How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask MacTechTrainer Your Own Question
MacTechTrainer, Sr. Mac Support Specialist
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 1700
Experience:  Apple Certified Desktop & Portables Technician, A+, Cross-Platform (Mac/PC) Tech - for over 14 Years
Type Your Mac Question Here...
MacTechTrainer is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I cant get my imac to start up. I keep getting a grey screen

Customer Question

I can't get my imac to start up. I keep getting a grey screen after the chime.- then nothing happens
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Mac
Expert:  MacTechTrainer replied 7 years ago.
Hello, and thank you for asking your question, with
I am Sr. Mac Support Specialist, Terry, glad to assist you.


I am going to have you take your Mac into Safe Mode to see if we can't remove a possible folder(s) that may be affecting your Mac's start up function leading to the grey screen issue.

Try these steps:

• Reboot your Mac
• Upon restarting your Mac, press the Shift key.
• Hold the Shift key until you see a White Screen with Gray Apple icon and eventually a spinning gear.
• When you see the Spinning gear, release the Shift key.
• Allow the Mac to continue booting up. Also this may take a little while
(NOTE: this may take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes to load to the Safe mode screen depending on the performance of your Mac, but if it exceeds this time, shutdown your Mac and try just once more. It may have just frozen up the first time around for you.)

• You are going to enter the Safe Mode (which looks like your main desktop environment - the only difference is certain startup items are disabled.)

• Once within the Desktop in Safe Mode
• From the Finder Menu, click Go> Go to Folder
• Type in this line: /System/Library/StartupItems
• This path, is going to take you to the System Library folder which has all of your Mac OS X Startupitems.
• Remove all of those folders to the Trash.

*Reboot your Mac normally and see if you can access your normal User desktop environment.

Please let me know if this helps.

If you have any more questions, regarding your technical issue, please feel free to reply to this post.

Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX be looking forward to your reply.


MacTechTrainer and 2 other Mac Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
this is not working. It is not rebooting in safe mofe. I hear the start up chime, press the shift key. nothing happens- just a grey screen
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
looks like i paid accedentally as well...prematurely
Expert:  MacTechTrainer replied 7 years ago.
That is ok. An Accept does not mean, end of the assistance.

I am still here and will continue to assist you as long as needed in order to help you resolve this issue.

Bear with me for about 5-10 minutes or less if you would, I am reviewing the past emails in order to determine what course of action to take next.


Customer: replied 7 years ago.
ok thanks. XXXXX may be using 0S X rather than 9 I can't remember.
Expert:  MacTechTrainer replied 7 years ago.
Thanks for the clarity.

I am not sure if this is an issue with your hard drive or your Mac OS X volume on that hard drive.

Here is what I need you to try in order to check the intergrity of your hard drive and also repair it as needed.


Start up your computer in Single-User Mode to reach the command line by doing this:
•Make sure your Mac is shutdown.
• Reboot your Mac
• When Mac starts up, press the Apple Command key+ S Key
- A black screen, with white text appears
• At the command-line prompt, type /sbin/fsck -fy
• Press Return.
--fsck will run through a series of tests and will return information about your disk's use and fragmentation. When completed, it will display this message if no issue is found:

The volume (name_of_your_mac_volume) appears to be OK

If fsck found issues and has altered, repaired, or fixed anything, it will display this message: --FILE SYSTEM WAS MODIFIED--

Important: If this message appears, repeat the fsck command you typed at the beginning, until fsck tells you that your volume appears to be OK (first-pass repairs may uncover additional issues, so this is a normal thing to do).

• When fsck reports that your volume is OK, type reboot at the prompt and then press Return.
• This last command after completing the fsck process, is going to attempt to boot your Mac to the main desktop.

Keep me posted, I will be watching for your update. Thanks!

-Terry font.f1 {font: 12.0px Helvetica} font.f2 {font: 14.0px Myriad Pro}
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

I had unplugged everything from the back of the imac in my attepts to restart earlier.

Now I am not sure if the computer is recognizing the key board. It does not appear so.

Expert:  MacTechTrainer replied 7 years ago.
Thanks for providing me this update.

What you have here is a possible hardware issue. This is evident, especially considering you have performed several PMU resets as you did by unplugging your iMac.

I have seen this far too often. As well when a safeboot and an fsck procedure does not help at all, it is time for you to take your iMac into an Apple retail store Genius bar or an Apple service center and at least have a diagnostics performed to determine if the issue is with your hard drive or your logic board.

Just for your reference, I have taken the liberty to provide the store locator links to your local Apple Retail store as well as a general store locator for locating any local Apple Authorized Service center in your area.

Apple Retail Store (Genius bar)

Apple Authorized Service Provider

This is your best option, because the technical problem with your iMac appears to be more of a hardware issue and definitely not a software issue.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.