Okay, I've read every detail of this mongo thread and I suspect that I am also running into a video card issue, but none of my specs are the same as the ones listed here. I'd like to run them past any of you and see if I'm missing something before I start researching what to buy/install for a replacement.
Model - MacBookPro5,1
Processor - 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
Memory - 4GB (2 2GB DDR3)
Video 1 - NVIDIA GeForce 9400M
Video 2 - NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT
Endless spinner at grey startup screen
Only boots in safe mode
Spotlight searches not returning valid queries (safe mode)
Slow (safe mode)
Some web pages not working
Power on self test - pass
Disk Utility - Verify disk - pass
Memory check - pass
Virus/Malware check - pass
My machine was working fine. I have no weird video glitches during the stalled loading screen, safe mode loading screen and while using safe mode. The issue occured when I tried to do a Java update and after installing the update and starting the required "system restart" it never restarted properly again.
Here's the clincher, I have no recovery, backups or OS disks. I am trying to locate a disk that I can borrow from a friend. I was on a family plan, divorced since, and do not really have the money to upgrade, replace or otherwise add to this computer. In the past, my ex husband did all the recommended backup and maintenance on the machine, so I am very overwhelmed with where to start. Yes, yes, I have been a terrible procrastinator in doing this research and deserve a thousand lashes. I do have a time machine, but I've never connected or tried to use it because I read a bunch of forums stating serious issues with the version of time machine I have and my OS version. I was waiting to buy Lion and start using it from there.
It's imperitive that I find the lowest cost solution to get the machine in working order again. I am currently unemployed and need the machine not only to find work, but also to do projects that help improve my chances for future employment.
-Can my video card really be burning out so soon? I've always used a cooling fan for my machine and rarely do anything graphics intensive other than Photoshop CS5. I don't even watch video on it often. I watch the core temp and it averages 140degrees. When it creeps up to 180, I give the machine a rest and/or reduce the number of apps I have running.
-Will the same video cards suggested here work with my machine?
-Can someone point me to a simple forum post on data/application backup, restoration and other basic maintenance procedures? I've tried googling and I just get overwhelmed with all of the differing opinions and information.
-Should I throw caution to the wind and just start using this time machine anyway, prior to digging around and trying to fix this issue?
Thank you in advance for your help. I considered starting a new thread, but I think my symptoms are so similar that it belongs here with the rest of the comments.