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Mike
Mike, Mac Medic
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 6807
Experience:  Over 20 years IT experience with Apple computers in publishing, marketing and design.
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iMac 2005. Came with OS 10.3 but upgraded to 10.4 immediately

Customer Question

iMac 2005. Came with OS 10.3 but upgraded to 10.4 immediately after purchase. Past few days: crashes, sometimes with display pattern appearing. Sometimes the display vibrates horizontally a bit without crash. Current motherboard dying? 10.4 upgrade DVD evidently doesn't include Apple Hardware Test. Any way of acquiring? I suspect I'll have to take the iMac in for repair.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mac
Expert:  Mike replied 2 years ago.
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. I look forward to assisting you today with your question and providing the best answer possible.


Put the current operating system disk in (the disk that came with your computer unless you have upgraded, in that case use the new system disk) and restart holding down the letter C key until you see the Apple logo. Choose your language then you get to the install screen DO NOT INSTALL, you will see at the top of the screen a Utilities menu drop down. Go the Disk Utility, Highlight your hard drive (usually Macintosh HD) and click on Verify Disk on the right. If that is OK and only if that is OK click on Repair Permissions. If Verify Disk is not OK try to Repair. If Repair is successful then Repair Permissions if it is not successful let me know.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
OK: will do. Congrats on speed of response!
Expert:  Mike replied 2 years ago.
Let me know
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks again. Result:

Verify disk: Volume header requires minor repair

Repair disk: successful

Repair disk permissions: successful.

I suggest we give the computer good use during the coming hours (it's early evening here in UK!). Will be great if OK now, but I still have a gut feeling that the motherboard is dying. On recent form, i.e. the past few days, at least one crash or other irregularity (e.g. screen vibrating horizontally for a few secs) would be likely during an evening's use. Whoops: just happened (vibration)!
Expert:  Mike replied 2 years ago.
Please go to the Apple logo on the upper left of the screen, go to About This Mac (DO NOT Select More Info), and tell me the Version (under Mac OS X), the Processor and the Memory, it is all right there.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
10.4.11
1.8 GHz PowerPC G5
512 MB DDR SDRAM
Expert:  Mike replied 2 years ago.
Try restart and hold Command - O - F when you get to the prompt type:

reset-nvram

hit Return, then type:

reset-all

hit return.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Done (actually Command - option - O - F rather than Command - O - F!). Sorry slight delay.
Expert:  Mike replied 2 years ago.
Right sorry. It’s been a while.....
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
OK. Actually there was a crash a minute or so after sending the most recent message. I don't think I was doing anything at the time except possibly moving the cursor around. Result: static, rerpeated screen pattern, very reminiscent of past motherboards blowing. Also, has sometimes been hanging for, say, half a minute, then OK. This also happened just now. I've learned to wait that long and not necessarily rebooting.
Expert:  Mike replied 2 years ago.
You have very little RAM memory, how much drive space is free?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes, RAM is not vast, but we've lived with it, and current symptoms are in last few days only. Hard drive space:

Capacity: 148.92 GB
Available: 49.04 GB

i.e. reasonably OK, I'd have thought.
Expert:  Mike replied 2 years ago.
Right that should be OK. Since your drive was corrupt you might consider reinstalling your system:

Put the current operating system disk (the one that came with your Mac unless you have upgraded) in and restart holding down the letter C key until you see the Apple logo. When you get to the install screen DO NOT INSTALL, you will see at the top of the screen a Utilities menu drop down. Go the Disk Utility, when it opens select your drive on the left and select Verify Disk if OK also repair Permissions. If not OK try to Repair if Repair completes then Repair Permissions. Then quit Disk Utility and then you will see the install screen . Install choosing the option to Archive and Install if you don't have that option just install. Restart and run Software Update until no more updates are available.

Remember, if for any reason you are unsatisfied with my answer, we can continue the conversation until you’re satisfied and Accept my answer. I can address follow up questions at no extra charge and I’m always here to help. Thank you for using JustAnswer!
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
How sure are you that reinstalling the OS will solve the problem? It's quite a big job to do, and we've been lazy about backing up data, which I think I ought to do first - plus then the updates to bring the OS up to 10.4.11. My hunch still is that there's a problem with the motherboard that reinstalling the OS won't cure. That's why I was wishing for an appropriate version of the Apple Hardware Test to run in the first place, but I fear I'm out of luck with that.
Expert:  Mike replied 2 years ago.
I have not found that test to be reliable anyway. Yes you should have a backup first as always. When you had it replaced previously was it done by Apple? It is VERY unusual for it to fail three times. Maybe time to upgrade? A reinstall is really not that painful and still worth a try if you ask me.

Remember, if for any reason you are unsatisfied with my answer, we can continue the conversation until you’re satisfied and Accept my answer. I can address follow up questions at no extra charge and I’m always here to help. Thank you for using JustAnswer!
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks again. XXXXX'm not very experienced with Apple Hardware Test. Re motherboard failures, I think this was a known problem at the time, with condensers blowing and spewing out corrosive liquid. One version I'd heard is that this was a result of botched industrial espionage on the part of the motherboard manufacturers.

Motherboard replacements so far:

Aug 2006: done by Amsys plc (this is in the UK)
Oct 2007: also Amsys
Jan 2009: done at local Applestore (Genius Bar) (Leicester, UK)

Scheduling uncannily organised so that each successive motherboard failed when it was just out of warranty.

I guess I'd better do a comprehensive data backup whatever happens next, whether it's reinstalling the OS or having the motherboard examined and replaced if required. I'm afraid there might now be a silence for a couple of days or so: tied up with other things, I'm afraid.
Expert:  Mike replied 2 years ago.
Sounds like it is time to upgrade. Let me know

Remember, if for any reason you are unsatisfied with my answer, we can continue the conversation until you’re satisfied and Accept my answer. I can address follow up questions at no extra charge and I’m always here to help. Thank you for using JustAnswer!
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks again, but 2-day (or possibly a bit more) silence begins now, I'm afraid!
Expert:  Mike replied 2 years ago.
OK nothing more I can do anyway good luck

Remember, if for any reason you are unsatisfied with my answer, we can continue the conversation until you’re satisfied and Accept my answer. I can address follow up questions at no extra charge and I’m always here to help. Thank you for using JustAnswer!
Expert:  Mike replied 2 years ago.
Any luck?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I took the machine to the local Apple Store. Immediate diagnosis: blown motherboard (or art least some of the condensers on it). However, they no longer supply Apple-approved parts for a machine this old (2005) and advise me to try an independent repairer. I've now taken the iMac to one. He's optimistic and should know better by midweek.

I'd be prepared to go halves with you. On the one hand you've spent quite a long time on this and been really quick and clear with successive replies. On the other hand I suspect that it didn't address the problem, and that this might have been knowable (or at least guessable) from the start.
Expert:  Mike replied 2 years ago.
Well I had to go through some tests how could I know at the start. I figured it was a serious hardware problem. Is it really worth the price of fixing? I think you should consider a new Mac if you are able to afford it. Good luck.

Remember, if for any reason you are unsatisfied with my answer, we can continue the conversation until you’re satisfied and Accept my answer. I can address follow up questions at no extra charge and I’m always here to help. Thank you for using JustAnswer!
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I still think that going halves looks fair to me. Does the system allow this? I'll certainly consider buying a new Mac, but it would be a pity to see the existing one go to waste if only one bit is faulty. I'll see what the repair chap quotes. Thanks for the thought.
Expert:  Mike replied 2 years ago.
It is up to you. Thanks. I don't know how you would do that you can ask:

http://www.justanswer.com/help/contact.aspx

Remember, if for any reason you are unsatisfied with my answer, we can continue the conversation until you’re satisfied and Accept my answer. I can address follow up questions at no extra charge and I’m always here to help. Thank you for using JustAnswer!
Mike, Mac Medic
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 6807
Experience: Over 20 years IT experience with Apple computers in publishing, marketing and design.
Mike and 3 other Mac Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I've asked and will come back to you. I hope I'm not being unduly stingy.
Expert:  Mike replied 2 years ago.
Thanks
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I think, with help from Customer Support, that I've managed to arrange a half-payment to you. Thanks again for your help.
Expert:  Mike replied 2 years ago.
Thank you.

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