Can't boot iMac (10.6)

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Mikl7777, Feb 10, 2013.

  1. Mikl7777 macrumors newbie

    Sep 4, 2008
    I recently reinstalled Mac OS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) on my iMac to prepare for resale. Something went wrong with the install and now I cannot boot my iMac except with an external FireWire hard drive. I can't boot with the install disc (10.6.3). I cannot boot into safe or verbose mode. Target disk mode doesn't work. Pressing the option key on startup doesn't work. The Apple logo appears and the spinning icon forever. Anytime I try to make any change (when booted from the external drive) I am asked for a user name and password but it won't accept anything that I enter. The same for when I try to use Drive Genius or Diskwarrior. I can't boot from those disks either. When booted into the external firewire drive I can't access anything on the iMac drive without a user name and password. The dialog box won't accept anything that I enter. I am a long time mac user but I am stumped on this one. Any ideas out there?

    Intel iMac 1.83 core duo. Snow Leopard 10.6.3
  2. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    Sailing beyond the sunset
    What OS version is on the external drive?

    Given the repeated non-recognition of various key-presses, I would guess there's a problem with the keyboard, or perhaps a USB hub if the keyboard is going through a hub, or maybe just the USB cable for the keyboard isn't making contact. Or if the computer is paired with a Bluetooth keyboard, maybe it's accepting input from more than one keyboard.

    To see what the OS thinks the keyboard is doing (and what keyboard layout it's interpreting it as), choose System Preference > Keyboard > Keyboard tab, then check the "Show Keyboard & Character Viewer in menu bar" checkbox. Then choose the Keyboard Viewer from the keyboard symbol (the national flag of the locale) and see what happens. You should be able to press SHIFT, OPTION, etc. on the physical keyboard and see things change on the on-screen keyboard. If they don't, you have a keyboard or cabling problem.

    Any keyboard problem would be separate from the disk issue. At least that would be my starting assumption. Address the keyboard first, then work on the disk.

    I'd run System, too. It's in /Applications/Utilities/.
  3. Mikl7777 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 4, 2008
    Thanks for your suggestions. I went into system preferences and I see no issues with the keyboard. The keyboard works fine when I'm booted using the external FireWire (10.6.3) . I think the problem may have something to do with permissions but since I cannot boot into the computer I don't know how to find out. I can't figure out why I can't boot into the install disc or use target mode.

  4. Mikl7777 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 4, 2008
    Can't boot iMac (10.6)

    I found the problem. I was using the keyboard for my new iMac with my older iMac. I found out that the new keyboard was not compatible with this older iMac. It worked after the computer was booted but none of the pre-boot functions would work. I used the original iMac keyboard, rebooted with the install disc, and then repaired permissions. Now everything works fine.

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