Too many corpses being created!

Your Mac running macOS High Sierra 10.13 stopped at the startup screen that shows the Apple logo with a progress bar. You entered verbose mode with cmd-V and it shows a repeating message of "Too many corpses being created."

No, your Mac wasn't infested with zombies. There's no need to smash it with an axe and throw it in fire. This is what you could do:

  1. boot and hold cmd-R to start up from macOS Recovery
  2. if Filevault is on, mount the disk with Disk Utility and password
  3. run these two in Terminal
  • cd /Volumes/Macintosh\ HD/var/db/caches/opendirectory
    (this should be one line and also use an escape character \ before each white space in the disk name, such as My\ Fancy\ Disk\ Name - if you actually just type /Volumes/, then a few letters and press TAB, it should fill the rest)
  • mv ./mbr_cache ./mbr_cache-old
  • restart

The first startup after running these commands takes a bit longer than usual as the cache is recreated, but subsequent startups will take the normal amount of time.


64 comments

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  • Pavlo

    It works!!! Thanks a lot!

  • Gui

    Thanks for the hints, renaming the mbr_cache away worked very well on my MacBook Pro running Mojave.

  • nick

    For the people having trouble with a “no such file or directory” message after typing in the code.

    First go and Mount your Macintosh HD in Disk Utility by typing in your password to Mount.

    Then go to Terminal and try typing in the code again. You should not get the same message.

  • Shane Jestin

    I have a 2011 MacBook Pro running OS X based system. It will not start or reinstall any thing from time machine. The loading bar gets very near the end and then freezes. When I start in safe mode it displays a disk image volume OX Based System. I cannot see how to type in the commands. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Regards, shane.

  • JozefSVK

    Hi guys,
    it’s still not working for me. And feeling desperate. Just following instructions. Am I doing anything wrong?

  • Andreas

    My symptoms are the same but the cause different, seemingly. I have been trying to stop Apple phoning home on my HighSierra MBP. And so I started disabling services and deleting service files (plist files in /System/Library/LaunchAgents/ and Daemons). But without messing with SIP. Just booting single user (cmd-R) and doing the culling there.

    This did not cause a problem at all. And I did it in several stages. Each time osx was booting fine. At some stage I saw that SafariBookmarksSyncAgent was so persistent to talk to ApplePushServices (and apsd), it was trying to phone home every 3 minutes!, I decided to delete it (I used console to see the process message log).

    I booted once more single-mode and deleted (renamed) two Safari related executables whose name suggested syncing. Again boot normally and all was correct. No problems.

    Lastly, I was cocky and said why on earth don’t I delete ApplePushMessages as well? This resides in /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/ApplePush-blah-blah (SIP even hides this dir). And so booted one last time single-user and snip-snip cut the throat of the said abomination. I also deleted file called “apsd” in that folder and all files in Version/Current dir.

    This time it was fatal. Booting got stuck and the corpses kept coming in… I tried your method, thanks for posting it, but it did not work. I tried also jettisoning the caches in /etc/rc.server and also deleting all the *.kext files as 2 other helpful posts suggested. Nothing. The only thing that got booting going was to reverse the deletion of ApplePush-related files. All the SafariSync executables are deleted and about 50 services are phoning to hell as we speak. You see I am a Unix man – leave free or die. Maybe I don’t get syncs but boy I sleep better. Thanks. andreas

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