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Mac Tech
Mac Tech, Apple Specialist
Category: Mac
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Experience:  7 + Years Supporting Apple Products
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When starting up my iMac G5, I only see a gray screen with

Resolved Question:

When starting up my iMac G5, I only see a gray screen with the Apple logo. Eventually the fans kick on and a little circle appears below the apple, but it never fully boots up. I have zapped the PRAM and restarted the SMU...what else can I do?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mac
Expert:  Mac Tech replied 5 years ago.
Hi, and thanks for using JustAnswer.

Add this page to your Favorites/Bookmarks first, so as to get back to me anytime later on, if needed.

Restart in Safe Mode

Shut down your iMac. Next, power your iMac back on. Just after you hear the startup tone, press and hold the “Shift” key. You can release the Shift key after you see the gray Apple and progress indicator. Your Mac should boot up into Safe Mode. Then reboot your iMac and test under a normal boot up.

Starting up into Safe Mode does several things:

  • It forces a directory check of the startup volume.
  • It loads only required kernel extensions (some of the items in /System/Library/Extensions).
  • In Mac OS X v10.3.9 or earlier, Safe Mode runs only Apple-installed startup items (such items may be installed either in /Library/StartupItems or in /System/Library/StartupItems; these are different than user-selected account login items).
  • It disables all fonts other than those in /System/Library/Fonts (Mac OS X v10.4 or later).
  • It moves to the Trash all font caches normally stored in /Library/Caches/ , where (uid) is a user ID number such as 501 (Mac OS X v10.4 or later).
  • It disables all startup items and login items (Mac OS X v10.4 or later).
  • Mac OS X v10.5.6 or later: A Safe Boot deletes the dynamic loader shared cache at (/var/db/dyld/). A cache with issues may cause a blue screen on startup, particularly after a Software Update. Restarting normally recreates this cache.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Unfortunately, I still have the gray screen with the apple logo. The progress indicator is no longer displayed.
Expert:  Mac Tech replied 5 years ago.
Sounds like the hard drive and/or boot sector is damaged.

Do you have the Installation Disk 1 or current OS X disk?

Run Disk Utility in Single User Mode

The best way is to boot for your original installation disk, and use disk utilities to "repair disk". If, for some reason, your installation disk isn't handy you can do the same thing by booting into single-user mode (by depressing the command (Apple key) and S keys at startup), which takes you to a terminal-like screen. At the prompt there, type the command: "fsck -yf" (without quotes and note the space). If it doesn't find the command, type /sbin/fsck -yf instead. If it complains about permissions type: "sudo /sbin/fsck -yf" and provide the admin password XXXXX prompted. If it finds errors, repeat this command until no errors are reported and you see the "...OK" statement. This check may need to be run up to four times on a system with serious problems. When you get the "...OK" message, type “Reboot”. Your Mac will restart and return you to the User Interface.

Now, sometimes the built-in utility won't be able to repair the file system itself. There are more powerful tools available, the best of which is DiskWarrior. This is not a free program, but it is an extremely good one and is often able to repair disks the Disk Utility cannot.

The possibility always exists that it is a real physical problem with the disk drive, in which case these utilities won't do much good, but it is more likely that it is just a corruption of the file system.
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