Previous 1 2 Next 20 Replies Latest reply: Sep 1, 2012 5:59 PM by Jillfromut
sadowskiii Level 1 Level 1

I have a Mac Pro that is stuck at the grey startup screen. Grey apple, spinning wheel. I let it spin for about half an hour and then went on to try other things. Every attempt still leaves me stuck at the spinning grey wheel.


So far I have tried:

Shut down, disconnected all cables, restarted with nothing connected. No change.

Reset PRAM to 3 chimes. No change.

Opened machine, removed RAM (3 1GB sticks) and HDs (2 1TB drives), replaced them. No change.

Tried booting from Mac Pro original CD. Nope.

Tried booting from Snow Leopard install CD. Nada.

Tried booting from Applications CD - was able to run Apple Hardware Test - no problems found.


Any ideas? The Mac is a Mac Pro 2.8 GHz Quad-core Xeon. Normally runs like a champ.

various, Mac OS X (10.5.6)
Reply by Grant Bennet-Alder on Apr 4, 2012 12:52 PM Helpful

Might be Bad Blocks on the drive. it will retry thousands of times attempting to get data that are correctable.

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  • The hatter Level 9 Level 9

    So where is your OS X DVD?


    Install OS X on a new drive and update to 10.5.8 or 10.6.8.

    This must be Early 2008 with OEM ATI 2600XT if you are running 10.5.6


    Boot from the new drive or even the DVD and see if it can fix and repair the directory.

    Invest in 3rd party program to clone or use Carbon Copy Cloner


    you can possibly import your files and apps from the old system once you have a functioning new boot drive.

  • sadowskiii Level 1 Level 1

    I can't boot up from my original Mac DVD, or Snow Leopard install DVD. If I hold down option at startup I can select the DVD, but then I still get stuck at the spinning grey apple screen.


    I have a time machine backup, but I can't get the Mac to the point where I could restore from that to a new HD.

  • sadowskiii Level 1 Level 1

    So..... I left the grey wheel spinning for about a half an hour, on another attempt to startup from my original Mac DVD. It finally loaded! I am checking my HD now using the Disk Utility. It is crawwwwwling along, estimated time 1 hour 23 minutes. I will update this post w/results after it's done...

  • sadowskiii Level 1 Level 1

    The disk utility didn't find any problems with the drives. I rebooted and got the grey apple, without a spinning wheel this time. Let it sit. It rebooted itself after about 20 minutes, came up with the grey apple again, then rebooted itself after 20 minutes. Back to the grey apple.


    Now I am starting up in Verbose mode... just going incredibly slow. It will display a few lines of text then pause for 5-10 minutes, then a few more lines of text. Not sure if it is locked up.


    Does this sound like an internal hardware problem at this point? Motherboard?

  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 9 Level 9

    Might be Bad Blocks on the drive. it will retry thousands of times attempting to get data that are correctable.

  • X423424X Level 6 Level 6

    You said you booted the AHT disk with no problems and no problems were found so that is a point against it being a hardware problem (just 1 point, not totally conclusive).


    Have you done the usual smc and pram resets?


    Blown all the dust out?


    Reseated all the pci cards?


    If you can get booted again run rember (a GUI on top of memtest) to check memory with it.  It has some checks AHT doesn't have.


    If you have a backup of your boot drive it wouldn't hurt to remove the current boot drive and use the backup as a test.

  • sadowskiii Level 1 Level 1

    It's locking up even with the hard drives completely removed and trying to boot from DVD.

  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 9 Level 9

    My Opinion about Mac Pro and memory testing:


    While testing the memory is a very good idea on "regular" computers, the Mac Pro is special. It uses Error Correcting Code (ECC) memories, unless you have deliberatley defeated that feature.


    Single-bit errors are corrected by Hardware "on-the-fly" without substantial slowdowns, and uncorrectable double-bit errors are intended to cause a Kernel Panic. Unless you are trying to isolate a known memory problem, running memory tests on a Mac Pro is unlikley to yield any results at all.

  • X423424X Level 6 Level 6

    I just take your word on that.  I can't debate it.

  • sadowskiii Level 1 Level 1

    I did reset PRAM and SMC, yeah.

    I unseated the hard drives and ram and reseated them. I haven't blown out the dust or done anything else inside the Mac. I'm not really sure what else inside I should be messing with...


    My only backup is a time machine backup drive - nothing bootable.

  • X423424X Level 6 Level 6

    You said you could boot from your installer dvd but it took a long time to boot.  So if you remove you boot drive and try to boot from the installer dvd how long does that take?  If it is quicker (dvd booting isn't that fast anyhow) then that may be another indicater that your boot drive is failing in some way.

  • The hatter Level 9 Level 9

    Parity errors are / will show up - if you look.


    AHT only looks for issues like parity error. And parity errors cause "garbage" in and out and bad data.


    OS X I am finding on Boot Camp forum will "miss" where RAM is not seated properly or is even such that it FAIL a memtest run.


    IBM has their Chipkill ECC - a mere 10x more costly than what us mere mortals use.


    We have had people, no memory 'errors" but that had real weird system symptoms and problems that went away when the RAM was replaced. But not obvious in any way.


    So I go for the "trust but verify" with anything, whether bad blocks or whether the video card is seated properly.

  • sadowskiii Level 1 Level 1

    It is looking like it's a problem with my boot drive after all. I swapped it into a different Mac and it's having the same problem.

  • sadowskiii Level 1 Level 1

    It does look like it's a problem with the boot drive after all. I put it in a different machine and it won't boot from the drive. I must have been too hasty earlier when trying to boot from the DVD with no drives in the machine.

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