My late 2015 iMac won’t get past the progress bar on the startup. I’ve tried every combo keypress/restart procedure I can dig up in multiple Google searches. Starting to get worried I’ll have to completely wipe and reinstall. Online Apple support is not helpful. Genius Bar in my area is not taking appointments still due to COVID. And money is always too tight to buy anything other than another used Mac. Anyone got a surefire way to get back to a login screen? At least to ensure my backup is up-to-date before I wipe it and start over?

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    Have you checked the logs when booting in verbose mode?
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    Apart from knowing not a whit of what the verbose messages are up to, and the fact that they’re spilling out at a rapid and undocument-able rate in microscopic 2 point font, the part it seems most stuck on is

    “tx_flush:1028: xid 1560939 tx stats: # 20 finish 21 enter 393 wait 0 0us close 0us flush 186753us”

    Which shows zero useful results in Google.

    It just now repeated mostly like the above but with differing numbers.
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    Here’s a partial photo.
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    Have you tried booting from a Time Machine backup?

    Can you get anywhere holding these key commands during a reboot?

    Startup Manager: Option (⌥)
    Single-User Mode: Command (⌘)—S.
    Target Disk Mode: T.
    Verbose Mode: Command (⌘)—V.
    Safe Mode: Shift (⇧)
    Recovery OS: Command (⌘)—R.
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    What I ended up doing was what I’d been avoiding because I hate hate hate talking to tech support reps. I called tech support. It took over an hour but she walked me through a more exacting sequence of magical keyboard/restart incantations which finally ended up in reinstalling the OS completely. Now I’m working on installing the OS to a fast external SSD for better performance. That’s also not working because the installer claims the SSD is “locked”. Macs are so easy to use!!! ;)
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    But but mac just works
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    I finally got it working and holy crap this thing is fast now. that external SSD as startup disk trick really works! like a whole new Mac that I can actually enjoy using for my music recording and other off-work stuff.
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