3 Replies Latest reply: Feb 11, 2013 5:02 PM by BGreg
leslie197 Level 1 (0 points)

I had a number of kernel panics a few days ago.  Now have grey screen at startup for about 20 minutes. Did everything apple suggested and now am stuck at disc utility.  It only allows me to verify disk permissions for the OS installation disc.  When I do, I get error message: the underlying task reported failure on exit.  Any suggestions?  I can't even use apple support as the computer was manufactured over 5 years ago even though I have only had it for 4.  I don't live anywhere near an apple store.

iMac (20-inch Early 2009), Mac OS X (10.5.8), Grey screen start up issues
  • BGreg Level 6 (17,495 points)

    If you're getting a failure on exit message, that sounds like you were either able to run a verify disk, or more likely were able to boot from your original OS X DVD, bring up Disk Utility, and run a repair disk. If Disk Utility can't fix a disk error, it usually gives a message and then says "failure on exit".


    One of two situations exist ... either there is a data issue with the structures on the hard drive, which can usually be fixed by Disk Warrior or TechTool Pro, with Disk Warrior being the more popular solution. However, Disk Warrior can't repair an issue that is caused by a hardware problem. In that case, you can try zeroing the hard drive by writing zero's to the surface and restoring from a backup, or you can just get a new hard drive. Writing zero's to the hard drive may be a temporary, not long term, solution.


    Have you tried to run the Apple Hardware Test? Run the extended test when prompted, and the test can take over an hour to run.

  • leslie197 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks, Greg. I just ran the extended hardware test and no problems were found.  Should I erase and reinstall?

  • BGreg Level 6 (17,495 points)

    I would use Disk Utility to do a secure erase by writing zero's to the hard drive, then do your installation, followed by any restore needed from backup. If that completes, download SMART Utility and see what it says about the health of your hard drive.


    Or you can spend $99 and buy Disk Warrior, too.