9 Replies Latest reply: Feb 7, 2011 3:31 PM by Noodle-head
Noodle-head Level 3 (680 points)
I can't get my Mac Pro started up any longer.
Grey apple, spinning gear.
Tried all I could find.
Posted some of this elsewhere but just got this added info after trying safe boot using shift-command-V:
disk1s2: I/O error
disk1s2: I/O error
disk1s2: I/O error.
and it keeps repeating that.
After about 20 or so of those, I get:
Jan 28 18:15:23 Localhost DirectoryService[11]: Launched version 5.8.1 (v514.27)"
Then more
disk1s2: I/O error
disk1s2: I/O error

I also get:
Jan 28 18:25:02 Localhost kernel[0]

I can't even get this to boot from my original install CD.
I hold option at start up and do see my older 10.4 and the installed CD, but when I select the CD, it just goes into that grey apple spinning gear mode again.

I'm running into brick walls at every turn.
Anyone have any suggestions?

Mac Pro & Powerbook G4, Mac OS X (10.5.8), Leopard runs on my G4 Powerbook!
  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 9 (56,691 points)
    Pull your Hard Drive out, to see whether its I/O Errors are interfering with Startup.

    Boot from the Installer DVD or the Diagnostic DVD.

    A Mac that cannot boot from an appropriate Installer DVD has a Hardware Problem.

    Run Hardware Diagnostics (long version).

    Try and figure out what is working, so that you can boot to some other System and Repair your I/O Error Hard Drive, if possible.

    A New drive is a lot cheaper than a computer repair if you have to pay for it.

    The Hatter would ask: Do you have a bootable clone you could use to boot up and Repair your I/O Error drive?
  • The hatter Level 9 (60,930 points)
    < bg >


    ... with the caveat, don't for trouble, get into preventative maintenance; multiple / redundant backups / Disk Warrior (and maybe another utility: TechTool Pro or DG3 / before you need Data Rescue 3.

    Oh, and SoftRAID 4, better driver for HFS+ volumes (non-RAID) that will help id and report weak and bad sectors. Before using a drive, consider scanning then, break it in and certify the full drive so you are sure.

    And make sure this is not RAM problem actually, even with ECC.


    But it sounds like all that is mute, and it is time for surgery and reload your files from safe backups or fresh, and build your system and data from the ground up all over.

    Seeing how OS X and HFS+ reports only a fraction of I/O errors and only the most severe... sounds bad.

    Something people don't always take into account: too many cooks are spoiling the soup - ie, having more than one background process/program checking disk or SMART and for temps and health and also get in each other's way, cost in performance and stability, and interfere, "less is more" and the lean-mean rule for rock solid system stability.

    People sometimes wonder what happened to performance, after installing all those widgets and tweaks. Even good ones might one to limit and choose just one.
  • Noodle-head Level 3 (680 points)
    Grant and Hatter
    Thanks for the replies and suggestions.
    I have not been able to boot from the installer CD. Same gray apple and spinning gear.
    I got radical, since I've been at this (in various stages of degradation) for days. And last night resorted to paying Apple for a one time service agreement. (Nice person pretty quickly agreed that I had already exhausted everything she would have had me do - consulted with another specialist who came back and told me to take it in to a store).
    With nothing to lose, I just left the side door open and began pulling the internal drives and swapping bays, on the fly. Then I started pulling RAM.
    Eventually I got it to boot from my older OS10.4 which I still had on one internal drive - different from the one my main OS, Leopard, is on. But while in 10.4 the main drive was not mounting.
    I then resorted to pulling more RAM and trimmed it down to just the 2 original 512MB DIMMs (I had 4GB total from 2 other 512's and 2 1GB's)
    When I rebooted this way, from the 10.4 disk, I was startled at how fast everything started up. A fraction of the time it usually takes. AND, the main drive with Leopard on it did mount.
    I agree about new hards and had already bought 2 from Mac Connection (1TB WD Caviar Black and a 1TB Seagate Barracuda) but UPS failed to deliver due to snow, and now it's the weekend. Mac C said they would refund my 2-day shipping and try to get me an overnight delivery but I'm rural and not likely about to get a Saturday delivery. So Monday I should get them. I'll have some questions then about best approaches.
    When you say run Hardware Diagnostic - I only see an option to due that with my Disk Warrior - which I did do and it said no problem - back when I was still able to mount the main drive. Is there another Hardware Diagnostic to run?
    In any case - how would I go about "repairing my I/O error drive?" Disk Utility? Warrior?
    Hatter: can you expand on what you wrote (+"Oh, and SoftRAID 4, better driver for HFS+ volumes (non-RAID) that will help id and report weak and bad sectors. Before using a drive, consider scanning then, break it in and certify the full drive so you are sure+")
    I'm waiting to see if the store nearest me is open Saturday. Have to leave after that for the weekend so if anyone else resplies, I'll pick back up Sunday night.
    Thanks all.
  • The hatter Level 9 (60,930 points)
    RAM is one thing you never really want to skimp on the quality, there are just too many dangers and mysterious symptoms. Marginal RAM is BAD Ram and the curse of computers.


    Once cleared up and you have got some good quality RAM, you'll have to treat every file as questionable and even 'unsafe' for now. Rebuild your system, data from ground up. Scan files for problems.

    I suspect the old "garbage out" got to your system and resulted in dirty files. Once that is taken care of and resolved you should be on solid footing.

    As for the rest, I do feel TTPro and Disk Warrior plus SuperDuper are good to have - you don't want a mechanic with a one size wrench for everything.

    side note: sometimes two batches of RAM (same vendor even, just different batches) won't play nice and kick sand in the other's face.

    Hope your 3rd party RAM gets taken care of pronto. And I keep mine running cooler with boost to the fans. Early FBDIMMs tended to ran much warmer, and surprise to learn that many of the later 2GB (and 4GB) DIMMs were cooler and not hotter as might expect.

    Sorry I didn't think to ask about removing RAM in pairs, I should, it comes up from time to time, though usually begins with RAM showing half its normal size (say showing 512MB when should be 1GB).
  • Noodle-head Level 3 (680 points)
    Hello again.
    I received my two new drives and am about to install them, with the intention of cloning my existing drive (the one that is failing and has my main OS 10.5.8 on it) to one of them.
    Before I do so, I have read different suggestions about formatting a new drive in preparation.

    So...would you be kind enough to provide a bit more assistance?
    *Best method of preparing new drive-
    *How do I do what you call a Hardware Diagnostic? I don't know of such a function in Disk Utility. I do in Disc Warrior and I did run that, twice. It keeps telling me the drive is okay.
    *What exactly do you mean when you say "build your system and data from the ground up all over?"
    Are you suggesting that cloning is not advised?
    Thanks in advance.
  • The hatter Level 9 (60,930 points)
    Obviously you want to recover or backup your data, so clone the drive.

    Ground up: that would be build from a new clean OS install and then update, this is where I would then clone the system to #3 as a new backup you can keep handy, use for emergency etc.

    Install all the software and updates you need on your main system.

    Build your house with a good foundation, it was defective rivets that helped bring down the mighty Titanic.

    WD has Windows and Linux CD with Lifeguard.
    Disk Warrior has "drive diagnostic" which writes some smart data (with number of spare blocks it shipped with and how many mapped out).

    Disk Warrior has Preview so you can see before/after and even use that for copying folders/files.

    But an unstable system, that has been running on flat tire? probably damaged the rim that tire goes on. Or out of alignment front end.

    I like the cheap WD Black 640GB $69 as a nice size and decent system drive, 1TB for data, 1.5TB Green ($65) for backups.

    When you have time, then you can test, break in, and spend a few days letting you get to know and torture a drive and insure its good to go.

    Every drive needs two backups. Clones. The one you backup to, and a 2nd off line. Then maybe TimeMachine as well.

    System only needs to be cloned once a week or even less, but before making changes of any type.

    I wouldn't want you to migrate old user account prefs and data if there is a chance they are corrupt, need file repair. For which I use TechTool Pro to deal with. Tribackup 5 even copies and insures files have the correct ownership, and I use that for doing folder level synching.

    Drives that had I/O errors are not normal, and the old saying, you have to verify and test before you can trust. And you can't really trust the files without more work.

    I'd normally do 7-way write erase, but I have found even that to not pick up and map out bad sectors which WD Lifeguard Zero and Extended Test did. It also fixes other problems that I can't do in Mac OS but can in Windows or with a linux CD.
  • Noodle-head Level 3 (680 points)
    Thanks a lot Hatter. Your real world analogies are great. (I'm a trainer of counselors/child welfare workers/family therapy practitioners and always try to find similar real world examples for folks in training, to help them "get it." I personally learn best that way. So, again, thanks.

    I was hoping not to have to resort to such a tedious chore but, based on what I believe you are saying, I'll have to do a whole new install of Leopard from my CD, onto one of the new drives. Then gradually brings all my apps and prefs, etc. to a state where they were.

    BUT... I am facing two problems right now.
    I can't seem to boot from my Leopard CD. I am looking at grey apple and spinning gear (after having booted from my working Tiger internal drive, inserted the Leopard CD, clicked the install and it telling me I had to reboot.) The reboot is not happening. And, yes, the "bad" drive is yanked out. After 15 minutes or so I gave up and hit the power button to stop it. I'm trying again holding the C key and am, again, looking at grey apple, spinning gear.
    Any ideas why won't this thing just boot up from the CD? Is there another way to boot from a install disk? I continue to hold down the C key while the gear is spinning. At what point should I release it?
    The only consistently reliable thing going on here has been the ability to boot from the one internal drive with Tiger on it. But as soon as I add anything else....I sit watching and waiting.

    Last night I did manage to connect this Mac Pro to my older G4 laptop and start it in Firewire Disk Mode, salvaging some files. Is there a way do that and then somehow install Leopard on one of these new drives in the Mac Pro? (I did put in the new WD black, erased it, partitioned it Mac OS Extended Journaled, ran varify and repair, and the two partitioned volumes did appear on the desktop while I was in Tiger.) Removing that new drive would defeat my purpose since that's where I am trying to install a new OS.

    Dumb, dull, and getting duller. I've been at this for a full week now.
  • Noodle-head Level 3 (680 points)
    Thanks to all. All helpful.
    I'm almost ready to click "solved" but want to see if this last thing I'm trying does in fact work.

    I've done so many things over the past 8 days that it's too much to detail and hard to be sure which has been the fixer. Likely it's a combination of things.
    In short: I believe one of my hard drives; my install disk and some specific files all came together in a perfectly bad storm.
    While booted in Tiger, with side door open on Mac Pro, I slammed in what used to be my Main HD with Leopard. Surprisingly, it popped up. I grabbed what I could. Ran Disk Utility; Disk Warrior on directory, files and hardware. All said ok--but clearly is wasn't.
    I bought Super Duper and attempted cloning. In doing so, it failed, BUT, the failure log was very helpful in that it showed me where and when the failures were occurring. Then, I made files visible (using "InVisibles") went in and trashed those files. I kept repeating this until Super Duper succeeded in creating a clone, onto one of the new hard drives I had just installed. THAT clone actually allowed me to boot back into Leopard. Meanwhile, I used my laptop to create a disk image of the Leopard install DVD. I brought that over to this machine via a firewire external. I used disk utility to "restore" it to a partition on one of the new drives. I now plan to use that to install a new version of Leopard on yet another new drive. If that works I'll call this solved.
  • Noodle-head Level 3 (680 points)
    As I wrote elsewhere (since I started other thread as new, related problems emerged) Thanks to all for your responses and suggestions.
    How I solved this (got around it, really) was to use my laptop, with Leopard Install DVD in it, and using Disk Utility, I made a disk image of the DVD. I copied this to a firewire drive. I connected that drive to my Mac Pro. Then, using disk image, I "restored" the disc image file, designating one of the partitions I had created on a new internal drive. I was then able to boot from that partition, with the restored disk image of my install DVD. Since then I have been methodically rebuilding a system and working drive with all new installs of apps, etc. Tedious but healthy, I hope.