I installed several updates on my desktop Mac last night: Java update, another minor application update, and then two update packages for a firewall. I wasn’t expecting any problems… of course that’s when you get trouble.
The Mac will now come up to the point where the gray apple logo appears on the screen. And then it didn’t progress any farther.
I dropped in the installation disk to restore from the Time Machine backup. That would work fine, if the installation disk recognized the time machine backup drive. No clue why it quit working.
Luckily, I keep two hard drives in my machine, both with nearly identical copies. I have booted off of the second drive and backed the entire system up to my spare external drive. The backup finished in about two hours. I repaired disk permissions on both disks (just in case something got messed up).
After about eight hours of trying to figure out what was wrong, I rebooted with the OS disk in the external DVD drive and forgot to stop the bootloader from automatically loading the default drive. And it worked.
Go figure. Not a fun day.