Hi The hatter, Thanks for your reply.
It is a Mac Pro 2.93 GHz Quad-Core Intel xeon with 6 GB Memory. Bought brand new about 15 months ago.
I'm not sure what it is looking for - today I switched on and waited 6 min - still no startup chime (so in effect no startup) I held power key to shut down and a couple of min later tried again - this time chime came on in about 2 min.
While waiting for the chime to come on - I can just hear fans whirring up and down - power light is on - no flasing - once chime comes on - the screen is up quite quickly and everything seems ok.
I have done Apple Hardware Test - all ok
I have taken out all cables apart from Display, keyboard & Mouse - no difference
Take it in unless there is something you/we aren't seeing like an old or underpowered UPS or a bad PSU or other hardware issue. You took out and reseated the graphic card too - which one do you have? GT120? 4870? other?
Pull all the hard drives, easy enough, how long until the "?" comes on screen?
When did you last replace the boot drive or format it? And last repaired the drive? You don't have Lion Recovery so while you can use 10.6 DVD to repair I prefer a small maintenance emergency boot volume instead that would be current OS version and drivers.
AHT does not find issues users expect like graphic card and even some or many RAM DIMM issues.
I have the 4870 - but I am a novice when it comes to the inside of a computer.
I reset SMC as you suggested - it took about 1.5 min to hear the chime!
The other day (because I was having the chime problem) I thoroughly cleaned the inside of the Mac (1st time I have opened it) and re-sat the 3 memory cards - but no change!
Not sure what you mean about replacing/format the boot drive - sorry I am not up on technical stuff.
What do you suggest I should now try?
Pull the disk drives like I said?
Got a spare drive? everyone should. Do a full wipe erase and install on it.
Or clone your existing system, but you will need a disk drive for that even.
Surely you have used and launched Disk Utility and seen some of what the window tabs present? to repair permissions, to verify and repair the disk drive, as well as from ERASE or PARTITION.
And always there is first step on bad shutdown or freeze or issue, the Safe Boot.
How to clone your system:http://www.macperformanceguide.com/blog/2012/20120711_2-MacPro-internal-clone-ba ckup.html
About Disk Utility
Popular recommendation in disk drive for system WD Black 1TB $99
You could even partition 30GB (better to have it elsewhere, a TimeMachine backup drive is actually excellent to have a small boot OS partition).
To clone your system means you have working copy - just swap drives and go.
1.5-3TB WD Green backup drive
I changed the pram battery - no change. To change the battery I had to move and reseat the graphics card.
Are you saying back up everything on my hard disk to an external hard drive and then erase/wipe clean my hard disk and re-install everything back on from the external hard drive? If so - why am I doing this? what will it achieve?
Could it be software problem or even font problem that can cause this type of issue?
One suggestion The hatter made above is to remove ALL Hard drives and set them aside.
Then power on and see how long it takes to chime and come on (to a blinking question mark). This eliminates hard drive issues from the process.
-- If it still takes minutes, you may need to fiddle with your RAM Memory.
-- If it takes a quarter minute or less, the problem is in the drives.
Thanks for your reply.
I use my Mac Pro for my Graphic Design work - I have never been one for working 'inside' a computer but I suppose the Mac Pro makes this reasonably easy.
Your solution is explained in a non jargon way, and for me that is very much appreciated. We need more helpers like you.
I am going to try your solution and will let you know how it goes.
Sorry that "boot drive" seems to be foreign concept or word.
No need or way that dust in a 2009 Mac Pro and startup chime would be related.
Zapping PRAM is sometimes all that is needed and that while very old been around for decade plus, SMC Reset if you don't also press the power button while unplugged is not really an effective but is useful.
Power outages, storms and other acts of nature can be harmful if you don't put your equipment, even modem, TV And other devices, running off UPS - they are more than just for power outages.
My trouble is there is learning curve, 20 questions, and no way to know what someone has done, knows, and might have trouble with.
Pulling the drives out is child's play. They are meant for that and is a good first step. And yes Grant is good with making things more English. Even though I taught programming concepts it often took months before new people began to stop thinking a disk drive as memory and yet that is where virtual memory resides.
Stripping the system down you did do, but just not with the hard drive, system drive, boot drive - call it what you want it is where the OS is and boot sequence looks at any and all drives, and a corrupt disk drive can even prevent booting from a DVD OS X Installer at times so removing it is necessary. It is DIY to upgrade and add disk drives and hopefully you have all four drive bays filled with data, backup, system and more.
Cloning is your system's insurance policy.
Off line and external and not on or connected when not needed.
Two. So one being backed up that is online, and 2nd on the shelf.
then recycle or something.
That is one safety net and should be done only as needed for the system.
Keep the system and data separate drives.
Let TimeMachine and clone both so you have your data safe.
Never have all your eggs in one basket and where they could be lost.
After a year or two replace your current drives and use the old ones for backups.
This will protect modem, surges, outage, and take some of the work load off the PSU so it is getting good cleaner power and doesn't have to do any work to regulate as much even though a PSU is designed for that. And PSU and UPS both, age and slowly degrade over time - buy more than actual wattage you need.
My Mac Pro has taken a beating and wear on the outside but it still works probably better than it use to.
And for dust? skip canned.
Metro Vacuum ED500 DataVac 500-Watt 0.75-HP Electric Duster 120-Volt
Was it you that said you have 4870? or just me asking? if so, the 5770 is a noticeable improvement for it.
ATI Radeon 5770http://www.amazon.com/Apple-ATI-Radeon-5770-MC742ZM/dp/B003Z6QH6M
MacPro manuals and support:
Starting the computer in "safe mode": Mac OS X: What is Safe Boot, Safe Mode?
To identify potential hardware problems: Apple Hardware TestGeneral Mac maintenance: Tips to keep your Mac in top form
First, if at all possible make a backup of the drive in its present configuration. If something goes wrong during repair attempts and makes things worse you will have a backup. You will have to decide how to work this in the light of any present backups you may have, for example, a backup that may be a few days out of date. In that case you may want to keep that one and make a second backup of this as they are now, though I realize people often don't have a lot of empty drives sitting around.
Boot from the System Installer disc that came with your computer or is the one for the version you currently have on there, select language if applicable, choose utilities, run Disk Utility and verify (and repair if necessary) the drive. You can verify a drive from DU on your main drive while booted but I have found this can result in incorrect reporting of errors. To repair your drive you have to run it from a drive other than the boot drive anyway.
Next, boot from your drive in Safe Mode (http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=107393) and repair permissions. You can repair permissions while booted from the installer disc but this uses the permissions configuration on the installer disc which may be out of date if you have run any updates on your computer. Booting your computer to Safe Mode restricts the number of things running on your computer while permissions are being run and does a bit of spring cleaning at the same time.