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Steve Herrod
Steve Herrod, Mac Support Specialist
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 2732
Experience:  OSX certified, many years experience supporting Apple Hardware & Software
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MacBook pro on starting get only grey screen - unable to load

Customer Question

MacBook pro on starting get only grey screen - unable to load leopard start up disc. Just grey screen not evn gettinh the folder icon which appeared initially.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mac
Expert:  Steve Herrod replied 2 years ago.

Steve Herrod :

Hi, i'll be happy to help look at this issue

Steve Herrod :

Do you have anything else on the screen at all - spinning ball etc?

Steve Herrod :

Can you try booting and holding the Command + S keys?

Steve Herrod :

this should load a command window

Steve Herrod :

if so, type fsck -yf and press enter

Customer :

Nothing on screen shall I try and boot holding command & s key when I press the power key?

Steve Herrod :

yes please

Steve Herrod :

wasn't expecting a reply this evening - didn't think many would still be up in UK :)

Customer :

Sorry but no command window - up late to prepare a presentation for today!! Still grey screen and can't remove disc. Macbook pro about 2 years old

Steve Herrod :

ok, no problem

Steve Herrod :

do you have another mac in the house at all?

Steve Herrod :

I understand - am up late working most days

Customer :

Yes old Imac which is what I am communicating with you with

Steve Herrod :

ok - wondering about using Target Disk mode

Customer :

That's double dutch to me

Steve Herrod :

ok - Start the imac in target disk mode (Hold T key at boot until you see the firewire symbol). Connect the imac to the MBP with a firewire cable. Then boot the MBP while holding the Option key. You should get a grey screen with a list of available startup disks. Choose the imac's HD and see if it boots.

Steve Herrod :

obviously that will mean you'd lose connection here

Steve Herrod :

but I'll still be online afterwards if you wanted to try it?

Customer :

My ignorance - firewire cable ?has firewire one end only - connect that end to mcb or imac?

Customer :

Can I access Just Answer mac after I restart?

Steve Herrod :

would need a firewire-firewire to connect both together

Steve Herrod :

if you bookmark this page you can come straight back

Customer :

Drat will have to scout around at this time!!! - give me a few min -see if I have one.

Steve Herrod :

no problem

Steve Herrod :

I'm on the coffee as well

Customer :

All cables have firewire one end and usb other end - any good? also alt I have backup portable hard disc Iomega but connecting that also had no effect. If I could just get the apple start up symbol I could go to apple stpore next week - problem my presentation for tomorrow on mcb!!! please any help or shortcut to boot mcb

Steve Herrod :

ok

Steve Herrod :

can you hold Shift-Command-V while the mbp boots up?

Steve Herrod :

that will do a Safe Boot with progress notification

Steve Herrod :

so should give some idea of what is failing

Customer :

Just grey screen - i could cry

Steve Herrod :

ok, is it an Intel mac?

Customer :

mac book pro 13" with intel core 2 duo processor

Steve Herrod :

ok - when you reset the PRAM did you get 3 startup tones?

Customer :

shall I try restarting again and note the tones?

Steve Herrod :

yes please

Customer :

a gong then whirring - i am a luddite so no tech terms

Steve Herrod :

ok

Steve Herrod :

now can you try this?

Steve Herrod :
  1. Shut down the computer.
  2. Locate the following keys on the keyboard: Command, Option, P, and R. You will need to hold these keys down simultaneously in step 4.
  3. Turn on the computer.
  4. Press and hold the Command-Option-P-R keys. You must press this key combination before the gray screen appears.
  5. Hold the keys down until the computer restarts and you hear the startup sound for the second time.
  6. Release the keys.

Customer :

Option same as alt?

Steve Herrod :

yes

Customer :

no progress - but may i try it again please

Steve Herrod :

eys

Steve Herrod :

yep

Customer :

got the start up sound but no other progress

Steve Herrod :

ok - did you get the sound twice?

Customer :

Yes

Steve Herrod :

ok

Customer :

getting sound spontaneously now - back to whirring

Steve Herrod :

is it easy to remove the battery from your Mac?

Customer :

Haven't a clue - i thought this mac was difficult to remove key from

Customer :

sorry i meant battery

Steve Herrod :

some models are - if it's not obvious then it's probably one of the sealed units

Customer :

my recollection is a sealed unit

Steve Herrod :

ok, I think you have already tried resetting the SMC?

Steve Herrod :

that's the System Management Controller

Steve Herrod :

did you notice if there was any fluctuation with the LED on the power adaptor when doing it?

Steve Herrod :
  1. Shut down the computer.
  2. Plug in the MagSafe power adapter to a power source, connecting it to the Mac if its not already connected.
  3. On the built-in keyboard, press the (left side) Shift-Control-Option keys and the power button at the same time.
  4. Release all the keys and the power button at the same time.
  5. Press the power button to turn on the computer.
    Note
    : The LED on the MagSafe power adapter may change states or temporarily turn off when you reset the SMC.

Customer :

yes with the shift alt p r sequence? or have i got it wrong like everything else

Steve Herrod :

you've done nothing wrong so far

Steve Herrod :

SMC is reset with Shift-Control-Option and power

Steve Herrod :
  1. Shut down the computer.
  2. Plug in the MagSafe power adapter to a power source, connecting it to the Mac if its not already connected.
  3. On the built-in keyboard, press the (left side) Shift-Control-Option keys and the power button at the same time.
  4. Release all the keys and the power button at the same time.
  5. Press the power button to turn on the computer.
    Note
    : The LED on the MagSafe power adapter may change states or temporarily turn off when you reset the SMC.

Customer :

no joy but faint eforts from the machine - tic noise as oif trying to kick start but not getting there - just grey screen

Steve Herrod :

hmmm ok

Customer :

throw it in bin-an option!!

Steve Herrod :

did you say that you can't eject the disc either?

Steve Herrod :

lol

Customer :

yes - start up disc -leopard

Steve Herrod :

ok - and if you reboot holding down C/

Steve Herrod :

sorry - c ?

Customer :

just one tone and now whirring - disc no retreivable

Steve Herrod :

is the tone the standard Apple chime or more of an electronic beep

Steve Herrod :

sorry - if that makes sense

Customer :

standard apple chime

Steve Herrod :

ok - well the fact that it's getting to the chime and a grey screen indicates the hardware is ok

Steve Herrod :

and it's a software issue

Customer :

should the mbp not start up or show icons if software problem - any chance the machin heated up ?

Steve Herrod :

as a quick check can you restart in target mode too?

Steve Herrod :

reboot and hold down T

Steve Herrod :

it's the very first level of software loading which looks like it is where the problem is

Customer :

can i do a master reset like in the past with a paper clip?

Steve Herrod :

do you mean to eject the disc?

Customer :

yes

Steve Herrod :

yes - if there is a little hole in the drive you should be able to put an unbent paper clip in there

Customer :

withb reboot t firewire symbolm -wow!!!!

Customer :

next step please

Steve Herrod :

ok - that's good

Steve Herrod :

shows somethings are working

Steve Herrod :

ok - now try and reboot with C

Customer :

switch off and reboot with C?

Steve Herrod :

yep

Customer :

no progress no firewire symbol even got the apple chime and the continued whirring sign but nothing else yet

Steve Herrod :

still a grey screen?

Customer :

yes regretably

Steve Herrod :

ok - try rebooting and doing PRAM agian

Customer :

chime whirring and back to grey screen but appears to be trying to start oops i was prematurely optimistic back to grey screen and no sounds

Customer :

try alt command p r again?

Steve Herrod :

yep

Customer :

chime but nothing else

Steve Herrod :

hmmm ok

Customer :

how can i get the disc out?

Steve Herrod :

do you see a tiny hole on the DVD drive?

Customer :

no tiny hole but small oblong hole next to drive

Steve Herrod :

ok - try rebooting while holding down the trackpad button

Customer :

chime whirring sound and small tick noise as if trying to start - disc out horray!

Customer :

now doument folder - grey with ? flashing

Steve Herrod :

ok - that's one thing!

Steve Herrod :

ok - that means it can't find the software

Steve Herrod :

so let's startup in Safe mode again

Steve Herrod :

hold down shift while rebootign

Customer :

grey document folder - good sign? if nothing i am an optimist

Steve Herrod :

well - I'm pretty sure the hardware is ok in your laptop

Steve Herrod :

it's whether we can coax the software along

Customer :

i am speaking nicely to it

Customer :

if only it would reboot i could extract my folder

Customer :

would another go atb alt command pr be an option

Steve Herrod :

yep....

Steve Herrod :

definitely

Steve Herrod :

also - do you have any other OSX startup discs?

Customer :

unfortunately nothing except ox leopard. still flashing grey document folder

Steve Herrod :

ok, can you try rebooting with the CD in?

Customer :

it sounds as if it is trying to click something but nothing happens - put in disc no joy

Steve Herrod :

ok

Steve Herrod :

only options remaining are to remove disk again

Steve Herrod :

(reboot with trackpad)

Steve Herrod :

and then try resetting PRAM and SMC

Steve Herrod :

SMC is this one

Steve Herrod :
  1. Shut down the computer.
  2. Plug in the MagSafe power adapter to a power source, connecting it to the Mac if its not already connected.
  3. On the built-in keyboard, press the (left side) Shift-Control-Option keys and the power button at the same time.
  4. Release all the keys and the power button at the same time.
  5. Press the power button to turn on the computer.
    Note
    : The LED on the MagSafe power adapter may change states or temporarily turn off when you reset the SMC.

Customer :

no joy disc still in computer screen grey no flashoing document icon

Steve Herrod :

ok, can you try a reboot a few times

Steve Herrod :

with the trackpad button

Steve Herrod :

to see if we can get the disc out again?

Customer :

no joy getting late can i recontact yourselves in the morning

Customer :

will i have to pay again

Steve Herrod :

no problem - I'll be online from around 9AM UK time

Steve Herrod :

no, you won't have to pay anything else

Steve Herrod :

you only have to pay if you are happy with the service provided

Customer :

thank yo and good night

Steve Herrod :

thanks - you too

Customer :

Sorry Steve but Applecentre have advised me i needed change of my hard disc - so it was a hardware problem and the mac is working fine now. Hence I am unsure if I have been charged because your suggestion was it was not a hardware problem.

Steve Herrod :

Am glad it is sorted finally. You only pay by Accepting an Answer so you haven't been charged for this.

Steve Herrod :

Cheers

Steve Herrod :

Steve

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Steve Herrod
Steve Herrod
Staff Systems Analyst
175 Satisfied Customers
OSX certified, many years experience supporting Apple Hardware & Software