13 Replies Latest reply: Apr 20, 2009 7:55 PM by Okeetee
Flawl3ssCowb0y Level 1 (0 points)
I apologise for what will most likely be an essay ahead.

I have a Macbook Pro (2.16ghz) that is just over three years old. It is running on Leopard with all the up to date patches / updates. Over the past week or so, it has been 'playing up' in the sense that the spinning loading icon would appear at random intervals and stay there for a good 20 to 30 seconds or so, not allowing me to do anything. If I would be listening to music, the music would pause and then come back on.

It would normally appear when something was trying to load. For example, the final straw was when I was using Adobe Bridge and it was taking an extremely long time to load up the photos I had imported and in the end I gave up. Speed has never been an issue before and my MBP has 2GB of RAM.

So I backed up what I needed and proceeded to do an 'Erase and Install(Leopard) format. Once formatted, the MBP booted up and I completed the registration, took my User picture blah blah etc. Once done, the MBP booted into OS X - this is where the problems occurred. The spinning loading icon appeared and after about 30 seconds or so, the Finder window / toolbar at the top disappeared, as did the Macintosh HD icon on the desktop. All I was left with was my wallpaper and Dock with icons in. However, if I clicked on any of the programs, nothing would happen.

Naturally, I tried restarting it and the same thing happened again. I figured that because my MBP was connected to a second Dual monitor, that this might have been the issue so I decided to boot from the OS X Leopard CD and do another 'Erase and Install'. I once again got past the registration screen, but this time, instead of booting into OS X my MBP stuck itself on a grey screen. It would not go any further.

I then decided that the spinning loading icon issue may be a RAM problem. When I first got my MBP, I upgraded the RAM so I knew how to take it out and replace it. So I tried taking out the RAM stick (1GB) I put in orignally and booting it with the original 1GB stick. The same problem occurred. I tried the other way round, putting in my 1GB RAM stick and taking the original out - nothing worked. I tried every possible combination, even swapping the sticks around.

Eventually my brother tells me he has some spare RAM which I also try and once again, this does not solve the issue. So I figure it cannot be a RAM problem.

So next I try booting from the OS X Disc on startup and run Disk Utility. I verify and repair the Mac HD which comes up fine. No errors, no issues, nothing.

I finally scour the internet for info on what could be the cause of the problem and the biggest suggestion seems to be formatting. So I once again try formatting my MBP for a third time - however this time, I get the original problem. It boots up into OS X but then the Finder toolbar and Mac HD icon disappear, leaving me with Dock and Wallpaper.

The final thing I try is resetting the MBPs PRAM on startup. This does not solve the issue.

So here I am. If you could be bothered to read all of that, well done haha I'm not sure if I could have.

If anyone has ANY suggestions or advice, please post!

I do not have Apple Care so if I was to take it to the local Genius bar, would they look at it for free and diagnose it? Or would that cost me? I have never had to take my MBP in before.

Thankyou again

Mac OS X (10.5.6)
  • supermanguy87 Level 1 (140 points)
    I just skimmed over this because the post is like a small novel! lol Try a Apple Hardware Test. I think it's probably a bad logic board.


    Don't take it to a Genius Bar until you've done this, saves time and you might have a little more info to give them. Also that way you won't feel pressured into anything. It's out of warranty, so sometimes I've noticed they can be a little pushy especially on a very high dollar replacement such as a new logic board on an out of warranty item. Also the "enhanced diagnostic" is around $100, so you might have to at least fork over a hard earned Benjamin and not get anything fixed. And whatever you do, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT tell them you upgraded the RAM yourself. If they are feeling in a good mood and decide to knock off any money or waive any sort of fees, this will kill it instantly. RAM is considered "user serviceable," but they normally try to plead "the part you installed is not Apple Authorized" or the "installation caused the issue and was not an ACHT." Put back in the original stick and leave it alone. Hope this helps you out!
  • Flawl3ssCowb0y Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks very much for your help

    I tried doing that and everything came up fine! Since posting my topic, I decided to install the Tiger OS. This has installed perfectly fine, no problems at all. So now I'm thinking it could be my Leopard disk thats the problem?

    I have done an erase and install with that Leopard disk before. But what else could it possibly be?

    It seems a dead cert that its NOT a hardware problem.
  • Baby Boomer (USofA) Level 9 (57,297 points)
    Could be any number of things. Leopard & Tiger are entirely two different OS systems. It's possible you were having software conflicts - not all of your Tiger software is compatible w/Leopard. Some of this same software needs to be updated.
    Your devices connected to the computer may need updated.

    Did you repair permissions & restart your computer after upgrading your OS?

    When was the last time you ran the +repair disk+ option from your system or install DVD?

  • Flawl3ssCowb0y Level 1 (0 points)
    How do I repair permissions? Bare in mind when I formatted using Leopard OS, I couldn't actually do anything in the OS at all.

    And I ran the repair disk option from the install DVD this morning and everything came up fine!
  • S.U. Level 6 (8,360 points)
    Did you ever run the Apple Hardware Test?

    From reading your short novel, I began to wonder if your hard drive might be on its way out. Hard drives have a average life of 3-5 years, and yours is 3 years old. If you want to get a detailed look at the health of your hard drive, you could download and run S.M.A.R.T Utility:


    It goes into a lot more detail than Disk Utility does, and is perhaps a bit more critical. Last I checked, you could download it and run it several times for free.

    If the hard drive checks out OK, the next thing to look for is software incompatibility, as previously noted.

    To repair permissions, you just open Disk Utility, select your hard drive, and click on the "Repair Permissions" button. Repair until there is nothing left to repair.

    Good luck!
  • Flawl3ssCowb0y Level 1 (0 points)
    Yep I ran the Apple Hardware test and everything came up fine!

    I downloaded and used the SMART Utility and here are the results:




    I guess thats bad?

    I ordered a replacement HD yesterday as I've been meaning to replace the HD in my MBP for a while now so I figured this might be a good time to do it!
  • S.U. Level 6 (8,360 points)
    Yes, I would say so. Not only is the overall S.M.A.R.T. status listed as "failing", some of the other things listed mention "old age" and "pre-fail". So I think that your hard drive is ailing and at least contributing to your problems. There may still be some software incompatibility to contend with if you want to go to Leopard, so you will need to be sure all your other software is Leopard compatible.

    There is one other utility that you might like called S.M.A.R.T. Reporter:


    This utility installs a green hard drive icon in your menu bar, which will turn red if it senses that your hard drive is about to fail or has started to fail. The hope is to give you a heads up at the earliest sign of trouble.

    There is one other link you might find helpful, which contains Kappy's Extended Hard Drive Preparation:


    Good luck!
  • pstretton Level 1 (0 points)
    Hi, just wanted to throw in my 2 pennies worth...
    Today after doing a safe boot and repair permissions, on restart it hung at the grey screen for a few mins before switching off. Even a force start by holding the power button down for the loud beep had the same results. I found this thread and downloaded the 2 smart reporters and lo and behold! I got the same messages as you, hard drive about to fail, old age, etc. Strange thing though, when I ran the smart reporter, it gave me a gree, good to go, all ok back. When I tried to back up with time machine, it ran for almost 90% of my hard drive before failing, saying it could not continue due to an unknown error, so it looks as if it is on its last legs.
    I am surprised that it is dying now after nearly 3 years though, especially for a (then)top of the range machine!
    The Tiger/Leopard compatibility issue is interesting too, I hadn't thought of that. I have been suffering from the dreaded 'Random Shutdown Syndrome' for over a year now, so I am desperately hoping that a new hard drive will finally give me a machine I can trust!

    Thanks for the help - these threads are always great for advice, and good luck to you!

  • Okeetee Level 1 (0 points)
    The dreaded grey screen has gotten to me, too. I was doing normal Internet surfing when I decided to plug in my iPhone to my Macbook Pro. Normally, iTunes automatically opens and everything is fine. This time, however, iTunes got stuck and never fully loaded, and the rainbow wheel kept spinning. So I held down the power button to shut it off, only to have a grey screen upon restart.

    I tried resetting PRAM, SMC, and also different key combinations to try and fix the problem and the best I got was a blue screen. There is no spinning wheel.

    It's never happened before and I'm wondering what the heck the problem is.

    Oh, I also inserted the MacOS disc and tried starting it but the screen stays blue.

  • Kickerjt Level 1 (0 points)
    Dont know if anyone can help out on this one but im having the same problem. I will turn on my mbp and i get the grey screen with the start up chime and the apple and the spinning icon on the bottom. It will stay on the screen for about a minute or so then it will go black and then start up again doing the same thing. Dont know whats wrong with it, but it was working fine the other day. I have noticed the bottom of the mbp gets really hot. If anyone could help that would be great!!
  • Okeetee Level 1 (0 points)

    I'm going to an Apple store today to see what's up with my laptop. Whatever information I get I'll pass it along!
  • Kickerjt Level 1 (0 points)
    sweet man i appreciate it!!!
  • Okeetee Level 1 (0 points)
    Unfortunately, worst case scenario in regards to my laptop: Hard Drive is toast.

    Being sent in for a replacement hard drive and will be at my doorstep in about a week.