View Full Version : Mother in Law's Apple will not boot into OSX

6th April 2007, 10:37 AM
Hi all.

Hope you have a safe and happy Easter.

Just posting to see if anyone can help. Have travelled down for 2 days and am staying at the Mother in Laws. Her eMac in the last week apparently cannot boot into OSX.

When I turn it on, the Apple logo comes up, but then the screen goes to this:

/etc/master.psswd: Invalid argument
-sh: /etc/profile: Invalid argument

Now I have no idea about Unix and its derivatives, but was wondering what has gone on and can it be fixed. More importantly, the possibility of data recovery.

Thanks in advance for your replies.

6th April 2007, 10:45 AM
Happy Easter to you too :)

Does she have any thing else you can boot from - eg. CD, possibility the hard disk is screwed/corrupt, or her user profile has become screwed. Either way, boot to CD, reset the master password and go from there.


6th April 2007, 10:47 AM
Thanks Byrd - how do I do that?

I take that I need the orginal boot cd as a start.

6th April 2007, 10:57 AM
Check out what Google returns for master.psswd (http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en-us&q=master.psswd&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8) and see if any of these apply perhaps.

There is an Apple KB article (http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=106908) referenced in one of them that applies to problems subsequent to the machine being booted into OS 9 if some root level aliases get deleted. Older eMacs can boot OS 9, so this could be it if it's one of those.

You will need the original system disk to reset passwords BTW. Good luck. :)

6th April 2007, 12:34 PM
Tried reinstalling OSX but it comes up with an error that it needs to install wasn't done properly. Even a disk error check would not run. So.....

it appears to be HDD related. Any way or getting the data off? Will get a new HDD that is for certain, but are there any programs that might help?

6th April 2007, 12:47 PM
I've never used it but Data Rescue gets recommended here regularly. Unfortunately, trying to reinstall the OS will have overwritten things. Some of them may be things you want. Don't try anything else that might write to the disk because every time you do that you reduce the chance of getting data off it.

Not wishing to sound glib but this could be a good time to suggest your MIL gets an external drive and some backup software. My commiseration nonetheless.

The Fluffy Duck
6th April 2007, 12:53 PM
Not the mother in law. dun dun daaaaaa

6th April 2007, 02:16 PM
It does sound HD (data structure) related, definitely ...

My ideal approaach would be to nip out tomorrow morning to a handy computer shop, buy a new IDE hard drive and an external case of some kind, open the eMac and swap out the old HD for the new one, and put the old HD into the external case. Pop a fresh install of OSX onto the internal, then see how much data can be recovered by copying what you can from the external drive.

My guess is that the OS itself might be quite sick (obviously, as it can't boot) but that her data -- pics, Mail folder, saved work etc -- will be intact and recoverable.


6th April 2007, 03:59 PM
I had a problem with a failing HD last year. Disk Doctor could not repair but it did enable me to copy my user files onto a firewire external HD.

6th April 2007, 04:35 PM
I would try DiscWarrior. I was able to fix a friend's PowerBook that appeared to have a failed hard disc.
You may need to run it several times. Mine worked on the third try...
I also used TechTool Pro on the machine without success.