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macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 4, 2003
Hey all,

I recently switched from PC to Mac, specifically to a G3 800 Mhz Dual-USB iBook with FireWire. I loved it at first, but now I'm having a lot of problems and I could really use some advice from those who have much more knowledge on this subject.

(I'm fairly PC intelligent, so you can feel free to talk semi-complicated with hopes that I'll understand. :))

My iBook is once again a G3 800, with 384 Mb. of memory, a 30 Gb. hard drive, and it also has a combo drive built in. Beyond that, the iBook has an AirPort card installed in addition.

When I purchased this from the previous user, it came with OS 9.2.2 installed and OS 10.2.6 installed as well. Now being the user that I am, I'd like the format the drive clean and simply reinstall OS 10.2 clean and tempered to my liking. However, I can't seem to accomplish this.

I put in the OS X CD and hold down the "C" key to boot from the CD, which promptly brings up the grey "Apple" screen of OS X, and after that I get a dark/grey screen that says nothing and does nothing and simply hangs until hard restart it (A combination of OpenApple + control + power I believe).

I then tried putting in the OS 9.2.2 restore discs from Apple, and when they booted it showed a smiling OS 9 Mac -- HOWEVER there were horizontal lines running through the mac's screen, right through the middle of the face. Wierd! The progress would continue and a cursor would load and the pinwheel would spin, but I could not move the cursor, and shortly thereafter I would once again be stuck in a mysterious grey/black screen where I could do no more.

I've tried rebuilding the classic directory, and resetting the PRAM. I was going to flash to the latest PRAM if my iBook doesn't currently have it (4.1.7), but it says I need OS 9.1 to do so and it gives me errors in both OS X and OS 9.2.2 when I tried to flash the PRAM.

Since the laptop has OS X on it now, it must've loaded properly once. Does anyone have any idea what's going on, or what I should do?

Thanks for any help you can impart. :)


macrumors 603
Sep 6, 2002
Houston, TX
Re: New Mac User: OS X Grey Screen of Death - Advice?

it might be worthwhile to log into single user mode... you can do this by setting login from a bunch of icons to a user name prompt in the system preferences and typing >console as your user name after logging out.

there you can run fsck -y, which will make sure there aren't any problems with the file system. other than that, though, you covered most of the ideas i would have had. you might repair permissions, too, though i doubt it will help too much.


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 4, 2003
I don't have techtool or diskwarrior, but of my Apple Hardware Test CDs, Restore CDs, and OS X cds, none boot -- all giving me a black screen and halting.



macrumors 65816
Aug 11, 2002
Charlotte, NC
Let me toss this one out ...

A few nights ago I needed to boot my OS 9 machine from CD. After several unsuccessful attemps a tried zapping the PRAM. I'm not sure if this techniquw\e works with OS X, as I am still new to it.

If it's works the same in OS X as OS 9, hold down OPT-CMD-P-R during startup (with the CD incerted).
Let is chime 3 or 4 times.

Good luck


macrumors 65816
Jan 8, 2003
San Francisco, California
I you zap the PRAM and you can start from OS 9, you can clean install OS 9 which will remove all of the OS X software. Then you can re-install OS X. But if you can't get it to start up from a cd, um, :confused:

crap freakboy

macrumors 6502a
Jul 17, 2002
nar in Gainsborough, me duck
Whats the history of this mac? You mention previous user, a friend of yours or complete stranger? Either way I'd suggest finding out any past repairs/replacements that might have been done. Dodgy Ram might be causing a problem with OsX but as for 9, well could be funky at the best of times, especially with extensions.
Only time 9 gave me major startup screen weirdness(which as i recall looked very similar to the line youre getting) it resulted in me backing up and reformatting the HD after testing the system with norton and Diskwarrior reported loads of badblocks. For me it seemed it was a combination of HD bad blocks and poorly maintained OS. So, rather than restore I'd backup - format - clean install both 9 and X. Takes balls to do that though, especially as its possible it might be a hardware issue beyond the HD.
you know anyone who's got a mac so as to test your 9 and X discs for errors?


macrumors 65816
Sep 26, 2003
I had the same problem on an old powerbook that I have since gotten rid of. What I finally had to do is initialize the drive, by starting up from the cd and selecting this option, then I reinstalled OS 9.2, then 10.2 on top of that. I have never had success on any of my machines installing just OSX on a computer that originally had both classic and X on it, or just shipped with nine.

Hope that helps:)


macrumors newbie
Oct 14, 2003
Charlotte, NC
OX 10.2 Install

I wasn't sure how far you got in the install process. Are you ejecting the first disk or allowing it to eject itself and then asking for the second?

Or, are you getting this far? If you're manually ejecting it, the OS isn't completely installed and will "hang" and never ask for the second.

Another thought (and one which I'm not even close to being sure of...)

When you're installing, are you updating the driver? If you're going from 10.2.6 to 10.2 there may have been a disk driver that's not totally happy; I don't have a clue...


macrumors 65816
Oct 6, 2003
Extreme measures

One thought - try unplugging and removing the battery for a minute then put it back together. Also make sure that you are zapping the PRAM at the beginning of the boot process.

Try booting with an OS9 CD and holding the "c" key. This might require a regular OS9 Install CD. All you really need is a complete OS9 Finder folder. If you can get to a desktop, great. Look in the OS9CD. Many of these included some basic disk utilities. Use that to format the drive.

If you really want to get extreme, you can try a low level format. I was able to cure a somewhat similar situation in OS9 once with a low level format when nothing else worked(incl. a normal format).

edit: These links may also be helpful. They offer alternative ways to get the thing to boot.


macrumors regular
Dec 20, 2002
The Valley
uh, if you are getting random lines up and down the screen, you need to return your computer or get it serviced. No software problems will cause that.

Unfortunately, a laptop is the worst computer to get a kernel panic. Short of completely wiping your drive and re-installing, i don't think any other suggestions will do a damn thing.

If you reformat the drive, and still get kernel panics when trying to install, then likely you have an expensive hardware problem that is only going to get worse.

Unless, of course, you are using a Jaguar CD that did not come with the computer. Here's an interesting fact: Some newer macs can only install os X from the original CDs that came with the computer. New powerbooks, i know for a fact, have this issue. So if your ibook is a new one, maybe you are not using the correct CD? Worth Checking.

BTW: Second-hand ibooks are not a good investment, ever, unless they have applecare. I fix ibooks all day here and its sad. Their hard drives die constantly as well as logic boards.

Not to turn you off the Mac experience, though. If you can still buy applecare, DO IT! Save yourself some headaches and $$$ in the long run.



macrumors 601
Mar 12, 2002
BrisVegas, Australia
lines up and down the screen... doesn't soudn too good. :(

i think you can also get into single user mode by holding cmd+s at startup can't you?

and definitely try taking out the AirPort card then re-seating it properly. there have been quite a few times when a AirPort card hasn't been seated correctly and it has caused all sorts of problems.

good luck with it, and let us know how you go. :)
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