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I have a late model 2011 MBP. The discrete graphics card is toast so normally when I upgrade OS X I just do:

CommandS

and remove the ATI kext files and reboot and all is OK. However with macOS Sierra I've discovered that root is now no longer privileged enough to do so with SIP enabled and I have to use:

CommandR

into Recovery Mode and disable SIP. Then I will be able to remove the ATI kexts. However, with the broken discrete graphics card I can't boot into Recovery Mode. I just get a distorted Apple logo and the loading bar. The distortion is like an old interlaced green screen display.

Then the screen goes grey and reboots.

Is there any way to disable SIP other than CommandR? Or disable the ATI kext files from being loaded without first disabling SIP?

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  • You can only disable SIP from Recovery; so your only hope is if someone can figure out how to do it with SIP enabled, or if it can be done from a USB boot. – Tetsujin Apr 17 '17 at 8:50
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    I just found apple.stackexchange.com/a/276433/21034 CMD-R-S drops into single user recovery mode – bradgonesurfing Apr 17 '17 at 10:02
  • Nice one - I would have already suggested the 'flying blind' method outlined there if you weren't suffering a cyclic boot/crash. – Tetsujin Apr 17 '17 at 10:12
  • Yeah. I managed to disable the SIP with 'csrutil disable' via single user recovery. However when I reboot and try to move the ATI kept files i still get a sandbox violation error. Is there yet another layer of protection that needs to be removed? – bradgonesurfing Apr 17 '17 at 10:17
  • @bradgonesurfing Try removing the kexts directly while you're in single-user recovery, and skip disabling SIP. – Gordon Davisson Apr 18 '17 at 2:30
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SIP only protects the currently-booted system, so you can delete the kext file if you start up from an system on an external drive.

For example, you could make a macOS installer on a USB key, delete the ATI kexts from it, then boot from it, open the Terminal and delete the kext from your drive. Alternatively, you could use a Ubuntu Live CD, mount your drive read-write, and then delete the kext file.

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A direct answer to your concrete question is: Boot into Single User Recovery Mode. That is much quicker than full Recovery Mode and perfect for the task at hand of disabling SIP. That is because in this mode the dGPU is equally not activated with all those drivers.

That is not widely documented but accomplished by holding Command+r+s on boot.

If you prefer the graphical way there is still SafeMode Recovery: Command+shift+r

As a sidenote: removing all AMD/ATI kexts might not be the optimal solution. Have a look at this post for a full guide.

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