MacBook - Problems That Prevent You from Using Your MacBook

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Problems That Prevent You from Using Your MacBook

If your MacBook doesn’t respond or the pointer doesn’t move

On rare occasions, an application might “freeze” on the screen. Mac OS X provides a

way to quit a frozen application without restarting your computer.

To force an application to quit:


Press Command (x)-Option-Esc or choose Apple () > Force Quit from the menu bar.

The Force Quit Applications dialog appears with the application selected.

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Chapter 4

Problem, Meet Solution



Click Force Quit.

The application quits, leaving all other applications open.

If you need to, you can also restart the Finder from this dialog.

Next, save your work in any open applications and restart the computer to make sure

the problem is entirely cleared up.

If the problem occurs frequently, choose Help > Mac Help from the menu bar at the

top of the screen. Search for the word “freeze” to get help for instances when the

computer freezes or doesn’t respond.

If the problem occurs only when you use a particular application, check with the

application’s manufacturer to see if it’s compatible with your computer. To get support

and contact information for the software that came with your MacBook, go to

If you know an application is compatible, you might need to reinstall your computer’s

system software. See “Reinstalling the Software That Came with Your MacBook” on

page 61.

If your MacBook freezes during startup, or you see a flashing question mark, or the

screen is dark and the sleep indicator light is glowing steadily (not in sleep)

The flashing question mark usually means that the computer can’t find the system

software on the hard disk or any disks attached to the computer.

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Chapter 4

Problem, Meet Solution

 Wait a few seconds. If the computer doesn’t soon start up, shut it down by holding

down the power (®) button for about 8 to 10 seconds. Disconnect all external

peripherals and try restarting by pressing the power (®) button while holding down

the Option key. When your computer starts up, click the hard disk icon, and then click

the right arrow. After the computer starts up, open System Preferences and click

Startup Disk. Select a local Mac OS X System folder.

 If that doesn’t work, try using Disk Utility to repair the disk:

 Insert the Mac OS X Install DVD into your computer.

 Restart your computer and hold down the C key as it starts up.

 Choose Installer from the menu bar, and then choose Open Disk Utility. When Disk

Utility opens, follow the instructions in the First Aid pane to see if Disk Utility can

repair the disk.

If using Disk Utility doesn’t help, you might need to reinstall your computer’s system

software. See “Reinstalling the Software That Came with Your MacBook” on page 61.

If your MacBook doesn’t turn on or start up

Try the following suggestions in order until your computer turns on:

 Make sure the power adapter is plugged into the computer and into a functioning

power outlet. Be sure to use the 60W MagSafe Power Adapter that came with your

MacBook. If the power adapter stops charging and you don’t see the indicator light

on the power adapter turn on when you plug in the power cord, try unplugging and

replugging the power cord to reseat it.

 If the indicator light on the MagSafe connector is amber, the battery might need to

be recharged. Keep the power adapter connected and charge the battery with the

computer off. A green light indicates that the battery is fully charged.

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Chapter 4

Problem, Meet Solution


 If the problem persists, reset the MacBook power manager by disconnecting the

power adapter and holding down the power (®) button for at least 5 seconds.

 If you recently installed additional memory, make sure that it is correctly installed and

that it is compatible with your computer. See whether removing it and reinstalling

the old memory allows the computer to start up (see page 46).

 Press the power (®) button and immediately hold down the Command (x), Option,

P, and R keys simultaneously until you hear the startup sound a second time. This

resets the parameter RAM (PRAM).

 If you still can’t start up your MacBook, see “Learning More, Service, and Support” on

page 63 for information about contacting Apple for service.

If the screen suddenly goes black or your MacBook freezes

Try restarting your MacBook.


Unplug any devices that are connected to your MacBook, except the power adapter.


Press the power (®) button to restart the system.


Let the battery charge to at least 10 percent before plugging in any external devices

and resuming your work.

To see how much the battery has charged, look at the Battery (

) status icon in the

menu bar.

The screen might also darken if you have energy saver features set for the battery.

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Chapter 4

Problem, Meet Solution

If an audio device plugged into the audio port isn’t working

Unplug the audio device. Choose Apple () > System Preferences, and open Sound

preferences. In the Input pane, specify whether you want the port to be used for Sound

Input or Sound Output. Plug the audio device back in.

Note: If you’re running Windows on your MacBook, the port supports only audio


If you forget your password

You can reset your administrator password and passwords for all other accounts.


Insert the Mac OS X Install DVD. Then restart your computer and hold down the C key as

it starts up.


Choose Utilities > Reset Password from the menu bar. Follow the onscreen instructions.

If you have trouble ejecting a disc
 Quit any applications that might be using the disc and try again.

 If this doesn’t work, restart the computer while holding down the trackpad button.