1 2 Previous Next 15 Replies Latest reply: Mar 21, 2010 3:53 PM by AnthonyOmPLHDreads
AnthonyOmPLHDreads Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Hi, I recently took a trip and stayed in a hotel room. On the coach bus on the way to the hotel, my laptop (and iBook G4) worked just fine (but couldn't access the internet, obviously). Once I got to the hotel, I realized they had free wireless. This didn't connect very well, so I plugged it into the Ethernet cable they had provided in the room. All was going well for a while. Then I restarted my laptop, and it wouldn't start back up completely. I can see my background, and if I move my mouse to the bottom of the screen, the Dock slides up as usual. But I can't run any programs from there, and my desktop still has no icons and the top menu bar won't come up. It's as if the operating system isn't loading all the way or something. Please help.

And in case this helps any more, the last thing I did was install a plugin pack for Quicktime. I got these off of the Quicktime website, so they should in theory be legit. I'm pretty sure they're compatible even though I have an old OS (I'm still running Panther), because I downloaded them BECAUSE of their use in Panther. So I don't know if this has anything to do with it. Did I maybe get a virus? I've always been told it's highly unlikely to get a virus on a mac.

Thanks.

iBook G4, Mac OS X (10.3.x)
  • 1. Re: My Laptop Won't Start Up All The Way Anymore
    cornelius Level 6 Level 6 (17,825 points)
    Anthony:

    Welcome to Apple Discussions.

    To reiterate what have always been told, it is very unlikely that it is a virus. There are no known viruses for Mac OS X in the wild.

    Next, I don't think the software you downloaded is responsible for what you are experiencing.

    First, try this:
    • Shut down the computer.
    • Locate the following keys: Command, Option, P, and R. You will need to hold these keys down simultaneously later.
    • Turn on the computer.
    • Press and hold the Command + Option + P + R keys immediately after the startup chime.
    • Hold keys down until you hear the startup chime for the third time.
    • Release the keys and immediately hold down Shift key to start up in Safe Mode.
    • Log in and empty Trash.
    • Restart normally and log in.

    If that does not help try Repair Disk
    Insert Installer disk and Restart, holding down the "C" key until grey Apple appears.
    Go to Installer menu (Panther and earlier) or Utilities menu (Tiger) and launch Disk Utility.
    Select your HDD (manufacturer ID) in the left panel.
    Select First Aid in the Main panel.
    (Check S.M.A.R.T Status of HDD at the bottom of right panel, and report if it says anything but Verified)
    Click Repair Disk on the bottom right.
    If DU reports disk does not need repairs quit DU and restart.
    If DU reports errors Repair again and again until DU reports disk is repaired.
    If DU reports errors it cannot repair you will need to use a utility like Tech Tool Pro or Disk Warrior

    A few questions:
    You have an iBook G4. What is the processor speed?
    How much RAM do you have installed?
    What is the total capacity of your internal HDD?
    How much available capacity/free space do you have?
    Is your internal HDD the one that shipped originally with the computer?
    Do you have an up-to-date backup?
    Do you have the original install disks?


    cornelius
  • 2. Re: My Laptop Won't Start Up All The Way Anymore
    AnthonyOmPLHDreads Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Your first method didn't work, since my Trash was already empty. The second method, I don't have any OS or Repair discs. I got the laptop for free from a friend who didn't want it anymore, and they actually got it the same way from someone before them. It was still in near new condition, so I accepted. Only bad thing about it was it was still back at Panther. Any other ideas?

    Here's the specs/answers to your questions:

    Processor: 1.33 GHz
    At least 50GB disc space left (it has about 60GB to start with)
    RAM: 256MB (supports up to 1.25GB, but I just have what came in it, so 256MB)
    Yes, my HD is the one that shipped with it
    If, by backup, you mean my files saved on CDs or an external HD, no. Nothing's backed up, but I don't really have too much on it to lose at this point anyway.
    No, I didn't get any discs with it, as it was passed down to me from a friend.

    Message was edited by: AnthonyOmPLHDreads
  • 3. Re: My Laptop Won't Start Up All The Way Anymore
    cornelius Level 6 Level 6 (17,825 points)
    Your first method didn't work, since my Trash was already empty.

    It wouldn't matter if the Trash is empty. That is not the point of the procedure. Were you able to Reset the PRAM, and were you able to boot in Safe Mode? Please post back with your response to this.
    I don't have any OS or Repair discs.

    That is a pity. You are not able to reinstall, run Repair Disk or run the Apple Hardware Test as you would if you had the disks. In addition, you are in technical violation of the Apple Software License Agreement. I suggest that you purchase install disks for your computer. Or you could call Apple Customer Service and ask for a set of the original software. You will need the computer serial number when you call.

    Try the procedure set out in the article Resolve startup issues and perform disk maintenance with Disk Utility and fsck.

    cornelius
  • 4. Re: My Laptop Won't Start Up All The Way Anymore
    AnthonyOmPLHDreads Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Oh, sorry. I don't know if it reset the PRAM.. I did everything you said to. After the 3rd chime I held shift and it did start in safe mode. However, it still starts as I described above; no icons and no menu bar at the top of the screen, and nothing will load. So yes, I'm able to boot in safe mode, but no, not fully.

    As for the technical violation thing, I wasn't aware. I had always thought if someone gave you a laptop, it didn't matter if you got the discs, because it was all paid for either way. But yes, I'll definitely have to get these discs.

    I tried the procedure in the link you gave me. It didn't work. It just came back saying "The volume Macintosh HD appears to be OK."

    By the way, two other things I noticed. First, when the computer is starting up and I see my background image, my mouse does the little pinwheel like it's loading, but the icons and menu never load. And the other thing is, periodically, in the top right corner, the time and battery life show up for a second or two, then go away again. There's still no gray menu during this, just the time and battery on top of my background. Thanks by the way for all your help.

    Message was edited by: AnthonyOmPLHDreads
  • 5. Re: My Laptop Won't Start Up All The Way Anymore
    cornelius Level 6 Level 6 (17,825 points)
    Anthony:
    I tried the procedure in the link you gave me. It didn't work. It just came back saying "The volume Macintosh HD appears to be OK."

    It did work. It ran Repair Disk and found there were no errors to repair. In other words, the file system/directory checked out as OK.
    I did everything you said to. After the 3rd chime I held shift and it did start in safe mode.

    Which means that you were able to successfully reset the PRAM and get it to boot in Safe Mode.
    it still starts as I described above; no icons and no menu bar at the top of the screen, and nothing will load.

    That's the puzzlement. The directory checks out fine, you are able to boot in Safe Mode but the Finder is having difficulties. Are you able to access anything on the computer when it is in that state? If you can we can try a few things to see if we can correct the Finder issue.
    I had always thought if someone gave you a laptop, it didn't matter if you got the discs, because it was all paid for either way.

    The software that came with the computer is supposed to be installed on one computer at a time, and you are supposed to have install disks for the system installed. There are a lot of folk who post here who do not have install disks for one reason or other. Apart from the legality, and I mention it only to inform you of the requirement, it makes it difficult to do much else by way of testing and, certainly, reinstalling. If you can get new disks that will be helpful.

    So, let us know if you can work on the computer one you have it started up and we will see where to go next.

    cornelius
  • 6. Re: My Laptop Won't Start Up All The Way Anymore
    AnthonyOmPLHDreads Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    "Are you able to access anything on the computer when it is in that state?"

    Well, the only thing is the Dock. It slides up and down as normal. The items I have on the Dock are as follows:
    Finder, Firefox, Adium (which stopped working and wouldn't open about a month or two ago, I never bothered to fix it, I just switched to AIM), AIM, Mail, TextEdit, iTunes, Quicktime Player, Apple - Mac OS X (the icon that takes to you the Help page or something), and Trash.

    I tried opening each, one by one. Some of the programs, the icon would bounce, then stop as if it had loaded, but nothing would happen (Firefox). Adium opened about as far as it has been for the past 2 months, then stopped working, just like it has been, so that's not a new symptom. AIM just bounced, didn't open, stopped bouncing, then said it encountered an error and had to close. A few of the other programs did the same thing. Mail and TextEdit opened the window, then it closed and said it encountered and error and had to close. Trash just plain doesn't do anything. So.. no, nothing will open. There's pretty much nothing I can do in this state. I even tried drawing the box with the mouse (that you use to select multiple items at once) and it doesn't work either.
  • 7. Re: My Laptop Won't Start Up All The Way Anymore
    cornelius Level 6 Level 6 (17,825 points)
    Anthony:

    At this point I am not sure where to go. If you had install disks I would suggest that you completely reformat your drive and reinstall. I suspect that you may have a failing Hard Disk Drive. However, it is difficult to test that without being able to boot the computer. The average life of a HDD is 3 to 5 years. Your iBook G4 was introduced in October 2004, which puts it in the outer limits of its expected lifespan. Your best bet may be to make an appointment online at the Genius Bar and have them take a look. There is no charge for them having a look.

    cornelius
  • 8. Re: My Laptop Won't Start Up All The Way Anymore
    littleshoulders Level 6 Level 6 (9,515 points)
    Hi cornelius,

    I was just wondering if there would be any benefit of the OP trying to boot into OS 9 using the option boot method. Could the OP even do that? Could they then perhaps troubleshoot once in OS9?

    Probably not possible but just wanted to offer as a suggestion.

    regards,

    LS
  • 9. Re: My Laptop Won't Start Up All The Way Anymore
    AnthonyOmPLHDreads Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Well, the closest Genius Bar to me is at least 2 hours away. Right now I think my best option is to get a hold of the discs. You listed two options; either purchase them, or call Apple Customer Service and ask for a set of the original software. What's the difference between these two options? And either way, I'd be buying them, right? Is one option cheaper than the other?

    In addition, thanks a lot for all the help you've given. I really appreciate the time you've put into helping me with this problem.
  • 10. Re: My Laptop Won't Start Up All The Way Anymore
    cornelius Level 6 Level 6 (17,825 points)
    either purchase them, or call Apple Customer Service and ask for a set of the original software. What's the difference between these two options? And either way, I'd be buying them, right? Is one option cheaper than the other?

    The original disk set from Apple, if they are available, will give you Panther install disks, as well as the Apple Hardware Test disks. The service charge for these, the last I heard, was around $60. If you purchase Panther disks say, on eBay, it will cost somewhere in the same range, but since you will want to get the Full Retail Version and not computer specific installers, it will not include iLife, nor the Apple Hardware Test disk. Purchasing will be a good option if you could get either Tiger or Leopard for a reasonable price. If they are available from Apple, it would cost around $130. On the open after-market, however, the prices are prohibitive.

    I am still puzzled as to what is going on. Getting the disks will not be a waste in the sense that you could use them again. However, I am concerned about the viability of your internal HDD, although not being able to get a read on it makes it difficult to say with any degree of certainty.

    cornelius
  • 11. Re: My Laptop Won't Start Up All The Way Anymore
    cornelius Level 6 Level 6 (17,825 points)
    LS:

    It's ages since I worked in OS 9. However, Option booting into OS 9 would require that OS 9 be installed on a separate volume/partition, to the best of my recollection. If it is on the OS X volume it will not show up, is that not so? Then once booted into OS 9, what would one do? If the OP has OS 9 disks he could run Disk First Aid, or whatever it was called, but that would check the OS 9 volume, wouldn't it? The OP has run fsck and it came back as OK, meaning the OS X directory is OK. If the directory is OK, what's left but a hardware issue? Since the HDD is likely the original, it is a candidate for showing signs of aging. At least, that is where my head is at. Any thoughts you can offer would be welcome.

    cornelius
  • 12. Re: My Laptop Won't Start Up All The Way Anymore
    littleshoulders Level 6 Level 6 (9,515 points)
    Hi again cornelius,

    I was thinking that if the OP could boot into OS 9 they might be able to trash the finder .plist from the Users folder to help troubleshoot. I was assuming that you were able to select OS9 when option booting but I think you might be right that it would have to be installed on a separate volume to show up to select that way. Not like using the startup disk from System Preferences.

    That just shows how little I know about switching back and forth between OS's And here I thought I was being helpful....another

    If the OP can't access a Finder window by opening from the Dock icon of the Finder then I'm not sure what other options are available other than what you have previously have advised above. Also, if they cannot chose option + click the Finder icon in the Dock to select "Relaunch" that would be the only other attempt at troubleshooting the problem from what they have.

    best,

    LS
  • 13. Re: My Laptop Won't Start Up All The Way Anymore
    cornelius Level 6 Level 6 (17,825 points)
    LS:

    That is why I asked about whether anything could be accessed at all. The idea would have been to Trash the Finder .plist. Not having a Finder. The only other option, at this point, would be to work with the Command line in Single User Mode. However, I am not a command line person and am not of much help there. However that might be something that could be tried. Maybe we can get the OP to create a new account in Single User Mode and see if the issue persists there. Let me do that now.

    Thanks for the idea.

    cornelius
  • 14. Re: My Laptop Won't Start Up All The Way Anymore
    cornelius Level 6 Level 6 (17,825 points)
    Anthony:

    One last thing to try. For some reason we can't access the Finder, and we are not able to get into the computer do try to fix that. The procedure outlined in the link I am about to post will get the computer to bring back the setup Assistant. You can then create a new Admin Account and we will see if that makes the Finder available. Type the commands exactly as they are written including the spaces. Don't worry about the note about the BSD system as your system is practically useless as it is. Here is the link: Making the Setup Assistant reappear.

    cornelius
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