Previous 1 2 Next 15 Replies Latest reply: Apr 28, 2014 1:04 PM by Jewood20
Fred Wu Level 1 (55 points)

I recently got a 2010 2.8ghz quad-core Mac Pro.  It has Mountain Lion installed (10.8.2).  For some reason, when I try to shut down, it seems like it shuts down with the display turning off and the fans audibly stopping, but the light on the front of the Mac Pro stays on with a continuous, non-pulsing glow.  During this time, the Mac is essentially unresponsive.  Pushing the button does nothing.  The only option is to hold down the power button until the machine shuts down completely.  I tried searching for this problem, but all the other threads are in regard to situations where the spinning wheel keeps spinning indefinitely.  This is different because the wheel spins, then the computer seems to shut down except for the light staying on.  It goes to sleep just fine.  I tried resetting the PRAM with no luck.  Any suggestions?

  • The hatter Level 9 (60,930 points)

    Q: Do you have any upgrades to hardware like PCIe storage controller installed?


    Sleep and shutdown issues are easy enough to find posted. Waking from sleep issues, trouble powering up,



    Troubleshooting: My computer won't turn on



    If your Macintosh computer won't turn on, here's how to troubleshoot it. Please keep in mind that although your computer may display similar symptoms that prevent it from showing video, this article discusses what to do if the computer won't turn on, meaning that when you press the power button:

    • You don't hear a startup chime.
    • You don't hear any fan or drive noise.
    • The power button or power indicator doesn't light up at all.
    If your computer doesn't display any video, it may display one or more of these similar symptoms when you press the power button:
    • You may hear a startup chime.
    • You may hear fan or drive noise.
    • You may see the power button or power indicator light up.

    If any of these conditions occurs, see Troubleshooting: My computer has no video instead.




    Some stay with or dual boot 10.6.8 (Rosetta, legacy apps, more compatible and fewer issues) running 10.8.2 seems to cause trouble for some that go back to or dual boot both 10.6.8 (any Mac Pro can use to boot from) along with 10.8.x (to have current apps, security updates, support for iDevices and such).

  • Fred Wu Level 1 (55 points)

    Thanks, Linc - Tried resetting the SMC but it still "pretends" to shut down while the power light stays on unless I hold down the power button.

  • Fred Wu Level 1 (55 points)

    Thanks, hatter. There is nothing installed that didn't ship with the Mac Pro, and nothing is attached right now other than the USB Apple keyboard.  The specific link in your reply is not really relevant to me as the computer will start up fine once it's completely shut down.  It just isn't getting to that point unless I hold down the power button.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 (192,431 points)

    Make a "Genius" appointment at an Apple Store to have the machine tested.

    Back up all data on the internal drive(s) before you hand over your computer to anyone. If privacy is a concern, erase the data partition(s) with the option to write zeros* (do this only if you have at least two complete, independent backups, and you know how to restore to bare metal from any of them.) Don’t erase the recovery partition, if present.

    *An SSD doesn't need to be zeroed.

  • Fred Wu Level 1 (55 points)

    Thanks, Linc - I would have done that already if the Applecare weren't expired.  Will the geniuses at least do a diagnostic on it even if it's not covered anymore?

  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 9 (56,570 points)

    An appointment at the Genius Bar for an evaluation is FREE, regardless of warranty status. If repairs are needed, you are under no obligation to have them do them.  If possible, Apple wants you to be a happy customer.


    Your time with the genius may not be "exclusive". It is more and more common for them to be servicing overlapping customer appointments to make use of "dead time" while diagnostics run, software downloads, and re-installs are happening.

  • Fred Wu Level 1 (55 points)

    Thanks, that's good to know.  I just realized, actually, that it won't restart either.  It does the same thing where the screen goes blank like it's about to chime and restart, but the chime never comes.  Instead the power light remains on and the machine won't respond to anything until I hold the power button down to force shutdown.  No spinning dots on screen or anything.

  • Fred Wu Level 1 (55 points)

    Looks like the fans are still blowing (quietly) while the front light is on, but nothing else is happening.  I guess I will have to bring it in.  Thought it would be an easy fix.

  • Fred Wu Level 1 (55 points)

    Interesting thing, I decided to reinstall Mountain Lion yesterday so I booted up to the recovery partition, and after it finished downloading all the necessary files, it rebooted to start the installation and that went just fine, so it IS capable of rebooting.  After the reinstallation, though, I still can't reboot or shut down from within Mountain Lion, even after creating an entirely new account.  I might have to try a clean install if I can figure out how to do it.  The restore partition did not give me that option.


    Nobody has any idea what is going on?  If it can reboot from the recovery partition, it seems like it is more likely to be a software problem than a hardware problem, correct?

  • Linc Davis Level 10 (192,431 points)

    If you have more than one user account, these instructions must be carried out as an administrator.

    Launch the Console application in any of the following ways:

    ☞ Enter the first few letters of its name into a Spotlight search. Select it in the results (it should be at the top.)

    ☞ In the Finder, select Go Utilities from the menu bar, or press the key combination shift-command-U. The application is in the folder that opens.

    ☞ Open LaunchPad. Click Utilities, then Console in the icon grid.

    Step 1

    Make sure the title of the Console window is All Messages. If it isn't, select All Messages from the SYSTEM LOG QUERIES menu on the left.

    Enter "BOOT_TIME" (without the quotes) in the search box. Note the timestamps of those log messages, which refer to the times when the system was booted. Now clear the search box and scroll back in the log to the last boot time when you had the problem. Post the messages logged before the boot, while the system was unresponsive or was failing to shut down. Please include the BOOT_TIME message at the end of the log extract.

    Post the log text, please, not a screenshot. If there are runs of repeated messages, post only one example of each. Don’t post many repetitions of the same message. When posting a log extract, be selective. In most cases, a few dozen lines are more than enough.

    Please do not indiscriminately dump thousands of lines from the log into a message.

    Important: Some private information, such as your name, may appear in the log. Edit it out by search-and-replace in a text editor before posting.

    Step 2

    Still in Console, look under System Diagnostic Reports for crash or panic logs, and post the entire contents of the most recent one, if any. In the interest of privacy, I suggest you edit out the “Anonymous UUID,” a long string of letters, numbers, and dashes in the header of the report, if present (it may not be.) Please don’t post shutdownStall, spin, or hang logs — they're very long and not helpful.

  • Fred Wu Level 1 (55 points)

    Hi, Linc - Thanks for your help.  I took your earlier advice and brought the Mac Pro in to the Apple Store after backing up my personal files.  They ran some diagnostics and said the hardware seems to be fine, so we did a clean install of Mountain Lion and everything is back to working the way it should.  Don't know what I might have done to mess up the system files.  A simple reinstall didn't work, but erasing the boot drive and then installing from scratch did the trick!  Thanks to everyone for their input!

  • Tom Kirsch Level 1 (0 points)

    I want to weigh in on this discussion since I have had a shutdown problem with my MacPro Quad (Late 2009) since early days of OS10.6 (Case # 147603351, 1-6-10). It wasn’t so much a problem with shutdown but rather my computer would restart rather than complete the shutdown and turn off. All the recent troubleshooting mentioned here I have done over the years.  With each succeeding OS update I thought Apple would have solved the problem.  It has been frustrating since the problem was intermittent – say every third shutdown it would occur, until 10.9.2 (2-17-14) that is.  Now the shutdown would hang and I would have to hold down the power button – still it wouldn’t do it every time. I have never experienced, as this thread noticed, a failure of my Mac to start up.


    This month I got more aggressive to solve the problem.  My empirical solution is to deactivate automatic Time Machine backups.  I tried all of Topher Kessler’s  ‘Mac ‘General Maintenance’ recommendations” (MacFixit – CNET Reviews, 5/24/10) including OnyX for OS 9.2 to clear cache, etc.  One thing I didn’t do (and am adverse to doing) was to perform a clean install of 10.9.2.  Other troubleshooting threads in this community have challenged startup items such as iTunes Helper, EyeTV helper and Dropbox (me) as being the cause. In fact look at SystemReport/power and you will see TM and EyeTV schedules for startup listed.  Deleting the startup items in Systems Prefs/User & Groups nor did performing the additional troubleshooting guides solve with my recent shutdown hanging problem but the hatter’s question to Fred Wu got me thinking. “Do you have any upgrades to hardware like PCIe storage controller installed?” Yes.  I recently added a 4TB eSATA HD and controller (10-31-12) that I now use with Time Machine as my main Mac Pro backup.  This replaced my 2TB Time Capsule (12-27-09) that I now use with my MacBook Pro.


    Over the last three days I have added back all startup items and performed five successful shutdowns without a hang. My system takes 20-25 seconds to completely shutdown (I can hold my breath that long). Now I will perform manual backups or will turn on TM for the day and just before I shutdown for the night turn it off.  For years I have closed all apps before shutting down thinking open apps would cause the shutdown routine to hang but all my successful shutdown tests have been with apps running. One day I might try reopening all apps running at the time of shutdown and select that little check box but I don’t want to push my luck.  Thanks to Fred Wu and the hatter for asking the questions.

  • Tom Kirsch Level 1 (0 points)

    Update:  A week later after eight complete shutdowns my computer reverted back to restarting rather than completely shutting down - the original problem.  Obviously my empirical troublshooting is "bogus."  I have now performed a clean install of OS X10.9.2. The first shutdown with the new install was flawless.  I have yet to have Time Machine running though.

Previous 1 2 Next