7 Replies Latest reply: Mar 9, 2012 12:16 PM by Michael Cucka
Michael Cucka Level 1 (5 points)

Just recently, I've been experiencing a startup problem with Lion. I don't usually have any issues running my Mac, so I'm at a loss why this is happening now.


I have an Intel Mac Pro running 10.7.3. I usually leaving my Mac running all the time and only restart when the need arises. In addition to being my main computer, this mac alsocontrols a MacMini that serves as a music server thru screen sharing.


This past weekend, I restarted my Mac and could not get past the grey screen. The mac chimes, the apple logo appears with the spinning gear, the blue screen briefly appears, but instead of progressing to the desktop it reverts to the grey screen with a repeating cycle of the spinning gear appearing (spins for a while, stops, disappears, reppears spinning, stops, disappears, over and over) - never progressing beyond that stage.


I decided to reinstall the system and things have been fine for the past few days. Today, restarting again resulting in the same problem.


I've tried several things without success. I disconnected all peripherals, reset the PRAM/SMC, ran Disk Utility from a install volume and ran repair and permissions (no problems reported). Tried safe mode startup - a progress bar appeared but never fully progressed and could not get to the desktop.


Recent changes included updating the OS to 10.7.3 and Adobe Photoshop CS5.5 - no recent hardware changes. No bluetooth devices connected.


Any thoughts? Thanks -

  • Linc Davis Level 10 (192,295 points)

    Back up all data, then boot from your recovery partition (command-R at startup) and 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.

  • Michael Cucka Level 1 (5 points)

    Thanks -


    I've reinstalled the OS today and am back up and running.


    But, since this is twice this has happened within the past week, I'm worried about might be causing this issue - besides bad luck. My Mac is usually rock solid - can't remember the last time I've had to reinstall the OS in the past few generations of OS X.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 (192,295 points)

    Reinstalling should rarely, if ever, be necessary unless you do something destructive. Your internal hard drive may be failing.

  • Michael Cucka Level 1 (5 points)

    Agreed, Linc -


    Can't think of anything destructive I do to my Mac :-)


    I've checked my HD's with Disk Utility, TechTool Pro, and Drive Genius and none are reporting any errors.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 (192,295 points)

    That doesn't rule anything out. Directory corruption on a journaled volume can only be caused by a drive malfunction. If it happens repeatedly, there's a hardware failure somewhere. Usually, but not always, that means the drive itself, but it can also be the SATA cable, the logic board, or RAM.

  • sunderpl Level 1 (0 points)

    Just wondering if the reinstall solved your problem or if you had trouble at start-up again in the last couple of weeks? I've been having the same issue and before reinstalling wanted to make sure that that will fix it. Thanks!

  • Michael Cucka Level 1 (5 points)

    Yes it did.


    However, I also wound up replacing the startup drive based on Linc's advice (above) since I was also getting some other weird issues even after the reinstall worked.