Every DIMM slot on every riser card has a little red LED on it that flashes at Startup, then turns off. If it ever comes On again, the module next to it is BAD.
The side door is not interlocked, and can be removed while your Mac is running. There are no hazardous Voltages accessible to your unaided fingers, but components may be HOT.
While in there, make sure that fans are spinning.
forgot to mention i had two pair of ram sticks(both of which work fine with no lights at any time other than that flash at startup), and ive tried each pair invidually. All fans are spinning.
I think the key somehow to all this, is how exactly i can replicate the behavior. every single time i boot it locks up in the same exact place, at the same exact time. the mouse never moves from the upper left hand corner. The keyboard never gets to type anything or even turn the caps lock light on. I checked with a volt meter and power is getting to the usb port . but things like pressing option or shift at start up do not appear to be working (which means that i have probably not suceeded in reseting the pram. I also dont hear a startup chime.
the screen more or less looks like this (althought i have a different name, picture ect) http://i.i.com.com/cnwk.1d/i/tim/2012/07/05/BlackLoginWindowMask.png
Tommarow im going to try to make a ubuntu install usb stick, and see if i can use that to learn more, or even get this freaking thing to boot
That screen is very troubling.
It generally indicates a display card that has massively failed.
Except in the exact case Topher kessler descibed in the complete article that goes with that screenshot:
dang, i didnt even realize that, i just thought that was the background image. The screen im at has my name, picture and password field with a cancel button at the bottem but my regular background image in the back, with no graphics artifacts at all. Just to be sure ive already tried with two different gpus.
Thanks though Grant
On Topher Kessler's screenshot:
The correct presentation is a complete screen of linen-weave background, with the login stuff in the middle of the screen. The troubling part is the black stair-step blotches.
Run Apple Hardware test:
If you have your original Installer DVD set, Insert the disc that says, "to run Apple hardware test, insert this disc and hold the D key at Startup." Make sure your keyboard is plugged into a USB port on the chassis, not on a display or Hub.
When the Mac Pro is starting up in "normal mode", the screen is used brute-force in its simplest fashion all the way through system Initialization. Then the gear is done spinning, the Hardware-assisted display drivers are invoked. the screen turns all blue, then the desktop background is drawn.
Failure to make this transition casts serious aspersions on the display card.
Other things use the display card in its non-Hardware-assisted mode:
Safe Mode, which is ALWAYS indicated by words to that effect IN RED on the login screen.
Installer/Utilities DVD, which is so different cannot be confused with regular operation.
Recovery_HD, which is Installer/Utilities DVD without the DVD (it comes off a special 650MB partition on your Boot Drive).
heres a video of my issue including a my screen at the hang in lion , sorry about the file size, but at least you get some good detail on the screen.
I have been unable to get to safe mode in any OS, it seems like its not taking any of the normal pre-bootup keyboard shortcuts like option, shift, verberose and so on or even go into the recovery disk mode. I dont have an original disk for this thing sadly so i havent been able to try that. interestingly enough, sometimes after hanging i do hear some HDD activity for a few seconds after, and then after that i do hear an occational seek every 30 seconds or so.
Thanks again for your help Grant
I don't think your display card is the issue.
I do not recognize the black round-rectangle that appears in the center of the screen with some letters in it before the gray Apple. Is that your display-maker's logo?
The Andromeda galaxy is drawn with the Hardware Assist ON. So its appearance says your display acceleration Hardware is basically working.
To use the "snag keys" at Startup, your wired keyboard must be wired directly into a USB port on the Chassis, not a Display or a Hub.
You should try to get into Safe Mode by holding down the Shift key.
yes that box with blue text is from my display. and i knew i was forgetting something in that last post but yes ive tried 2 different keyboards each plugged directly into the mac pro case, on both the front and back :/ I tried just holding shift, repeatably hitting it, waiting till when i think the startup tone should have gone off (but never dose) then holding down shift .
Try pulling out all the Hard drives and holding the Option key at Startup.
That should get you the blue or gray Startup Manager screen. Your Mac would normally draw an Icon for each drive, and then the Eject key is "live". See if it will open the DVD reader drawer. If that works, try booting from the 10.6 Installer/Utilities DVD.
If all that works, one of the EFIBoot hidden partitions on one of your drives is probably damaged. Try the same thing with one drive at a time installed to see which one is the problem.