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Old May 9, 2012, 03:50 PM   #1
WOLFkraut
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iMac stuck on grey boot screen

Ok, this is my first post here, so I'm sorry if this isn't the place for this question.

What happened was a few a days ago I woke the computer from sleep and it was very slow and then just stayed on a black screen, so I restarted it and that was that, worked fine. Then today I was moving some files to a Win 7 virtual machine with some other apps open, it was pretty laggy (which I expected) and then just froze, so I left it a few minutes and saw it was still frozen so I restarted again... but now I'm stuck on a grey boot screen with the Apple logo with a spinny thing below. I only waited about 10 minutes before restarting again.

So what's going on here??? Do I just need to wait longer or is something wrong? I'm really scared to death because this same Mac's HDD failed about a year ago (thank god for Apple Care), but now warranty is up and a $300 repair is not possible... I just really can't go through that again.

It's a 2008 Core 2 Duo iMac with 2GB of RAM running OSX 10.5.8, by the way.
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Old May 9, 2012, 03:51 PM   #2
GGJstudios
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Mac OS X: Gray screen appears during startup
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Old May 9, 2012, 03:53 PM   #3
stridemat
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I took this from the Mac Guides page. Have you tried some of these?

Quote:
First, hold down the option key (also known as the alt key) just after you've pressed the power button. This should show all the available options to boot from, so if you have Windows installed through Bootcamp or a disk in your SuperDrive, you should be able to see them along with your OS X drive/partition. Select the OS X partition with arrow keys and press enter. Startup key combinations

If that doesn't help continue doing the steps from below:

1. SMC reset [4]. Shut down and unplug all cables including power cord for at least 30 seconds and then plug in power cord and keyboard/mouse.

2. PRAM reset [5]. Hold down option, command, P and R while booting. Start it when you hear the sound and don't let go before it reboots.

3. Safe boot [6]. Hold down shift while booting to boot into safe mode. If this works, open Disk Utility from Utilities and repair your permissions and verify the disk

4. Hardware test [7]. Insert the install disk (disk 1 in Mac which shipped with OS X 10.5.4 or earlier, disk 2 if shipped with OS X 10.5.5 or newer) and hold down "D" before the grey boot screen opens. Follow on screen instructions

5. Boot from install disk. Boot from the disk that came with your Mac. Hold C while booting. Select Disk Utility from top bar and repair permissions and verify the disk. Reboot normally and see if it works now.

6. Boot from another Mac (Firewire target disk mode). Connect the machines with a Firewire cable. Power on your Mac and press T. Select the other Mac's hard drive. Download the current OS X combo update. Run the combo update installer and select the drive that won't boot as the destination.

7. "Repair" OS X. Boot from the install disk as in point 5. and reinstall OS X. This should NOT erase any data, just replaces the system files which may have caused your booting problem. Now install the latest combo update for OS X and repair permissions on your drive with Disk Utility.

7.1. Install OS X into an external hard drive and then boot from it [8] and try to copy your data from the hard drive before proceeding. If you have done a backup recently, you don't have to do this.

8. Restore OS X from Time Machine backup. Boot from the disk that came with your Mac and choose the Time Machine restore option. This step will lose any changes made since your last backup but the system and your data will be put back to exactly as it was on that date.

8.1 Reinstall OS X. Boot from the install disk as in point 5. and select Disk Utility again. Now erase the whole hard drive and install OS X again. If you had a Time Machine backup and step 7 worked you don't have to do this.
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Old May 9, 2012, 03:53 PM   #4
WOLFkraut
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Originally Posted by GGJstudios View Post
Thanks for the tips guys, I had no idea what to be searching for.

Does anyone know what could have caused this? I mean I've had freezes when using VMs before which required a restart, but nothing like this ever happened.

Last edited by WOLFkraut; May 9, 2012 at 03:59 PM.
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Old May 9, 2012, 05:34 PM   #5
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Please help! I did a safe boot and it showed a lot errors and then just kept cycling and never started. Now I've used Disc Utillity (I can boot from the CD it seems) and repaired the disc and permissions, but now it just cycles through a blue screen. What thel hell is happening?
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Old May 10, 2012, 08:18 AM   #6
patricem
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Could your hard drive going out? This is what happened to me on a 2 yr old Imac. Do you ever get the flashing question mark? I had to hook up an external hard drive, load OS and now I run off that. Make sure you give it a LONG time before you power it off. (blue screen). Did you unplug it for 5 minutes then replug? I was shocked my hard drive went out so suddenly like that, I bought my mac refurb from Apple. I thought it would go forever like my emac did.
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Old May 10, 2012, 01:46 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by patricem View Post
Could your hard drive going out? This is what happened to me on a 2 yr old Imac. Do you ever get the flashing question mark? I had to hook up an external hard drive, load OS and now I run off that. Make sure you give it a LONG time before you power it off. (blue screen). Did you unplug it for 5 minutes then replug? I was shocked my hard drive went out so suddenly like that, I bought my mac refurb from Apple. I thought it would go forever like my emac did.
Oh dear god... If it does, Apple will go down in my book as the most unreliable computer manufacturer ever, I have a ten year old PC which still works fine, never needed a part replacement, but this Mac's drive has already failed once and now you're saying it might again?

However, before I get too judgemental of Apple, it doesn't have a flashing folder (I know because I saw that when the last drive failed) and also, things seem to be ok now. I did an archive and install and now things seem to be better, it will boot and I can use the computer, I've also restarted once and it worked properly. It is somewhat slower now, but I'm guessing that may be because of all the updates I need to do.
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Old May 10, 2012, 03:52 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by WOLFkraut View Post
Oh dear god... If it does, Apple will go down in my book as the most unreliable computer manufacturer ever, I have a ten year old PC which still works fine, never needed a part replacement, but this Mac's drive has already failed once and now you're saying it might again?
Please remember Apple doesn't make HD's they only install them in their computers. The fact that you have a 10 year old PC with the original HD just shows you have been lucky and if it's the HD on the iMac you have been unlucky. HD's are mechanical devices and they can fail within hours (I've seen it happen) or can last a decade. In short how long they last is luck to some extent. I have a 5 year old iMac with the oringinal HD that has never given me problems which means I've been somewhat lucky.

If you purchased AppleCare then it's a non issue, remember if you did and you have the same issue 3x Apple will generally replace the machine. If you don't have AppleCare then well maybe now you can see why it may have been a good decision.
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Old May 10, 2012, 04:06 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by rkaufmann87 View Post
Please remember Apple doesn't make HD's they only install them in their computers. The fact that you have a 10 year old PC with the original HD just shows you have been lucky and if it's the HD on the iMac you have been unlucky. HD's are mechanical devices and they can fail within hours (I've seen it happen) or can last a decade. In short how long they last is luck to some extent. I have a 5 year old iMac with the oringinal HD that has never given me problems which means I've been somewhat lucky.

If you purchased AppleCare then it's a non issue, remember if you did and you have the same issue 3x Apple will generally replace the machine. If you don't have AppleCare then well maybe now you can see why it may have been a good decision.
Fair enough, but when you've paid over a $1000 for a computer, you expect it to last.

Anyway, I do have AppleCare and used it on the last HDD failure. However, this computer was bought in 2008, so correct me if I'm wrong, AppleCare has expired for this computer?
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Old May 10, 2012, 04:11 PM   #10
Razorhog
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WOLFkraut View Post
Fair enough, but when you've paid over a $1000 for a computer, you expect it to last.

Anyway, I do have AppleCare and used it on the last HDD failure. However, this computer was bought in 2008, so correct me if I'm wrong, AppleCare has expired for this computer?
Yes, Applecare extends the warranty by two years for a total of 3.
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Old May 10, 2012, 04:20 PM   #11
WOLFkraut
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Yes, Applecare extends the warranty by two years for a total of 3.
Huh? I'm a little confused... If that's three years total, then didn't it expire last year? Maybe my math here is wrong, but 8 + 3 = 11 and the year is 2012. Plus, I'm pretty sure the guys at the Apple store said that I had been pretty lucky as my warranty was almost up when it failed.
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Old May 10, 2012, 05:13 PM   #12
Razorhog
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WOLFkraut View Post
Huh? I'm a little confused... If that's three years total, then didn't it expire last year? Maybe my math here is wrong, but 8 + 3 = 11 and the year is 2012. Plus, I'm pretty sure the guys at the Apple store said that I had been pretty lucky as my warranty was almost up when it failed.
So your Applecare expired last year. Why is that confusing? It is no longer under warranty.
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Old May 10, 2012, 05:16 PM   #13
bongozombie
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I Can Help!!! Please read this...

Hi there, I'm new on the forum but have lurked for a while..

This happened with my MBP only last week. if you search around there seem to be many pages dedicated to the grey screen problem, but no definitive answers except to re-install. It would seem that this is the only answer..

After running all of the tests that are endlessly quoted on these sites I was still unable to boot from HD or from the install disk. At this stage and taking all the advice I could find I assumed my HD was kaput.

Running a verbose boot showed an I/O error on disk0s2 plus some other gobbledegook which I can quote if needed, it seemed that somehow, something had got corrupted. So I tried running fsck in single-user mode, this came back as fine but it still refused to boot.

Next stop was the genius bar in Basingstoke where a very helpful chap called Ben reinstalled the OS from a network drive for me and all was well again, nothing lost, no new HD needed...

So... the system files had got corrupted, and given the amount of questions about this problem it seems to be as common a thing as re-installing Windows (something I used to have to do regularly) I'm surprised more people aren't aware of what is happening. Hence why re-installing sorts it out, but be aware that the problem could also affect access to the optical drive. Advice here is to have a bootable USB or disk image (I'm trying to create one but not having much luck yet )

My understanding is that if your HD is genuinely gone, then it will manifest itself differently on boot up - e.g. question mark or something else. It seems that when it is at the Apple logo with the spinning gear then it is trying to access system boot files, if you run in verbose mode you can see what it is doing, more than likely you may see the disk02 I/O error repeatedly - this is what is happening when the gear is spinning endlessly.

With respect to Applecare - I neglected to buy it on my previous MBP which proceeded to die of a logic board issue after 3 years. An expensive mistake... I bit the bullet and bought a new MBP in march 2011 but stupidly I didn't realise when my year was up and when the above problem happened I had to dig out the receipt which was when I realised that I was 46 days over the year. I attempted to purchase Applecare by phone that day, and was met with sympathy and help by the advisor and I honestly thought that Apple might be responsible or caring enough to let me buy further cover on a year old MBP. However the advisor tried but his senior got onto the phone and was the rudest person I have ever spoken to at Apple. In not so many words he might as well have told me to "F off", it was my fault, and showed no interest in helping me. I do accept that I was slack, but surely they can be a bit flexible to their users?

So effectively Apple are not prepared to support an expensive piece of kit that is only a year old. Even after attempting to pay for support they wouldn't let me, so are they admitting that it could go wrong? What is it to them to show support to a loyal user, the relative cost to them to fix a major MBP problem is effectively nothing, but to me it is the difference between being a happy customer, or losing £2000 as I did before, which I can't afford.

I have told Apple about my experience, if I hear back and anyone is interested I will let you know, but for now all is well and I have purchased cover through Domestic and General, which at £20 a month is pricey, but at least I have some piece of mind, something Apple are not prepared to do.

I should add that I wasn't charged for the re-install by the way..

Hope this helps someone, this was the information I was looking for but couldn't find..
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Old May 10, 2012, 05:31 PM   #14
WOLFkraut
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Originally Posted by Razorhog View Post
So your Applecare expired last year. Why is that confusing? It is no longer under warranty.
It's not. It just sounded like from the way you said that, that I still did, but the math said otherwise. Minor misunderstanding, sorry.

But yes, for anyone else reading this looking for a fix, it seems an archive and install (or a full re-install if needed) of OSX does the trick. We'll see if it stays that way, but for now the computer is working fine again. Hopefully it is not an HDD issue.
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Old May 10, 2012, 05:48 PM   #15
Giuly
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Originally Posted by WOLFkraut View Post
Oh dear god... If it does, Apple will go down in my book as the most unreliable computer manufacturer ever, I have a ten year old PC which still works fine, never needed a part replacement, but this Mac's drive has already failed once and now you're saying it might again?
You mean Seagate, Western Digital, Toshiba or Hitachi, but not Apple.

Hard drives fail. Sooner or later, but they fail. Usually, hard drives come with 5 years of warranty, so there is a chance that whoever build your hard drive is going to replace it free of charge for a new one.

If they don't, you might want to consider a Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB ($125) or 2TB ($208).

Instructions to replace the hard drive.

P.S.: Why is it again that you don't run Lion, or at least Snow Leopard?
P.P.S.: While you're at it, I'd invents those $55 an throw 4GB of RAM at it.

Last edited by Giuly; Nov 23, 2014 at 10:31 AM.
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Old Sep 6, 2013, 01:34 AM   #16
JI2
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I used option

"5. Boot from install disk. Boot from the disk that came with your Mac. Hold C while booting. Select Disk Utility from top bar and repair permissions and verify the disk. Reboot normally and see if it works now."

"Now the utility told me:
Checking catalog file.
Invalid node structure
the volume Macintosh HD could not be verified completely
volume repair complete
updating boot support partition for the volume as required
error: Disk Utility cant repair this disk... disk, and restore your backed up file."

So I was thinking of doing option 7 but I dont know if my case is still valid since I still have erorrs. Either way I'm going to try and back up the little files I saved on the HD just in case things go wrong but I was just checking to see if I should reinstall or reformat the HD and Install?
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Old Dec 2, 2014, 12:00 PM   #17
niclaa
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Deze all,

My i5 stopped working now and then, did the restart and tried all there is mentioned in the internet and never found that anything was malfunctioning but finaly the computer simply stopped.
I did see grafical issues (stripes/banners/blocks etc) now and then: my nephew commented that it could be the grafic card /chip: the solder used is water based not Tin based. Hè re-soldered THE chip onto the card: problem Solved.

Imac 27" 2,66 GHz, ATI Radeon HD 4850 512 MB. late 2009.
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