6 Replies Latest reply: Oct 5, 2006 8:52 AM by MGW
Gerald Schultz II Level 1 (55 points)
Hello All:

I'm still having an issue with resetting the PRAM on my iMac. I asked about this back in July and, again, thank you for all your responses. Here's what I find on MacFixIt to reset the PRAM:

"In order to reset both NVRAM and PRAM hold down the Command, Option, P and R keys at startup until you hear three startup chimes (this resets both PRAM and NVRAM)."

My problem is that I can't get the three chimes. With my Apple Bluetooth KB, I hold down the four keys and I can only get two chimes before Tiger starts to boot even though I'm still holding down the keys. Should I plug in my wired Apple KB and give it a try?

It's not a big issue but everywhere I read about resetting the PRAM states specifically 3 chimes. I've tried this reset about a half a dozen times and I can only get two chimes before the iMac reboots into Tiger. I've noticed that the first chime can be loud depending upon where I set the sound level and the second chimes is softer which implies that the PRAM was reset.

My iMac G5 works great and has had no problems, though I intend to maintain Applecare based upon what I have read here. This is not a big deal and I think my iMac is running fine. I'm just wondering if there is a solution to this quirky behavior.

Thank you for you comments and help.


20", 2 Ghz iMac G5 with ALS, Mac OS X (10.4.8)
  • mhunter Level 6 (9,185 points)

    In general, you are probably fine with the 2 chimes.

    The 3rd Chime just makes sure that it is really done.

    But, if the volume is changed on the second chime, then your PRAM has been reset.

    The third chime (at least in my opinion) is to make sure. And, in my case, I like to go for 4 and know that it's really done good

    But, if you want to be sure and go for 3 chimes, then yes plug-in your wired keyboard. Then you will definitely be able to get a third chime.

    I hope this helps.

    Let us know if you have other questions.

    P.S., if you'd like, go ahead and click the "Helpful" or "Solved" buttons on any of the posts / replies above if you feel they were helpful or adequately answered your question.
  • MGW Level 7 (27,025 points)
    Is there a particular reason you are resetting your PRAM? It's not a thing to be done as part of regular maintenance, only if your computer is misbehaving and resetting is warranted.
    mhunter is correct, if you use a wired keyboard you should get the three chimes, but I would advise against doing any maintenance regularly other than making sure the cron tasks are run and repairing permissions before and after an update.

  • Gerald Schultz II Level 1 (55 points)
    mhunter and MGW:

    Thanks for your responses. This PRAM reset issue started when my iMac had no sound on a reboot and I was trying to reset the PRAM to fix the issue. As it turned out, I had muted the sound and didn't realize that the computer would remain muted after a reboot.

    MGW, in your response, you mentioned: "the cron tasks are run and repairing permissions before and after an update." I'm not sure what cron tasks are but I believe they are scripts that the OS runs late at night to clear caches and such. I leave my iMac in sleep mode when I'm not using it and I don't know if these crons run when the iMac is asleep.

    I have a program (I don't remember the name and I'm presently at work) that allows me to run OS maintenance scripts manually but I always forget. So, should I turn off sleep mode and leave the iMac active all night? That seems like a pain. Is there a better solution?

    As background, when I did an OS update like 10.4.8, I wait a few days to make sure there are no major issues reported and use Superduper to clone my internal Mac HD to an external Firewire drive. Superduper fixes permissions on the system drive prior to doing the clone. So far I've had no problems with any of the updates (I always use the full update package, not the delta update as I've read about the problems it can have.) If there is a problem, I can return my system drive to it's original state and be confident that it's clean.

    I just thought of another question. Is SuperDuper a good way to defrag the system drive by cloning that drive to an external drive, booting from the external drive and then cloning it back to the internal drive?

    Thanks for your time and all the help you give everyone. I know my questions are pretty basic but this is my first Mac and I continue to learn about it daily.

  • MGW Level 7 (27,025 points)
    Gerry,the cron tasks (you're right about their purpose) now run after reboot, but you can use OnyX or Cocktail to run them automatically.

    Unlike Windows machines, Macs do not require defragging. Here's a link to an interesting article about defragging.

    This is the place to come if you have questions about Macs, you seem to have done a lot of rersearch already,so ask away...
  • Gerald Schultz II Level 1 (55 points)

    Thanks for the info. The program that I have to run the crons on my iMac is called TinkerTool System. I ran all the system maintenance tasks last night and it took around 15 minutes for everything to run, so my system needed it. There are many selections in this Marcel Bresink software like removing Caches, Font Cache files, Log Archives, Finder Info, Emulated Forks, Cups and Core Dumps and I don't understand it all yet.

    I've recently purchased a couple of Apple books, "Desktop and Portable Systems" and "Mac OS X Support Essentials" which covers OS X 10.4 and I hope to better understand how both the hardware and software works. I also looked at the link you sent me and I find it very interesting reading.

    Thanks again and I'll be doing some reading.

  • MGW Level 7 (27,025 points)
    Gerry, glad the link was informative,pretty soon you're going to be posting answers to other people's questions,


    P.S., if you'd like, go ahead and click the "Helpful" or "Solved" buttons on any of the posts / replies above if you feel they were helpful or adequately answered your question.