Note: The Shift key should be held as soon as possible after the startup tone but not before.
4. Release the Shift key when you see the screen with the gray Apple and progress indicator (looks like a spinning gear). After startup, the words "Safe Boot" appear in red letters under the Apple logo on the Mac OS X login screen.
Note: The Safe Boot startup process takes longer than a normal startup. It can be quite long (several minutes) depending on the amount of time it takes to check and repair the directory (if needed).
5. To exit Safe Mode, restart the computer normally, without holding down any keys during startup.
Knowledge Base Articles
These troubleshooting articles can be searched from http://www.apple.com/support.
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