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OSXpert
OSXpert, Mac Software Engineer
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 226
Experience:  2 years as a geek squad computer technician, 5 years as a software engineer and unix systems admin
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I have a macbook pro that comes on but gives me a grey screen.

Resolved Question:

I have a macbook pro that comes on but gives me a grey screen. Tried to reboot, but was unsuccessful. What do you suggest?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mac
Expert:  OSXpert replied 3 years ago.

OSXpert :

Hi, my name is XXXXX XXXXX here are a few things you can try. Try them and get back to me with the results...

OSXpert :

First, try resetting PRAM/NVRAM, follow these steps to do so:


 


1.) Shut down your Mac


2.) Press the power button on your Mac to turn it back on


3.) Immediately press and hold the following keys (before the chime noise and startup screen):


Command+Option+P+R


4.) Continue holding these keys until the computer restarts and you hear the startup chime 3 times


5.) Release the keys and allow the computer to boot


 

Customer : Did not work. No circle, no apple. No startup screen. Just gray screen.
OSXpert :

okay, one second...

OSXpert :

try this...

OSXpert :

Try starting the computer in safe mode. To accomplish this complete the following steps:


 


1.) Shutdown your Mac


2.) Press the power button on your Mac to turn it back on


3.) As soon as you hear the startup chime noise, immediately press and hold the <SHIFT> key until you see a progress indicator.


4.) Release the <SHIFT> key when you see the progress indicator -- allow your Mac to boot up.


5.) Once your Mac has booted in safe mode, reboot it and allow it to boot normally.

OSXpert :

See if you can get far enough to get a progress indicator, if not, I have one more trick we can try before having to modify the contents of the system

Customer : still holding shift, no progress indicator.
OSXpert :

okay, if it's been more than 30 seconds, you can abandon...

Try this next...

OSXpert :

Single user mode disk verification / repair


 


1.) Turn off your mac2.) Turn your mac back on 3.) Immediately press and hold Command (or Apple) key and 'S' simultaneously


 


Hold these keys -- Your Mac should boot into a text console. When you get to this point (text stops scrolling), release the keys and type:


 


/sbin/fsck -fy


 


Hit the return (enter) key after entering the above command, let the disk utility finish. When it finishes, type:


 


reboot


 


The hit the return (enter) key. See if your Mac boots


 

OSXpert :

oops, sorry, formatting issue, this will make it look more readable...

OSXpert :

Single user mode disk verification / repair


 


1.) Turn off your mac
2.) Turn your mac back on
3.) Immediately press and hold Command (or Apple) key and 'S' simultaneously


 


Hold these keys -- Your Mac should boot into a text console. When you get to this point (text stops scrolling), release the keys and type:


 


/sbin/fsck -fy


 


Hit the return (enter) key after entering the above command, let the disk utility finish. When it finishes, type:


 


reboot


 


The hit the return (enter) key. See if your Mac boots


 

Customer : can't see a text box. only gray screen.
OSXpert :

OKay, timing is crucial, did you attempt to boot your Mac holding Command+S a couple of times? It's pretty picky about when the keys are actually pressed

Customer : I will try again
Customer : before chime or after?
OSXpert :

Before the chime, press the keys immediately

Customer : not working
OSXpert :

bummer -- well, I always hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the hard drive is most likely corrupt, meaning, you'll need to re-install Mac OS X and hope that your data can be recovered. Or, the hard drive may have failed completely. For the latter case, the data might be recoverable, but the cost is usually prohibitive.

Customer : can I try to reboot from a start-up disc?
OSXpert :

If you still have your Mac OS X install discs, the next step would be to try to re-install Mac OS X, (the archive and install option would likely be the best)

OSXpert :

If you're referring to your Mac OS X install disc, then yes, you can use it to boot and start the re-install process

Customer : just put in Panther. Going to see what happens
OSXpert :

okay -- when you turn the machine on, hold the 'C' key to force your system to boot from the install disc

OSXpert :

Keep me posted on your progress

Customer : none forthcoming. could it be that the screen has gone bad?
OSXpert :

hmm, probably not -- it may be the motherboard -- one sec

OSXpert :

Can you confirm for me that it actually makes a chime noise though?

Customer : getting a blinking folder with a question mark in it.
Customer : yes, it chimes
Customer : no cursor
Customer : if I press the caps lock key, it does not light up
OSXpert :

Try again to hold the 'C' key during boot up...

OSXpert :

If that fails, do you have a USB keyboard that you can plug into your Mac -- in case the keyboard is going bad?

Customer : I don't think the keyboard is bad. just pressed the caps lock and it lit up. but I'm still getting a blinking folder with a question mark in it. Help?
OSXpert :

Is there an Apple store near you?

Customer : yes
OSXpert :

At this point, we've gone through about as much trouble shooting as we can without getting fairly technical. If your system will not boot into the recovery disc, it's probably best to take your Mac to the Mac store to see if they test the hard drive and the remaining components

OSXpert :

From what we've covered, it sounds like the hard drive may be bad (or it's at least become corrupt to the point that it cannot boot)

Customer : cost?
OSXpert :

It's hard to say -- if it's just corrupt, they might be able to help you get the installation started on the spot and might not charge you anything (make sure you take your Mac OS X disc with you).

If the hard drive is bad -- 2.5" hard drives usually cost anywhere from $50-$200 depending on the size of the drive. Installation would probably run another $100. Now, if you buy the hard drive yourself and take it to a technician, it might save you money. $50-$200 is the price you'll pay if you buy the drive locally (from Fry's or Best Buy, etc...) If you buy it through Apple, they may end up charging you twice as much, it's hard to say. Either way, I would recommend at least taking it into the Apple store to get a quote, they shouldn't charge you just to take a look at it and give you an estimate. At that point, if you want to come back here, I can help you pick out a hard drive, and depending on your level of technical ability, you may be able to install it yourself

Customer : thanks
OSXpert :

no prob. Let me know if you need some more help. If you want to get a repair estimate and need some advice, you can send a question to me directly by clicking my profile name. If you're happy with the information you have received here, please click "Accept" so that I am compensated for my time. If you're not satisfied, please let me know so I can continue working with you until we get things resolved

OSXpert, Mac Software Engineer
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 226
Experience: 2 years as a geek squad computer technician, 5 years as a software engineer and unix systems admin
OSXpert and 5 other Mac Specialists are ready to help you

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