New (used) macbook startup problem

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Patrick946, Jun 24, 2009.

  1. Patrick946 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2009
    #1
    I bought a used macbook yesterday morning and everything seemed to be working properly at first, but by the end of the day it started having a problem when booting up. Here are the specs:

    2.0ghz Core Duo
    2 gigs of RAM (updated by previous owner)
    160 gig Hard Drive (updated by previous owner)
    Everything else is the same as this listing.

    The problem: when booting up, the screen turns on, but just remains white, without showing the apple logo and spinning circle. I left it like that for a good 10 minutes, and it never continued to boot, it just stayed in that state. I shut it off, then started it in safe mode, which worked fine. From there I restarted it, and it worked normally. The same thing happened again later (white screen, turn off, boot in safe mode, boot normally).

    Based on what I found with a few quick google searches, this could be caused by memory that doesn't work properly with apple products. I don't want to go out and buy another 2 gigs of memory, especially if this might not be the problem. Does anyone know what I should do to test this, and what other possible problems could be?
     
  2. Dr.Pants macrumors 65816

    Dr.Pants

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2009
    #2
    Personally, I would zap PRAM at start and repair permissions in safe mode if you can. Then head to :apple:->About This Mac->More Info...->Memory Tell us what memory you are using as well, if you can... Then reboot, see if it works without safe mode...

    Guide to zap PRAM and repair permissions; GUIDE: Zap PRAM, Repair Permissions, & run FSCK

    Unfortunatly, its all about process of elimination...
     
  3. Patrick946 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2009
  4. Patrick946 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2009
    #4
    Ok, I zapped PRAM and repaired permissions, and it still had the same problem booting.

    Memory:

    BANK 0/DIMM0:

    Size: 1 GB
    Type: DDR2 SDRAM
    Speed: 667 MHz
    Status: OK
    Manufacturer: 0x2C00000000000000
    Part Number: 0x3848544631323836344844592D3636374531
    Serial Number: 0xD532161C

    BANK 1/DIMM1:

    Size: 1 GB
    Type: DDR2 SDRAM
    Speed: 667 MHz
    Status: OK
    Manufacturer: 0x2C00000000000000
    Part Number: 0x3848544631323836344844592D3636374531
    Serial Number: 0xD53215E3
     
  5. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #5
    Since the really obvious didn't help, the next thing to do is find the disc that came with it (hopefully when you bought it it included the original reinstall disc(s)) and run the Apple Hardware Test off of it. That will do a reasonably thorough test of your RAM, and tell you if there's anything obviously wrong. If this shows errors, you can be sure that's the problem; if not, that doesn't guarantee anything, but I'd say it's worth pursuing other troubleshooting directions before just replacing RAM and hoping for the best.

    You could also try removing one of the sticks, then the other, but that would only help in the event the RAM had actually gone bad, rather than just having some kind of incompatibility.
     
  6. surflordca macrumors 6502a

    surflordca

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2007
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #6
    A long shot. Try resetting the RAM. It is possible that it is making a connection but not a good one. Good luck, I hope you didn't pay a lot for the laptop...
     
  7. Patrick946 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2009
    #7
    I bought it for $500, so it was cheaper than it could have been, but that's still a lot of money to me. It seems to run really well except for the (now three) times that I've gotten the white start screen. Incedentally, I installed windows XP via boot camp yesterday, and I've been able to boot it while holding option (to select the partition) every time. Maybe I've just been lucky, but is there a possibility that holding option would bypass whatever problem this is? I'm just hoping that this doesn't get worse, or lead to other problems.

    The seller didn't have the startup disks with him when I bought it, but he has since found them and is mailing them to me. He only has the first (Tiger) disk that came with the computer, but he is also sending the Leopard install disks as well. I'll do an apple hardware test when I get the disks.
     
  8. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #8
    Definitely run a hardware test when you get the discs (it'll only be on the original Tiger discs; I assume the Leopard discs are retail, so won't include the hardware test).

    However, if starting up by holding down the option key does consistently result in booting without issues (give it a while), that really doesn't seem like a RAM issue to me. Sounds a lot more like a problem identifying either the startup partition or the drive itself acting up. The former would relate to a PRAM problem of some sort, but you already did the obvious fix for that, the latter could be the drive flaking out or theoretically even a software issue, which would require a reinstall of the OS (though I'd usually expect a software problem to happen after the spinner started, not before).

    While you're waiting for the discs to arrive, try doing this procedure; it can't hurt, and who knows, might help:

    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1411

    You also might want to go to System Preferences -> Startup Disk and reselect your boot partition, too, just to say you've tried that, too.
     
  9. Patrick946 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2009
    #9
    Update:

    -Unfortunately, holding o at startup does not fix the problem It was just wishful thinking on my part. It seems to have the problem once out of every three or four times I start it, and only after it's been off for a while.

    -I got the boot disk and ran the hardware test, followed by the more detailed hardware test, and neither found any problems.


    I'm planning on using this at home most of the time, would it be ok to leave it in sleep mode, plugged in to an outlet? Everything except the startup screen seems to work perfectly, so if I just avoid that it shouldn't be a big problem. When it has failed to start, restarting in safe mode has fixed it every time, is there any problem with starting in safe mode a lot (aside from the added time starting the computer)?

    Also, I live reasonably close to an apple store, would it be worthwhile for be to bring it in to the genius bar? Will they look it over even if it's out of warranty?

    thanks everyone for your help!
     

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