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iMac crashes constantly at start up

2637 Views 12 Replies Latest reply: May 26, 2012 1:38 AM by Platnumclacky2 RSS
londonman2 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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Apr 13, 2012 2:15 PM

Good day ladies and gents,


I've had Mac's since my IIsi in '91 and currently the proud owner of MacBook Pro, iPhone and iMac which is just 18 months old...


2 days ago I switched the machine off (iMac) and it hasn't been fully back on since.


Each time I start it it automatically goes into soft boot mode. As the small bar moves across the screen it stops after about 1 centimetre (.4 of an inch) and simply whines and shuts down.


I've tried the old tricks of holding down 'c' and 'd'. On one of the attempts I did reach the desktop and managed to run disk utility which said there were no problems. However, once I rebooted it simply carried on doing the same. I also managed to run Techtool deluxe which comes with the Apple Extended Warranty. Unfortunately it's not fully compatiable with OSX Lion so didn't run properly.


I've not known a Mac to be so knackered before. I have tried the command-R scenario but I don't think reloading Lion OSX is the cure for what appears to be a serious problem.


When I shut down the iMac on Thursday I had Acrobat and Photoshop open, also iTunes and Mail.


I generally use Facetime these days but on Thursday (I haven't used my Skype account for 18 months) I did install the latest version of Skype as someone required a Skype call with me. The software installed okay and I had the conversation with the person though the camera feature didn't work my end. I do wonder whether installing the Skype software has done something to the iMac. However, I don't see that it would stop it starting up completely!


Anyone any ideas?


Many thanks.



iMac 3GHz Core i3 MBPro 15" late '08 iphone 3GS 32GB, Mac OS X (10.6)
  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (107,430 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 13, 2012 2:25 PM (in response to londonman2)

    Back up all data.


    Boot from your recovery partition by holding down the key combination command-R at the startup chime. Release the keys when you see a gray screen with a spinning dial.


    When the Recovery desktop appears, reinstall the Mac OS. You don't need to erase the boot volume, and you won't need your backup unless something goes wrong. If your Mac didn’t ship with Lion, you’ll need the Apple ID and password you used to upgrade, so make a note of those before you begin.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (107,430 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 13, 2012 2:49 PM (in response to londonman2)

    ...when I reach the disk choice of installing OSX Lion the disk 'recovery HD' appears greyed out and states 'This disk is locked'.


    Then you'll have to erase it. What backups do you have?

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (107,430 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 13, 2012 2:51 PM (in response to Linc Davis)

    On second thought, no, don't try to reinstall on that drive. It's malfunctioning, or you have some other hardware fault. Make a "Genius" appointment at an Apple Store to have the machine tested. Back up all data before you go, if you still can.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (107,430 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 13, 2012 2:58 PM (in response to londonman2)

    There are several ways to back up a Mac that is unable to fully boot. You need an external hard drive to hold the backup data.


    1. Boot from your recovery partition (10.7 or later), a local Time Machine backup volume (10.7.2 or later), or your installation disc (10.6.8 or earlier.) Launch Disk Utility and follow the instructions in the support article linked below, under “Instructions for backing up to an external hard disk via Disk Utility.”


    How to back up and restore your files


    2. If you have a working Mac, and both it and the non-working Mac have FireWire ports, boot the non-working Mac in target disk mode by holding down the key combination command-T at the startup chime. Connect the two Macs with a FireWire cable. The internal drive of the machine running in target mode will mount as an external drive on the other machine. Copy the data to another drive.


    How to use and troubleshoot FireWire target disk mode


    3. If the internal drive of the non-working Mac is user-replaceable, remove it and mount it in an external enclosure or drive dock. Use another Mac to copy the data.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (107,430 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 14, 2012 7:14 AM (in response to londonman2)

    Must learn to back up every week rather than every month.


    Time Machine backs up every hour. That's what you should be doing.

  • Platnumclacky2 Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 26, 2012 1:38 AM (in response to londonman2)

    To whomever can help...I'm having the same problem as stated above however my HD keeps showing up (it didn't at firs) so I went and took ma a bazillion times but i re-partioned my mac drive to 2 partitions... 1 @ 300gb for Mac HD and one for 200 fro windows 7 I'm putting on it. I installed more ram (came with 4gb ram, updated with 8 more ddr 3 to = 12gb total). When I plugged the Imac back in it had a small spark at the cord. I then turned on the imac...with just a white screen coming up...multiple times. I then figured out how to get it up and partioned as stated above through disk utility and re-installed lion onto the Mac HD (journalized btw) and the Windows 7 partion i did in exFAT mode as iI saw on another forum to do. I am now waiting on Lion to reinstall for a 2nd time as the first time it complleted the install then went to the white screen and I had to reboot it again. I'm not quite sure what I'm supposed to do to get the update that you guys are saying to use the Taerminal  as i'm savvy at DOS prompt but not Terminal. I really hope the HD isn't fried as I just replaced my laptop's hd with a SSD (intel 128gb). I have a few backups from time machine that I have on an external toshiba 750gb hdd as well. Thats the only thing on the external drive as well. I dont necessarily want to load my last Time machine backup as It had a messed up version of Windows 7 (missing ehternet/audio/pci drivers and wouldn't let me install them). I plan on doing the re-install completely through parralels 7 as well. Unless I should do it through Bootcamp. But if I do it through bootcamp can I still use parralles 7 to run both at the same time or would I have to just install it via parrallls to get this? (I was told at bestbuy that doing it htrough parrallels only makes it a "virtual drive" as doing it through Bootcamp makes it an actual partition... I already made a partion for it as well when I repartioned it to get it running again. I had all these problems once I wanted to try to install win7 from a previous win XP that I had running. The problem I think may be that I installed it through win XP rather than deleting ithe virtual machine? Also I was trying to "expand" the partition I had originally made for windows (65gbs because it wasn't enough) then I ran into all of these problems... Ugh... pleaseeee help meeeeee!!!


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