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John T. F.
John T. F., Mac Druid
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 2942
Experience:  20+ years in the computer/Mac industry
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I have an older PowerMac G5 (June 2004) running Leopard (10.5.2)

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I have an older PowerMac G5 (June 2004) running Leopard (10.5.2) that will no longer boot. I bought it from someone else and do not have the OS discs. When I hit the power button it will go as far as the grey Apple screen and the progress indicator will appear. That's it. After a minute or so, the fans begin to race and I have to force shut down the machine. Any ideas?
Hello! My name isXXXXX will work diligently to provide accurate advice and information.

Do you have anything else plugged into this G5 beyond the required items (Monitor, power, keyboard, mouse)?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No. I do have an external LaCie hard atteached to the eSATA port.

Okay, remove the external drive for now.

Since you do not have the orignal discs, we will have to be creative a bit. If my first answer does not resolve your problem do not rate yet. Use "Reply to Expert" button instead.

Restart the Mac

As soon as you hear the startup chime, press and hold the following keys;


Hold them until you hear the chime a second time and then release the keys and allow the Mac to boot normally.

Does it boot to desktop as you would hope? If not, reply back.

If you still have concerns, please do not negatively rate my answer, simply reply back before rating. I'll be more than happy to work with you further. Hopefully, this info will answer your question. When you are satisfied, please give my answers a positive rating. You are judging my personal service only (not this website or your issue) and high ratings assure I remain in good standing.

Thanks and good luck,
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I did get to the desktop. I ran the Verify Disk routine in Disk utility and it checked out OK. I then ran the Repair Permissions routine and about 3 minutes into that, the screen went dark grey and a pop-up windo appeared that reads "You need to restart your computer. Hold donw the Power button for several seconds or presst the Restart button."

Okay, let's try resetting the System Management Unit on the Power Mac and then checking the drive from single user mode.

Turn off the computer by selecting Shut Down from the Apple menu or by holding the power button until the computer turns off.

Remove the power cord from the computer.

Wait a minimum of two minutes.

Plug in the power cord.

Turn on the computer and make sure it will boot normally.

Restart your Mac

Immediately press the "Command"(Apple) key + "S" Key at the same time

When the screen goes black and you start seeing text, let go.

After a short period of time you will land at a command prompt (:/root#).

At the command-line prompt, type:
/sbin/fsck -fy

and Press Return.

fsck is a file system checker. It will run through a battery of tests, looking at different aspects of your file system.

When it's done, it will normally produce one of two messages

1) "The volume (name of your hard drive) appears to be OK

If it states the above, then your drive is fine and you can simply type "reboot" at the prompt to restart your Mac and boot back to the Desktop.

2) If fsck found any errors, it may have tried to correct them and will display this message: --FILE SYSTEM WAS MODIFIED--

If this message appears, repeat the fsck command you typed at the beginning

/sbin/fsck -fy

and Press Return.

Keep repeating this until it reports your drive is OK.

If by some reason you need to do the above more than 5 times, this indicates a more serious issue. At the very least, the hard drive needs to be formatted and OS X should be re-installed.

However, assuming everything goes okay, type 'reboot' at the prompt and then press Return. It should boot back to the desktop.

Then try running Repair Permissions once more.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I was able to successfully run Repair Permissions and it was a pretty lengthy list. I do have a copy of Disc Warrior that I was thinking of running, but I can't remember how the start the Mac from the DW CD.

If the drive reported as being ok then DW should not be needed. However you can boot from the disc by restarting and holding down the C key.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Right after I sent you that last reply, the Mac froze up again, and I am unable to reboot at all now. One time when I got to the gray Apple screen I saw the progress indicator appear for about a minute and then the Apple changed to a "O" with a diagonal line through it. I have been unable to restart, even with Command-Option PR. The fans continue to race.

Ok, try a reset of the System Mangement Unit once more. This isn't sounding like a drive issue. Possibly cooling or memory.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I can get to the black screen with the text, but it freezes during the scroll down and I am unable to enter any text because there is no prompt visible either.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Relist: Incomplete answer.
Apparently my tech John T.F. went offline. I'm trying to resolve a boot up issue with my Mac and it's getting late. I've been working at this for almost 2 hours now. Thanks.

Can you tell me the physical configuration of memory you have installed?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Sorry, John. The pop-up message I got said you were offline. I have 8GB DRAM (4X2GB).

Thanks and no worries. :-)

Please try reseating the memory and also seeing if you can manage to boot the DW disc.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

OK, I was incorrect about the RAM. Been a while since I was inside this machine. I have 8 memory slots. The front four have 2 1GB DDR's and 2 128MB DDR. The back four have the same set of cards but are in the reverse order.


my gut feeling is this may be hardware related - either memory, mainboard or a physical issue with the hard drive. If you could reseat all the RAM, or even test a different configuration (inserting them in different slots than before, booting with less memory, etc...) that might narrow it down if it's memory related.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

OK, I re-seated the RAM cards. I left them in the same order for now. I reconnected the machine and start up failed. I tried the file system checker and it failed. Booting up with Command-Option PR got me to the blue screen, but then the greyed out screen with the restart message came up. I think I'm dead in the water.

Were you able to boot up from the DW disc? If you can boot of the disc then that may point to a more physical issue with the hard drive, if the disc also locks up then it may point to memory or mainboard.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

This is just getting wierder by the minute. I was unable to run DW and rebuild the directory because I have a newer version of Mac OS than the version compatible with DW. I did test the drive and it said it is functioning normally. I'm done. I'm going to pull the hard drive out and get it backed up and retire this tired old machine. It served me well. Thanks for your help, John.

You are very welcome!

I still think fiddling with the memory might be worth a tray but either way, it sounds like that Mac has served well for a more than average length of time!

I enjoyed working with you – please feel free to request me again at any time when you come back to ask another Apple-related question. I can be reached directly via the following page:

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yeah, it was one of the first from that initial 6-month G5 run prior to the Intel machines coming out.

I will try messing with the RAM cards when I have a bit of time to do that. Right now it's midnight where I am.

I will make sure to give you a good rating. Is it possible for you to email me a copy of this thread?

I can't email the thread ( as we don't have access to customer emails) but you should actually be able to print it (to printer or PDF). There should be a "Share" button near the top of the page that has options for print, etc...

If that doesn't work for you, let me know.

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