Robin Monks

Crashed: too many corpses being created — How to Recover High Sierra

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Thanks to the amount of passion folks showed in wanting assistance there’s now a much better guide to recovering Sierra and High Sierra in a new blog post. You should ignore the instructions here and go there. In the case of my organization, this cropped up because of an improperly tested JAMF script that set the permissions to core folders incorrectly. However, lots of situations can cause this to crop up, and the new blog post should go a long way to addressing most of them.


So, this isn’t going to have much instructions along with it. If you are on High Sierra and especially on High Sierra with JAMF and having issues with users seeing full progress bars that never go away after the log in, and get a too many corpses error when booted in verbose mode (CMD+V on power on), these instructions should allow recovery.

Recovery time with this method is about 2 hours, although it can be left unattended for long periods.

    1. Start the Mac while holding down ⌘-S
    2. Check the startup disk for errors using:
      /sbin/fsck -fy
    3. Mount the startup disk using:
      /sbin/mount -uw /
    4. Remove the setup complete flag using:
      rm /var/db/.AppleSetupDone
    5. Now to reboot into Recovery Mode, which we’ll do by running the following command and holding down ⌘-⇧-R while the machine restarts:
    6. Once you reboot into recovery you should see an option to Install macOS, click that to begin.
    7. Run though the macOS installer to completion, making a new user in the process.
    8. Once done, you’ll have a new user account, and you’ll be able to navigate back to the other user by opening Finder, pressing ⌘-⇧-G and entering /Users and pressing Go
    9. You’ll need to manually copy out Documents and Desktop items you care about from the corrupted user.

We’re addressing this issue where I work now, and, I want to get instructions out there as these seems to be an issue with the latest High Sierra updates released for Spectre and Meltdown (10.13.2 and 10.13.3). Hopefully it helps! If you know what causes this and how to prevent it, please comment!