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Starting Login Window…

by Rob Friesel

iBook Design Flaw: The battery pops out a little too easy.

Biggest problem with that? About 20% of the time, if the battery pops out, it throws the system into a state of panic. Symptoms include (1) a very long wait on the “Starting Login Window” phase of the boot cycle, (2) a very long wait for the core system services to load after logging in, and (3) overall very crummy, sluggish performance. I have not found this to be uncommon.

My guess is that this is due to something getting screwed up with OS X’s system caches in some way. What’s more, I think it might be specific to Journaled volumes — but I don’t have enough information on that yet.

Anyway, the step-by-step recipe for getting things back to normal:

  1. Restart the computer (basically moot since the battery will have fallen out and you’re turning it back on).
  2. Get into “Single User” mode via Cmd+S.
  3. On the command line hit /sbin/fsck -y — but be prepared for that to error, in which case you’ll want to do /sbin/fsck -fy
  4. Let fsck do its thing and when you’re back at the # prompt, give it a good ol’ fashioned exit — and pay attention for any particularly cruel and unusual errors (though you should be about half-way fixed by now).
  5. Once you’re back at the OS X login window, login as yourself (assuming you’re an Administrator account). Clear out the following:
    • /Library/Caches/
    • ~/Library/Caches/

    …but remember to leave those directories intact — you just want to clear out their contents.

  6. Give it an Administrator password if/when prompted — clearing those “Caches” directories is crucial.
  7. Empty Trash
  8. Restart
  9. Log back in — you should be in pretty good shape at this point.
  10. (optional) Verify and/or Repair Disk Permissions in Disk Utility. But this shouldn’t be necessary.

currently playing: Mogwai “Yes! I Am A Long Way From Home” > The Pixies “Dig For Fire”

About Rob Friesel

Software engineer by day, science fiction writer by night. Author of The PhantomJS Cookbook and a short story in Please Do Not Remove. View all posts by Rob Friesel →

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