Mac – Black Screen And Cursor At Startup Can’t Login

Apple Glass

Apple Glass

There seems to be a bug with one of the OS X patches which disables the login screen for Mac. While I have over 250 Macs I manage on my network this is the first time I have seen this and many of my Macs are up-to-date with patches so not sure if this will happen again (Let’s hope not)

This happened to be on a Mac Mini (2008) where the computer would just get to a black screen and a cursor and nothing more. I originally found this article which has a fix for it.

1. Shut the computer down by holding the power button for 10 seconds

2. Restart the computer and press shift at the same time until you see the progress bar start moving

3. Once you reach the point where your screen goes dark and you see the cursor, type the first letter of the username for your computer, then hit Enter, then type your password, then hit Enter.

4. After a moment, you should see the spinning beach ball

5. Your screen should then move on to something along the lines of “Completing OSX Installation” (I can’t remember the exact wording). Let it finish. After that it should go to your normal desktop and the issue should be fixed. (If your screen goes pitch black during this process, hit the space bar. I thought it wasn’t working, but the screen was just sleeping).

I thought SWEET! let’s get this fixed…..yeah didn’t work for me unfortunately. The reason is this solution ONLY WORKS for Macs that have the user select their username and then putting in a password. In my network environment I have users type a username and password to login. So my screens look like this. When you are typing the first letter of your username in the instructions below that action selected the account on the screen and so on.

2014-09-19 16.32.28

So I thought well instead Ill type my username and password. So I did

Username > Tab > Password > Enter

Still didn’t work.

I had to end up calling Apple support which they tried to make me buy a one time support request which I got waved by telling them “Should I have to pay for this, when it’s a known issue with one of your patches?” Just say that and they will waive it.

They had me do the same thing I described above as well knowing it was not going to work, but I did it anyways.

Here is what worked for me

The first part of this did not work for me, but the second did.

Try This First

  1. Start the computer and hold Command + S
  2. Wait for the terminal to finish loading, might take a minute
  3. 2014-09-19 16.30.31
  4. Once you get to the terminal screen type the following.
  5. mount -uw /
  6. cd /Library/Prefences/
  7. mv
  8. reboot (Type It)
  9. Shut computer down
  10. Start Holding Shift Key (let go after Apple logo comes up)
  11. If you computer comes back up and to the login screen and it working then you are done, otherwise if you see a black screen and cursor again then keep going.
  12. Shut Computer Down
  13. Start the computer and hold Command + S
  14. mount -uw ?/
  15. rm /var/db/.AppleSetupDone
  16. reboot?(Type It)
  17. At this point it should take you to the select region screen like you did when you first started it.
  18. macsetupwelcom-100006136-large
  20. Start the computer and hold Command + S
  21. mount -uw ?/
  22. touch var/db/.AppleSetupDone

This brought me to my login screen at this point and everything was back up. Hope this helps someone.