How-To Fix a Bricked OS X Lion System After Thunderbolt Software Update Causes Boot Failure?

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Following the WWDC 2012 Apple has released some new system and applications updates for OS X Lion 10.7; one of them is an update for the Thunderbolt port, and unfortunately brings with it a serious bug that may badly corrupt your system generating a Kernel Panic as soon as it start loading the system.

As reported on many tech blogs (like iClarified http://www.iclarified.com/entry/index.php?enid=22556) many users after the update have not been able to re-boot their systems properly reporting Kernel panics, or simply unable to go further the boot menu. Basically the system got stuck, or more precisely BRICKED!

If you possess a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air purchased during the year 2011 or later or in any case if your Mac has a Thunderbolt port, it is advisable not to install the Thunderbolt Software Update for now, hopefully Apple will release a newer and safer update.

In case you have installed the update and your system is bricked reinstalling the whole system is NOT the only solution to fix the problem.

If you have the luck to have a second Mac computer with a firewire port, you can follow the following steps to ripristine your system with a minimal effort:

  1. Start the bricked Mac into TARGET MODE (pressing ‘T’ before the start-up chime).
  2. On a spare Mac, download from Apple website the latest Combo System Update for Lion 10.7.4.
  3. Run the Combo System Update installation and specifying as target the mounted volume of the bricked Mac. <== VERY IMPORTANT

That will fix the installation of unfortunate Mac

Side Effects: Reinstalling the Combo System Update for Lion 10.7.4. will over-write all the Apple updates released after the 9th of May 2012 and you will have to re-run the Software Update application to reinstall them (don’t forget to skip the Thunderbolt Software Update)

I hope this has been helpful for many of you as much as it has been for me.

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About marcomc

Marco M.C. is a System Administrator with 10 years of professional experience in ICT. He has deep knowledge of Mac OS X, Windows, and GNU/Linux. His hobbies vary from DIY, Traveling, learning foreign languages and especially he love to cook and experiment with food from all around the world.
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