8 Replies Latest reply: Dec 15, 2012 2:03 PM by Grant Bennet-Alder
volluzphoto Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

My early Mac Pro, not sure which one, but early, is sick - it boots to the grey screen and then hangs.

 

When I turn it on, I get the dark grey apple and spinner on the light grey screen.  That works for a while and then goes to just the light grey screen.  I continue to hear the hard drive work but nothing changes on the screen, ever.  Later I try to change programs with the keyboard and quit some, but I never hear anything from the drive again.  It doesn't sound like my anti-virus is checking files or anything.  This is consistent, there is no other screen symptoms and I've tried several different things to try to fix it.

 

I've tried the various shortcut key startup modes, but no difference.

 

I tried to boot to a DVD or CD of Snow Leopard, but no luck.

 

I tried swapping banks of memory in both the top and bottom memory card slots.

 

I tried taking out my video card, vacuuming it and the slot of dust, and putting it back in.  (I had the same type of video card fail a year or so ago, but this is the Apple original, a GeForce 7300 - I think)

 

Any suggestions?

  • 1. Re: Boots to grey screen, then hangs.
    Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (226,705 points)

    Sounds like the hard drive may need to be reformatted.

     

    Do this:

     

    Repair the Hard Drive and Permissions

     

    Boot from your Snow Leopard Installer disc. After the installer loads select your language and click on the Continue button. When the menu bar appears select Disk Utility from the Utilities menu. After DU loads select your hard drive entry (mfgr.'s ID and drive size) from the the left side list.  In the DU status area you will see an entry for the S.M.A.R.T. status of the hard drive.  If it does not say "Verified" then the hard drive is failing or failed. (SMART status is not reported on external Firewire or USB drives.) If the drive is "Verified" then select your OS X volume from the list on the left (sub-entry below the drive entry,) click on the First Aid tab, then click on the Repair Disk button. If DU reports any errors that have been fixed, then re-run Repair Disk until no errors are reported. If no errors are reported click on the Repair Permissions button. Wait until the operation completes, then quit DU and return to the installer.

     

    If DU reports errors it cannot fix, then you will need Disk Warrior and/or Tech Tool Pro to repair the drive. If you don't have either of them or if neither of them can fix the drive, then you will need to reformat the drive and reinstall OS X.


    If your hard drive fails to appear in DU's sidebar, then it's dead. If it does appear and you are able to repair, then you may only need to reinstall Snow Leopard:

     

    Reinstall OS X without erasing the drive

     

    Do the following:

     

    1. Repair the Hard Drive and Permissions

     

    Boot from your Snow Leopard Installer disc. After the installer loads select your language and click on the Continue button. When the menu bar appears select Disk Utility from the Utilities menu. After DU loads select your hard drive entry (mfgr.'s ID and drive size) from the the left side list.  In the DU status area you will see an entry for the S.M.A.R.T. status of the hard drive.  If it does not say "Verified" then the hard drive is failing or failed. (SMART status is not reported on external Firewire or USB drives.) If the drive is "Verified" then select your OS X volume from the list on the left (sub-entry below the drive entry,) click on the First Aid tab, then click on the Repair Disk button. If DU reports any errors that have been fixed, then re-run Repair Disk until no errors are reported. If no errors are reported click on the Repair Permissions button. Wait until the operation completes, then quit DU and return to the installer.

     

    If DU reports errors it cannot fix, then you will need Disk Warrior and/or Tech Tool Pro to repair the drive. If you don't have either of them or if neither of them can fix the drive, then you will need to reformat the drive and reinstall OS X.

     

    2. Reinstall Snow Leopard

     

    If the drive is OK then quit DU and return to the installer.  Proceed with reinstalling OS X.  Note that the Snow Leopard installer will not erase your drive or disturb your files.  After installing a fresh copy of OS X the installer will move your Home folder, third-party applications, support items, and network preferences into the newly installed system.

     

    Download and install the Combo Updater for the version you prefer from support.apple.com/downloads/.

  • 2. Re: Boots to grey screen, then hangs.
    volluzphoto Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks.  I tried once to boot from the Snow Leopard disk, but I'll try again.

  • 3. Re: Boots to grey screen, then hangs.
    Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (226,705 points)

    Booting From An OS X Installer Disc

     

      1. Insert OS X Installer Disc into the optical drive.

      2. Restart the computer.

      3. Immediately after the chime press and hold down the "C" key.

      4. Release the key when the spinning gear below the dark gray Apple logo

          appears.

      5. Wait for installer to finish loading.

  • 4. Re: Boots to grey screen, then hangs.
    volluzphoto Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks, I've booted from a few OS CD's before.  I've been working and playing with Apple computers since my IIe.  That's not a flame, I do appreciate your assistance, I'm just amused.

     

    I also changed out the battery while I was putting things back together.

     

    So, the same boot to grey screen, with the CD in the drive.  It definitely accessed the drive, I could hear it, but that didn't change the visual symptoms.  Then it went quiet for about half a minute.  Then the CD spun again for 30 or 40 seconds and now it's all quiet again, no hard drive or CD noises.  I believe it's hung because it won't spit out the CD.  It won't open the empty CD drive platter either.

  • 5. Re: Boots to grey screen, then hangs.
    Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (226,705 points)

    I believe you may have a bad hard drive.

     

    Five ways to eject a stuck CD or DVD from the optical drive

     

    Ejecting the stuck disc can usually be done in one of the following ways:

     

      1. Restart the computer and after the chime press and hold down the

          left mouse button until the disc ejects.

     

      2. Press the Eject button on your keyboard.

     

      3. Click on the Eject button in the menubar.

     

      4. Press COMMAND-E.

     

      5. If none of the above work try this: Open the Terminal application in

          your Utilities folder. At the prompt enter or paste the following:

     

            /usr/bin/drutil eject

     

    If this fails then try this:

     

    Boot the computer into Single-user Mode. At the prompt enter the same command as used above. To restart the computer enter "reboot" at the prompt without quotes.

  • 6. Re: Boots to grey screen, then hangs.
    volluzphoto Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I have a number of clean hard drives, I'll replace hard drive #1 with one of them and try again with the Snow Leopard CD.

  • 7. Re: Boots to grey screen, then hangs.
    volluzphoto Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    OK, exactly the same symptoms.  I now have no hard drive in the machine with any system and my original Snow Leopard boot disk in the DVD drive.  Again, it tried to boot to the DVD drive, but the same boot to grey screen happened.

     

    I don't believe it is my memory or my hard drive.  It might be my video card, but I have no way to swap that out here and I'm not going to buy a new one at this point.

     

    Thank you for your assistance, I've made an appointment with the Genius Bar in town.  I'll drop by tomorrow after Church and see what they have to say. 

  • 8. Re: Boots to grey screen, then hangs.
    Grant Bennet-Alder Level 8 Level 8 (49,250 points)

    If your Mac is not responding to various "snag keys" at Startup, make sure the keyboard is plugged into a port on the chassis, not on a Hub or on the display.

     

    My favorite is holding Alt/Option at Startup to get the Startup Manager, because its code is all in ROM. It draws an icon for each potentially bootable volume and then the Eject key on the keyboard goes "live".