on the upper right hand side you should see something labeled Macintosh HD. It might have another name depending on whether you or someone else has tinkered with your hard drive.

Click on that tab and then on the bottom right: click Verify Disk. Let that run its course and hopefully everything will come up green. If it doesn’t and gives you an error along the lines of “Backup your data and Reinstall OSX” you better do just that. It might give an error that says that the disk must be repaired. In that case, click the Repair Disk option and let it run. Once it finishes (hopefully successfully), click it again and make sure it comes up green.

Then, to the left, click Verify Permissions. I have never not seen it come up with errors. Once its done, click repair Permissions and let it run.

Now its time to try a reboot. Click the Apple symbol on the top left and click reboot. If it boots to OSX: YAY! If not, we aren’t going to give up that easily.

If that didn’t fix your problem and your verify disk came up green, you may have to reinstall OSX. Fortunately, because of the way that OSX is designed, it shouldnt wipe out any of your data. It will just reinstall system files. BACK UP YOUR DATA ANYWAY!

Get back into recovery mode and click Reinstall OSX. Depending on the OSX version you have, it may ask for iCloud / Apple ID credentials. Go ahead and enter those and continue on your merry way.

If that fails or it won’t let you reinstall, there is another option. Shut down your Mac and start it back up holding the ‘n’ key. Make sure you are connected to the internet! This will download a temporary recovery mode to your computer in the event that your recovery area is corrupted. Try the reinstallation from there.

If THAT doesn’t work, you are probably going to need someone’s disk, or if you are particularly crafty, you could make your own OSX boot media if you have access to another mac.

It’s rare that you would eventually need physical media but it is possible.

 

I hope that this helps some people get their mac’s back up and running again! Feel free to comment or contact us if you have any questions!

Introspection: What type of computer user are you? Are you a creator or are you a consumer? Creators of content are going to require very different hardware than a consumer of content.

If you are a consumer of content  you aren’t going to need the fastest or most powerful laptop. Your needs are going to be fulfilled by a high-quality screen and easy usability.

Consumers:

If you are in this category, you might be best suited for a tablet/laptop hybrid. Most manufacturers have at least one 2-in-1 option available and reputable manufacturers like Dell, HP, ASUS or Lenovo are the best places to look for purchasing such a device.

Amazon and other online retailers are excellent sources for user reviews of products. Research each option thoroughly to find which one is most highly rated by users.

Specifications to look out for include: high-resolution screen (1080p or better), hybrid design (detachable keyboard for example), touch based interface, Solid-State-Drive (SSD).

*NOTE: Most laptops/netbooks/2-in-1 devices do not have an optical drive anymore. If you plan on watching DVDs or installing software from a disk, make sure to purchase a laptop with an optical drive or plan on purchasing an external optical drive.

Creators:

‘Creator’ is a broad category with a variety of different types of needs but as a baseline: people in this category should look at ultrabooks and laptops. As of February 2015, you should look for machines that have a minimum of 8GB of RAM (16 is better), a SSD, and at least a 2.4 Ghz i5 CPU with an i7 being a better long term investment.

Depending on the content you intend to create, you might have more specific needs. Graphics intensive work will necessitate a dedicated Graphics Card (GPU) with at least 2GB of VRAM. Graphics work also tends to require more disk space, which would mean a larger SSD. Alternatively, you could get an external drive*.

Peripherals:

Useful additions to any laptop include:

Mini-Display Port, Thunderbolt Port, HDMI Port, USB 3.0 Support, SD Card reader.

 

Decision time:

An Average Consumer laptop should look something like this:

  • Intel i3 2.0Ghz CPU
  • 128 GB SSD
  • 8GB 1600 Mhz DDR3 SDRAM
  • 13-15.6″ 1080P Screen

An Average Creator laptop should look something like this:

  • Intel i5 2.6Ghz CPU
  • Nvidia 730M w/ 2GBs VRAM
  • Intel 256 GB SSD
  • 8GB 1600Mhz DDR3 SDRAM
  • 15.6″ 1080p Screen

A Powerful Creator laptop should look something like this:

  • Intel i7 3.4Ghz CPU
  • Nvidia 760M w/ 2Gbs VRAM
  • Intel 512GB SSD
  • 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3 SDRAM
  • 17.1″ 1080P Screen.

 

Of course it goes without saying that netEffx technicians would be happy to answer any of your questions (no question is a bad question) and are ready and able to build your specific computer.

 

*If you purchase a laptop with a small SSD and have a Thunderbolt or USB 3.0 port, you can effectively use an external drive to increase your computer’s storage capacity.