Mac Pro is Acting Strange

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by CRSpeedy, Sep 1, 2008.

  1. CRSpeedy macrumors newbie

    Feb 15, 2008
    For the past week or so, my Mac Pro has started to act really strange. Here are a few of the problems I've been experiencing:

    1) When I boot it up, it boots to a light blue screen and stops loading. I have to manually turn it off, and turn it back on. Same thing. After about 3 or 4 times of manually rebooting, it finally loads to my desktop. But, the desktop is covered in magenta horizontal lines and I cannot click on anything. Time to reboot again. After the 5th or 6th reboot, it finally loads all the way and I'm able to click on icons.

    2) Once I finally get the Mac booted up and running, it will freeze every minute or so for about five seconds. Sometimes I'm able to move the cursor, and other times I'm not--but I'm never able to click while it's locked up.

    Here are the specs of my Mac:
    Mac OS X Version: 10.5.1
    Processor: 2 x 2.66Ghz Dual-Core Intel Xeon
    Memory: 5GB 667 Mhz DDR2 FB-DIMM

    I haven't upgraded the OS because some co-workers of mine began experiencing problems with InDesign locking up after upgrading.

    I work as a designer and spend 50+ hours a week working on this computer. I do not have any other Macs, so if I have to send this one in to Apple, I will be unable to work and therefore unable to make any money, pay rent, tuition and all of my other bills. I truly cannot afford for this computer to give out on me.

    Any help would be REALLY appreciated. It is so stressful to boot up my computer and sit there crossing my fingers and praying that it will load, so I can work and afford to support myself.
  2. Diseal3 macrumors 65816

    Jun 29, 2008

    If its the light blue screen you are experiencing after the grey apple boot screen im going to say the machine is kernal panicing. Can you go to the console and post your log?
  3. CRSpeedy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 15, 2008
    Thanks for the reply, Diseal. Unfortunately, I've spent all my life on PCs and just switched to a Mac earlier this year. How would I go about posting my log?

    Also, another quirk that I've noticed: the icons on the dock sometimes switch. For example, my "Finder" icon displays the "InDesign" icon, until I mouse over it, at which point it switches back to the usual "Finder" icon.
  4. wheezy macrumors 65816


    Apr 7, 2005
    Alpine, UT
    I'm guessing 4 of your 5GB of RAM is aftermarket, and I've had some RAM work great for awhile and then crap out on me, causing similar problems. Usually I get the Gray Overlay to reboot the Mac, but having 5GB yours might shuffle around the memory and then freeze up when it hits the bad one.

    I would suggest taking out all but the original 1GB and see if this cures the reboot. I believe bad RAM could cause a kernel panic, but I could be way off on that.

    Applications > Utilities > Console (I think that's where you find what he's referring too)

    I also just thought of this, you can try a permissions repair. You do this via Disk Utility, also located in the Utilities Folder. Select your Main HD in the left column, then there will be a 'Fix Permissions' button. That could take 10-15 minutes.

    The icon mess-up is pretty curious. It might be wisest at this point to Time-Machine backup your system and then clean it off. Mac's generally don't need to be formatted, but it seems like something is corrupted in the Core OS
  5. CRSpeedy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 15, 2008
    Thanks for the replies, guys.

    The memory idea makes sense, and I feel fairly confident that may be the problem, considering I've noticed the computer slowing down and locking up during everyday tasks these past couple of weeks.

    I tried just about every combination of memory that I could think of, including using only the stock memory, only the aftermarket memory, and combinations of the two. I have two 512 sticks that came with the Mac, plus two 2GB sticks that I purchased from OWC (their brand). With each try, I ended up with the same results. Finally, I tried using only ONE 2GB memory stick in the upper level slot, and it seems to be working perfectly. Strange.

    Is it possible that 3 out of the 4 memory sticks went bad?

    I've attached my console log with this post, if anyone can make any sense of it.

    I really appreciate the help and welcome any other suggestions.

    Attached Files:

  6. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    Hope you have the data on the drive saved...

    Freezing, and endlessly spinning balls are not a good sign and can indicate a dying drive.
  7. CRSpeedy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 15, 2008
    I have my important files backed up to an external drive, and I plan on backing up the rest of the files tonight on a second external drive.

    Could bad memory also cause the computer to lock up? I never get the spinning wheel when it freezes, it just seems to stop responding and still shows the black arrow. I'd hate to think that the harddrive is already going bad, since it's less than 9 months old. I do have the Apple care warranty plan, but I can't even afford to take it in because of the important work I would miss.
  8. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    If the externals are hooked up with FW, you might want to unplug them or switch over to USB to see if the problem goes away.

    Sometimes FW keeps popping up as a potential problem ... even on new drives these days.
  9. Elven macrumors 6502a


    May 13, 2008
    I agree this sounds like a ram issue, best of luck man, I have to say it's my first time ever hearing of a Mac Pro breaking down...

    Very rare.
  10. CRSpeedy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 15, 2008
    Thanks for the words of hope, Elven. It must just be my lucky day :(

    Sun Baked,

    The externals are just USB drives, and I never keep them plugged into the computer unless I'm transferring files--I only use them for storage (at times like these). I had problems similar to what you were describing with a FW external HD on my old PC, so I certainly know where you're coming from there.
  11. Mr.Noisy macrumors 65816


    May 5, 2007
    Ok CRSpeedy I presume you configured the RAM ok :)
    In Riser A you should have the 2 x 2GB sticks & in Riser B the 2 x 512 sticks,
    Make sure you got it configured ok then restart the system see what happens, As for the dock, try relaunching it, I presume you know how, but here's how anyway, open terminal, type killall Dock (note the capital D is the only capital) and enter,
    then repair permissions, hopefully this will help :D

    It could lead to the system throwing up a few Kernel Panics

    And Just for Good Measure, try resetting the PRAM, as your console log was showing a BootCacheControl error ;)
  12. HLdan macrumors 603


    Aug 22, 2007
    It's unusual for ram to just go bad as it's solid state. If it was bad in the first place you would have issues when you first installed the modules however it's a possibility.

    Don't rule out the HDD, it's a big possibility that your HDD is in fact failing. My 24" iMac has worked flawlessly until 8 months after owning it the HDD failed and Apple replaced it with a much better one. Parts are getting cheaper and Apple is using them so it's very possible for a HDD to fail early.

    I have an old iMac G3 with a 30GB HDD, it's running just as well as when I first got it. Hard drives were built better back then.
  13. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    Still think HD, since the thing is failing to boot, and freezing.

    A cheap $90 Best Buy 320GB sata drive could be a good diagnostic tool, or stepping up to a 500GB drive could work.

    Though backing up from the good externals, and leaving out the suspect drive makes restore a pain.


    What really sucks is that the drives tend to go bad with little or no SMART warning ... the clues they tend to give are the increased thermal recalibrations (sounds like a beep or click), simply freezing the machine, and the endless spinning ball.


    A really cheap diagnostic, aka free, is pulling the internal and booting from the DVD. And/or running a repair/test using the AppleCare DVD. If the machine boots fine and doesn't freeze with the internal gone ... it isn't a good sign.
  14. CRSpeedy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 15, 2008
    Thanks again for all of the helpful replies.

    I did have the RAM configured correctly, and it seemed to work flawlessly up until this point. I've tried every combination of RAM since then, though, and nothing works any better. Even the one 2GB stick that I thought was okay is now doing the same thing and causing the same problems.

    I'll definitely try resetting the PRAM, and I had a co-worker suggest the same thing. I'll also try booting from the CD to see what kind of results I get there, and see what the AppleCare DVD says if I don't have any luck with anything else.

    At the moment, I'm transferring all of my files to a 320GB external drive that I just bought. As soon as they finish transferring, I'll give all of the suggestions a shot and report back with what happens.

    In the meantime, I'm more than open to any other possible ideas / suggestions. I certainly appreciate each and every one of them.
  15. Tafkas macrumors regular


    Mar 23, 2007
    Princeton, NJ
    I just had the same thing. MacPro rebooted three times until it came up. Did you fix the problem?

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