Mac Startup Won't Move Past the "Gray Screen of Doom".

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by the quarry, Apr 25, 2009.

  1. the quarry macrumors newbie

    Apr 25, 2009
    Last week or so my Mac (10.3 or 10.4, I think, was the model.) froze up while I was surfing the web. I clicked all over the place, let it sit for fifteen minutes, and came back to find nothing had changed. After shutting it off with that little button on the tower you're not supposed to use to shut it off (but it was frozen, so..) and leaving it to sit for another five or six minutes, I came back and turned it on.

    That's where I had issues. It only boots up to that gray screen with the Apple logo and the spinning wheel that means it's loading (lies. It never does. I thought it might just be slow so i left it like that for an hour; came back, still there.), and then it just stays there.

    Now, I looked on the web for some suggestions and tried the stuff here:

    and went some other places that told me I needed some system CD that I don't have. Also, I looked on here and found someone with a similar problem (computer froze, turned it off, turned it on, got stuck on screen with apple and spinning wheel), and they told them to try something with the CD. They didn't have one either, and no one really commented after that. Does that mean I'm seriously up a creek with fixing my computer?

    I've left it unplugged for a few days at a time, too, just in case it needed some serious cooling down time, but nothing happened then, either. I'm not very computer savvy, but my Mac's future looks pretty bleak. :[
  2. weekendsrule32 macrumors member

    Apr 8, 2009
    New Jersey
    in your situation, it may be best to buy a new install disk. Either that, or have someone with the disk install it onto a external drive and boot yours from that. An operating disk for 10.4 is not much money on ebay, and i am sure you would rather buy a disk than a new computer.
  3. toolbox macrumors 68020


    Oct 6, 2007
    Australia (WA)
    Get your OS cds / dvd. Boot of that and run disk utility. Verify the hdd.
  4. the quarry thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 25, 2009
    Do any of you know what the DVD/CD is called specifically? I'm gonna have to look on e-bay for it, as the first person suggested.
  5. toolbox macrumors 68020


    Oct 6, 2007
    Australia (WA)
    It will look something like this

    Attached Files:

  6. Illicit macrumors 6502

    May 14, 2007
    Waterloo, ON
    Panther or Tiger or Leopard Install disks. It should have come with your purchase of the computer. a grey disk with your computer model on it.
  7. the quarry thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 25, 2009
    it should have, but i lost it. thank you for the help, people. :] !
  8. jakedixon macrumors newbie

    Jun 8, 2009

    I had the EXACT same thing happen to me yesterday and I've been pulling my hair out trying to figure out why. I have had my aluminum iMac 10.4 for about a year and I was browsing with firefox yesterday when all of a sudden it started going really slow and then froze (during a google search) I waited about 20 min and still the spinning color wheel so I held the power button until my computer shut off, waited about 5 min and turned it back on. Since then it chimes when it starts and then goes to the gray apple logo screen with the spinning dial underneath and stays there... The longest I let it do that yesterday was 45 min just to see what would happen and still... nothing.

    Once when I shut it off for a couple hours and turned it back on everything looked like it was working properly and it loaded all the way to the desktop but in front of my desktop (and everything I opened) was still a rectangle of the loading marquee (the screen after the gray apple logo screen). So I figured maybe if I shut it down properly it would work fine now. NOPE! I havent been able to get it past the gray apple logo screen since.

    I tried safe mode = didn't even get to the apple logo, just froze on a gray blank screen

    I tried inserting the install disk = apparently it couldn't repair the HD. It came up with "Repairing disk failed with error. Could not unmount disk"

    When I try and verify/repair disk permissions = it just idles for a long time and then says that the process timed out/was idle too long and I need to restart disk utility. After I restart disk utility everything is just super slow.


    ps - The day before yesterday I installed a few of the latest apple updates (itunes, quicktime, etc..) when I was prompted to and a game (return of the king) but I used the computer all day and for a couple hours the next morning (after putting it to sleep for the night) before the problem happened.
  9. filastine macrumors newbie

    Mar 22, 2011
    Very Easy Possible Solution to Some Cases of This Problem

    I registered just to post this, in case this should work for anyone else.

    I installed a usb-internet mobile dongle thing, in this case if was Orange Italia. On restart all I could get was the gray screen and spinning wheel. I tried zapping P-RAM, PMU reset, connecting in target disc mode and doing repair permission, bought Disk Warrior and ran it on the disk, etc.. NOTHING WORKED.

    Starting in safe mode didn't work either.

    What worked is simply holding down the X key on startup. This is "force restart with mac os X". In my case the usb dongle must have put some pc crap on my machine and created confusion. I have no idea, but it worked.
    Try it, it only takes a second.
  10. AlvaroAcosta macrumors newbie

    Mar 9, 2012
    MacBook Pro problems

    I am having a problem with my MacBook.

    When I bought it, it came with snow leopard. I since then installed OS Lion.

    When I tried to install a software update for I-Tunes, when it tried to reboot it gave me a gray screen.

    I have tried everything from a safe reboot to Resetting the nvram.

    No success.

    Does anyone have a suggestion on how to solve my problem?
  11. arjen92 macrumors 65816


    Sep 9, 2008
    Below sea level
    If you have Lion installed there should be a recovery partition.

    When you start your macbook and you hear the chime, press the "option" (it reads "alt" and is between the "ctrl" and "cmd" button). Keep it pressed until two icons of hard drives appear. Here you can select the restore partition.

    Once you have that started, there's an option to open disk utility. Open it and repair your disk. This might help.

    If you are unable to do any of the above your hard drive might be damaged.

    To be sure you could use another mac and target disk mode, or the Lion installer on USB and start from there ("option" at startup to start from the Lion USB. Use google to find out about Firewire Target Disk mode).

    Did you change anything about your mac (e.g. replace RAM)?

    Hope this will get you in the right direction.

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