Check the Hardware

Target Disk Mode is a great way to retrieve your files from your Mac if your machine refuses to boot properly.

How to Modify an OS X install disc to work on other computers.

Follow our guide on Target Disk Mode for more information on how it works. OS X includes a boot option called Safe Mode.

Mini-Tutorial: Inability to boot from Mac OS X CD/DVDs; solving

Start up your machine while holding down the Shift key to have OS X only load required kernel extensions and login items. It will disable all non system fonts, all startup items, and login items. If you are having OS X boot problems, always try this first to check and see if you have a rogue piece of software preventing your Mac from booting properly. Check out this article for more information about booting into Safe Mode.

Using this key combination will cause your Mac to become very verbose on startup and will show a terminal-like interface while booting. It will contain information important to startup, allowing you to diagnose startup problems by seeing any errors that may be occurring during startup. Verbose mode exits automatically when the computer's startup process progresses sufficiently and the blue screen appears. This is a terminal interface that allows you to login and interact with your computer via text input only.

No graphical interface will be loaded. This mode is good for when you need to troubleshoot a startup issue, or modify a file or application that is preventing proper startup. In this mode, you can use Safari to browse the web for any possible boot problem solutions, perform a system restore, or format the drive using Disk Utility.

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For more information about using Lion's Recovery Mode features, check out this previous article. Cory Bohon is a freelance technology writer, indie Mac and iOS developer, and amateur photographer.

There are times when your Mac may misbehave and refuse to boot into OS X.

Follow this article's author, Cory Bohon on Twitter. Back to School You can also attach FireWire or USB external hard drives that contain an operating system to add to the list of startup volumes.

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source Ninja Stik. How to choose a startup disk on your Mac to boot from USB You set your Mac or Macbook which disk to start up from when more than one startup disk is connected. Set the default startup disk You can change the startup disk your Mac automatically uses from System Preferences.

From the Apple menu choose System Preferences.

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Select your startup disk from the list of available volumes. Temporarily change your startup disk with Startup Manager Startup Manager allows you to pick a volume to start from while the computer is starting up. Immediately press and hold the Option key.

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