Black Screen with Pointer

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Texas_Toast, May 26, 2018.

  1. Texas_Toast, May 26, 2018
    Last edited: May 26, 2018

    Texas_Toast macrumors 6502a


    Feb 6, 2016
    You can't make this stuff up...

    So I have a brand new 13" 2015 Retina MBP that I never got to use - when I bought it back in 2016 - because of a family emergency.

    I finally tried setting it up - with privacy and security in mind - back in January and now over the last two weeks, but each time have run into all kinds of trouble as discussed in this thread...

    I think I'm ready to send that laptop back to Apple because I'm certain it has a bad hard-drive and/or logic board.

    Trying to keep moving forward, I decided to take advantage of the long Memorial Day weekend to try and get a DIFFERENT laptop set up with privacy and security in mind. (I bought a *mint* used 13" 2015 Retina MBP last October?? from a reputable company in the Midwest.)

    But no... The Apple gods have it out for me!

    So I plugged in and turned on this immaculate used 2015 Retina MBP and there was a PDF that appeared explaining how they had created a default user account, and instructions on how to get started. (Nice touch and great for non-tech-savvy Mac users!)

    So after the two page document, I click on System Preferences to see what account(s) exist, and as I'm moving the mouse pointer my screen suddenly goes black, yet I can still see the pointer moving around...

    Let me stress, that it wasn't like the screen-saver came on while I was reading the open PDF.

    Instead my screen suddenly turned off while I was using this like-new Mac?!



    (It is also the same problem where @Fishrrman felt it necessary to start start insinuating that I'm incompetent and that it's all my fault...) :rolleyes:

    Sadly, the well-know company I bought this used MBP from is closed until Tuesday.

    And now my plans of re-building this machine from scratch to make it more secure just went out the window!!!

    I mean, F***, why would I dare spending all day setting up this 2nd MBP if there is something wrong with it from the get-go?

    I see a pattern here between two 13" 2015 Retina MBPs...

    I can see where I might of conceivably done something wrong re-building my NEW Retina over the last few weeks with my bootable installer, as I was doing ore advanced things. (Then again, everything I did was following advice from or you all here at MacRumors...)

    But this 2nd Retina came with the latest version of Sierra on it, and when I got it last October?? I did briefly start it up and seemed to work fine - even though I never used it after that.

    I was hoping I could get at least one of my two Retina MBP's working this weekend and finally get on with my life after TWO YEARS of waiting, but now I don't know what to do... :(:(:(

    Anyone with *CONSTRUCTIVE* suggestions are welcome!!

    That includes you, @Fishrrman, but please spare me sarcasm and insults, because all of these problems are NOT my fault!!

    I just seemed to be cursed with bad luck in my life... :(
  2. DeltaMac, May 26, 2018
    Last edited: May 26, 2018

    DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    First step for me, on any "new" Mac that I get: Boot up to the relevant macOS installer, and wipe 'er clean with Disk Utility, Restart, resetting NVRAM in the process, then reboot to the installer, reinstall macOS on the fresh partition.

    I don't care which wonderful seller did a gee-whiz install before I got it. There is no good reason to jump right in to a new user setup, assuming that the system is installed properly, when I did not do it myself. That's one of the reasons that I keep a collection of macOS installers, everything from 10.4 to most recent High Sierra.

    I do appreciate the "care" that some companies might take to make it simple for the uninitiated to get their "new" Mac up and running. But, I also don't make assumptions about how clean the install might be on that "new" Mac. So, it makes no difference where that Mac came from, I have my thumb drive, and I know how to use it. :cool:

    And, after YOUR struggles, you have a bootable macOS installer, all ready to go. Plug it in, reboot, wipe, reinstall macOS.
    Now finish up the setup, and go about your (computer) life.
  3. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Feb 6, 2016
    Hi DeltaMac!

    Thanks for the response, but here is the rub...

    I did follow all of your advice (and everyone else's advice) back in January and I learned all about bootable installers and made one.

    About two weeks ago I finally found time to re-build my new Retina and after a long weekend, I ran into the problems noted in the link in my OP here.

    So even though I rebuild my "new" Retina using a bootable Sierra installer, after I was all done, I ended up with an iffy rebuilt laptop.

    My plan for this long weekend was this...

    - Boot up the used Retina I bought last October.
    - See how it was set up.
    - Install CCC.
    - Clone this used Retina.
    - Then use my USB installer to re-install Sierra
    - Spend the weekend configuring (and hardening) this 2nd Retina just like I want it.

    But if the monitor goes black as I was surfing in System Preferences, then that makes me wonder if I have a HARDWARE issue...

    Trust me when I say that I am getting quite good with bootable installers, command line, and setting up Macs with Sierra!

    But I'm not very motivated to piss away another weekend only to get to the last steps (e.g. creating a "standard" user) and then run into hardware or software issues!

    I may not be nearly as experienced as many of you with macs, but I'm also not some soccer mom!

    I have had more issues with my brand new 2015 Retina and this 2n used 215 Retina than I have had in 10 years of being a Mac owner!!!

    (And God help me if I go buy one of Apple even more broken newer models...)

    It seems to me that my *new* Retina has a hardware issue.

    Not sure what is up with this used Retina, but I'm growing weary of spending all of this time doing things by the book only to end up with a non-working computer when I'm done.

    What are the chances my used Retina has some major hardware issue that didn't appear when I briefly booted it up last October?

    And what are the chances that Apple just has unstable firmware or an unstable OS in Sierra?

    I have no problem building my *used* Retina from the ground up - that was the plan for this weekend. But I do NOT want to spend all weekend re-building this *used* Retina if when I'm done it doesn't work or is "buggy"...
  4. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
  5. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Feb 6, 2016
    Can you re-post your question in that other thread, since these are separate issues?

    (FWIW, when I ran diagnostics, it said the hardware on my *new* Retina was okay.)
  6. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    I'm not sure why you are asking me to post a question in "that other thread"?
    I meant to ask about the MBPro referenced in this thread, not your other MBPro.

    So, I was assuming that you wanted to keep the two issues separate, without getting into a long conversation about both, when this thread should stay with only the one.

    My one suggestion (in reference to both MBPros):
    Upgrade ONE of your 2015 MBPros to High Sierra (or downgrade to El Capitan), so one is on a different macOS generation.
    Do as much as you can to make both the same setup, even though at different macOS generations.
    I expect that you will succeed with one - so use that good one as a guide to "fix" the other!
    The tricky part will be if both suddenly are working well, and you have to decide which one needs the "fixing"...

    Maybe that suggestion is a little bit tongue-in-cheek, but might help you go off in a different direction, and might just help you get back on the path to something like a normal Mac experience (you have heard about it... that mythical place where everything "just works!")
  7. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Feb 6, 2016

    I saw "new" in "newest" and thought you were asking about my "new" Retina. Misread what you were saying. My bad.

    Yes, I'd prefer keeping things separate.

    Funny you should mention that...

    While I was learning all kinds of new things at MacRumors, I wrote myself one hell of a guide on Sierra.

    The plan was to get one computer actually working with Sierra, so then I could teach myself High Sierra and write a guide on that.

    So I was going to do that anyways, but I sure would be happier if I could get Sierra working on one Retina first!!


    I think I'm still paying for "bad karma" in my former life, and the Heavens has sent @Fishrrman as my punisher! :D

    Back on topic...

    What do you think my screen going black while I was moving my cursor, and then getting a glowing black screen with just the cursor present is indicative of a hardware issue versus a software issue?

    In the past, I've had times on my 2011 MBP where when you opened up the lid or things went into sleep mode that I had a similar experience or where the screen just wouldn't come on. But in those cases it was a software glitch.

    What happened this morning on my *used* Retina freaked me out more because it was as if the monitor died or the power went off - even though it was plugged in.

    That is why I am leery of re-building my *used* Retina as I had originally planned to do this weekend.

    (Nobody wants to rebuild an old car when the engine is shot...)


    If my issue is just a software issue, then this webpage looks interesting...

    BTW, if I make those changes in single-user mode...

    1.) Are those changes made at an OS level or a firmware level?

    In other words, if I followed the steps in the link above AND THEN used my bootable installer to re-install Sierra, would that just wipe out what the link above suggests?

    2.) How do you modify these commands if you have booted up into the Recovery Partition?

    /sbin/fsck -fy
    /sbin/mount -uw /
    rm -f /Library/Preferences/
    rm -f /var/db/.AppleUpgrade
  8. DeltaMac, May 26, 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: May 27, 2018

    DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    It's software.

    Still software

    The commands just delete a couple of files, and does nothing at a firmware level. I suspect that those two files are a bit glitchy, and removing them would create fresh replacements on reboot, or do nothing at all when the file is simply a by-product of the install itself, and is not needed after the update is complete.

    Probably, so if it happens again, just run the same commands. Supposed to help with that, so you may get to do that after an update install (so would be a rare occurrence)

    You would need to change the commands to show the full path to the files --- but, why would you when single-user mode is right there, too. It is worth trying, but I wouldn't expect that to help if your particular situation is even slightly different from the kind of event those commands would help. Still worth the try.
  9. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Feb 6, 2016

    So you don't seem overly concerned with what happened to me today on the "new" *used* Retina, huh?

    Just move forward with reb-building it from scratch from my bootable installer and I should be good?
  10. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    Just a quick 2¢ from me...
    You appear to have had nearly identical software glitches (maybe you could call it stuck on boot?) on two different MacBook Pros. Other folks occasionally post similar situations here. I don't believe it is a widespread issue, but perhaps some software configurations might be prone to that.
    That is the main reason that I suggested that you could have each MacBook Pro on a different macOS generation.
    There are not huge differences from El Capitan to High Sierra in how a system gets set up. I would go with one on High Sierra, and the other on Sierra. Keep track of what you do for setups on each one.
    The theory here is that you would get one working in the way that you like.
    Learning both at the same time, with the essential advantages of working more with the one that "fights" less.
    Nothing but positives here (Yes, yes, yes!)
  11. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Feb 6, 2016

    Forgot to mention that I ran a "Diagnostic" test on this *used* Retina and to my surprise I got this message...

    There may be a problem with your camera...
    When I go into Photo Booth it also says no camera found.

    Because I'm a privacy nut, it would actually be a plus if the camera is disabled, but could that be indicative of any larger issues (e.g. bad logic board)?

    (I really screwed up on TWO Retinas by never setting them up right after buying them, but then with all of the drama in my life in the last two years, what can a person do?)

    Should I be concerned about that - other than the idiots who sold and supposedly "tested" this used Retina apparently lied?

    Am hoping that issue is not related to what this thread is about??

    And FWIW, on the outside at least, this *used* Retina looks as nice if not nicer than my *new* Retina does...
  12. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    The NDC001 error means what it says - There may be a problem with your camera.
    I don't think you can "read between the lines" and expand that to include other unknown problems.

    That code doesn't explain what that problem might be (dead, overtemp, fuzzy, overrun with insects, etc).
    Then, the diagnostic codes may be a known glitch in the diagnostics (like a false positive, or simply a known issue with the diagnostic test on your model of MBPro. You would want to talk to someone who can run the "other " hardware diagnostic that an Apple Authorized Service Provider (including "genius" at an Apple store) would have available to verify that there is (or is not) a valid reported failure. A genius can run this test at no charge. You might be charged at an AASP for the same test.
    --- If you want to try that.
  13. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Feb 6, 2016
    Good advice, and I plan on learning how to install (and use) High Sierra this summer.

    The problem is that I want to write an install guide on High Sierra too, and that requires me to take screen shots and write every step along the way - which is why I wasn't "up and running in a day" like Fishrrman was grumbling about in my other thread...

    After supper, on my *used* Retina, I installed CCC, then cloned it to an external drive, and am now using the install guide that I painstakingly put together earlier this year to rebuild this 2nd Mac.

    Also, I spent all day reading about things like "Safe Mode", "Single User Mode", Resetting NVRAM, Diagnostics Test, Resetting SMC, and running commands to reset things in Single-User Mode.

    Am in the "Setup Wizard" now trying to get Sierra re-installed on this 2nd Retina.

    Let's pray things go better this time than they did over the last two weekend on my *new* Retina... :(
  14. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Feb 6, 2016

    It is Sunday and I've spent the better part of the day re-building my *used* Retina.

    I used my bootable installer to install Sierra again, set up preferences, install Firefox, CC and my VPN, and finished hardening the Admin account.

    Also, this time, I decided to use CCC to clone my computer BEFORE installing any Sierra OS updates.

    My clone just finished, so I shut down my *used* Retina, and then option-booted to make sure my clone was working.

    Unfortunately there is one little problem...

    My trackpad just froze up and is now solid as a brick!!!

    When I tell you that I am **JINXED** I really, truly mean it.

    How is all of this possible????

    1.) My brand *new* Retina back in Sept 2016 had the exact same problem!!

    2.) My brand *new* Retina started acting flaky this past January and all of my set-up work went to hell when I had to rebuild my machne.

    3.) Right after I rebuilt my *new* Retina two weeks ago, I couldn't get it to shut down, and I had a black screen and cursor issue. (And on reboot, I had a disk not found issue.)

    4.) Now I just spent all weekend so far re-building my *used* (but immaculate) 2015 Retina, and everything was going great, except when I re-booted after cloning my *used* Retina, now the Trackpad is DEAD!!!!

    Do you realize that I have dropped at least $3,500 on two 2015 13" Retina MacBook Pros and after TWO years I DO NOT HAVE A WORKING MACINTOSH!!!!

    I hope like help my 2011 MacBook Pro hangs on for another couple of months while I sort all of this out...

    (Hey @Fishrrman... Would you like to take a free "kick" and blame me for this latest issue as well?? After all, it must be my fault, because no one else you know has these kinds of issues!)

    I have two BROKEN Retinas and no warranties and it looks like I am out at least a couple thousand dollars!!

    And, what, should I run off and drop another couple grand on a new Retina with broken keyboard????


    I have just lost TWO YEARS of my life, including having to post-pone my startup business which was dependent on having a modern, and working Mac.

    Please help me sweet Jesus... :(
  15. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    I hear you...
    Before I commiserate (I mean, offer OTHER suggestions) - did the trackpad work after you (ages old tip, here) restarted your Mac?
    BTW, every time without fail, after either a clean install (such as you are doing), or a normal released system update, on reboot after the install has completed, and I am back at the desktop. I restart then, with an NVRAM reset. That forces me to do a few of things after the next boot, most importantly to set the Startup Disk (the NVRAM reset always clears that setting), and to take a quick look at all other settings in System Preferences. Most only need a glance. Checking trackpad settings would be where you would go, too. (I have no trackpads, other than a 10 year old MBook, which is quite primitive these days :) )
    Finally, Startup Disk, etc, all look good, and now shutdown so my system power goes off. Count to 5 (no reason, just a pause), press and release the power button. Final step, re-check App Store for updates.
    Ready to work.

    BTW (second) - I am not as ratchet-y as some other posters here, and won't try to blame you for software that you may not yet realize has some connection with your issue.
    It would be an incredible coincidence to have two same-model, but completely different Macs, belonging to you, both essentially new, have the same hardware failure. I want to rule that out. I don't think you have a hardware failure, per se.
    Furthermore, both should work very nicely on an operating system that both are engineered to run natively. I think I can safely say that there are no general issues, affecting lots of users, involving that series of MBPro, either by hardware, or with the standard Apple macOS.

    So, what would you say about my admittedly-simplistic view of your situation (?) and, more to the point, where do you think I am going with this view?
  16. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Feb 6, 2016
    It is physically stuck - solid as a rock!! And I speak from experience, because 10 minutes into using my *new* Retina, I had the exact same thing happen.

    (Pick your poison... 2015 Retina with no working trackpad, or a modern Retina with no working keyboard!)

    This one is a physical hardware failure.

    I'm nearly 50, so I understand and already do many of the things you mention above.

    Change. Shot down. Power up. Verify. Test. Repeat.

    (I also spent much of yesterday learning about Safe Mode, Single User Mode, Reset NVRAM, Apple Diagnostics, Reset SMC, and so on....)

    Except my original *new* Retina in Fall 2016 DID have a Trackpad failure. Apple verified that. And this Trackpad is behaving the same way.

    When I put pressure on it, it doesn't depress and it doesn't click. IT IS SOLID AS A ROCK!!!

    I even did a reality check and clicked on my 2011 MBP, and I was like, "Yep, another Retina with another stuck Trackpad!!"

    The first thing I would say is "THANK YOU!!" for genuinely trying to help me out over the last several months, and NOT being a "dick" like some people here!!

    Admittedly I don't know as much about Macs as some here, but I've also forgotten more about computers than most people will ever know...

    Something about the Internet brings out the dark side in so many people, so I appreciate it when a total stranger like you goes out of his/her way to help.

    Back to my thoughts on my Mac situation...

    1.) I think I have bad karma.

    2.) I have never known anyone who has the bizarre things that happen to me happen to them. (Others can verify.)

    3.) I think my 2nd *new* Retina *may* have a bad SSD.

    4.) I KNOW my *used* Retina has a physically frozen Trackpad.

    5.) I knew how to successfully "harden" a Mac back in January, and I still do today. (Any issues I had were not caused by my actions.)

    6.) I successfully re-built my *sed* Retina today right before the Trackpad physically froze on me.

    7.) Looks like I'll be on the phone with Apple all week.

    8.) Even though I am *very* persuasive and persistent, I'd say that I'm easily out $1,000-$1,500 IF I decide to get these Retinas fixed.

    9.) I'll have to kick things around over supper, but I'm thinking my best bet is to clone my 2011 MBP, verify the clone boots and works, and then rebuild my 2011 MBP with Sierra on it. (It has Mountain Lion on it now.)

    I need a working Mac with Sierra or newer on it so I can finish building my website and get online and try to start making some $$$.

    I have lost the last TWO years because of my dad getting sick and ultimately passing, and then all of these computer problems along with a ton of other issues (e.g. engine went out on my car, etc.)

    I'm okay working on a 7 year old Mac if it helps me get my business online. And frankly, my 2011 is more reliable from a hardware standpoint than anything built under Tim Cook's reign!!

    10.) I have the money to go out and buy a new (or used) mac tonight, but clearly Apple computers are no longer reliable...

    And like many here, I have invested fully in the Mac "eco-system", so switching to Windows or Linux isn't an overnight decision.

    (I need to get my business online this summer if it's going to work out.)

    11.) Lastly, I guess I need to take all of this in stride, and keep moving forward.

    Life isn't fair, and it sure as hell is more fair to some, and less to others.

    Either way, while I'm still on this planet, I plan on THRIVING and reaching my potential, regardless of all the set-backs I constantly seem to face!

    12.) Pray.

    Those are my thoughts right now.

    Not sure if they are the *right* thoughts, or how I'll feel tomorrow.

    There goes my entire 3 day weekend...

    What a shame!! :rolleyes:
  17. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    Short post this time...
    The 2015 MBPro (Force Touch) trackpad does NOT have a mechanical click (there's no mechanical switch that does that), it's all done with magic - I mean, software, interpreting the pressure that you apply, and feeding back a "click" when you apply pressure. There is no mechanical "click" as there is with your older MBPro, and any perceived movement is simply the result of how the trackpad is installed. Compare with power off. The 2011 will "click", but the 2015 (and newer) does not "click", and should feel more or less solid when power is off. If the trackpad is somehow disabled by software, then you won't feel anything. No movement at all.
    Not saying that you didn't have a failed part, but that's how that trackpad is supposed to feel when power is off.
  18. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Feb 6, 2016
    So if my *used* Retina trackpad isn't supposed to move, and this is a software issue, then where do I go from here?

    More importantly...

    How in the world could this have happened?

    I mean I successfully installed and configured Sierra, and I rebooted like 20 times during the install and while configuring things, so what happened?

    I have NEVER had so much trouble installing an OS or configuring things...
  19. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    I didn't say the trackpad issue is a software issue, only that software controls the force touch response. (could still be software) If the trackpad itself has failed, then of course, it would still do nothing.

    How the heck do you get anywhere from here? my answer? One step at a time.

    I have an external drive which has a variety of macOS systems, 5 partitions at the moment, each with a absolute minimum system install. No changes or additions to a basic install, other than a couple of utilities. Gives me a basic system to test and partition drives for a variety of older Macs, and a way to verify that software is not affecting some issue that I might have on Macs that I might be fixing.
    So, when things go "ka-bloo-ey!" on a Mac, I just grab that drive, plug it in to the Mac, restart, choose a system it will boot from, and do a quick check on hardware, trackpad, wifi card, ethernet port - whatever checks to verify that hardware is working - or still flaky, even with a completely different system.

    As you appear to suddenly accumulate problems after getting well into the setup of your system - doesn't matter if it might be more complicated than you need - it's your system, after all - then it would be a Good Thing™ to ALSO have an external drive with a partition, your system installed, with only the initial new user setup. NO OTHER CONFIGURATIONS OR SETTINGS beyond the initial setup. Run App Store to get it updated, if anything, then just set it aside. If your main system suddenly gets wonky, then grab that external and check with that "naked" system. Only takes a few minutes, and might allow you to save some of that cursing for a more appropriate venue o_O If nothing else, you then will be able to stroll into that Apple "Genius", and say with a certain confidence, "It has to be hardware, I booted to a completely virgin system, and it does exactly the same thing.

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