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Daniel, Mac Genius
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 4770
Experience:  Apple certified on desktop and portable, help desk qualified. Have owned and used Macs since 1989.
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My iMac is taking three or four attempts to start up - first

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My iMac is taking three or four attempts to start up - first attemt results in the fan becoming very loud and the screen is blank - second attempt normally results in the a "need to restart message" with other info on screen starting with 'panic' - on occasions when it appears to have started properly, I can't access the dock, when I do a set of calipers with a chip in them appears in the top left corner.
Hello my name is Dan.
What sounds does it make other than normal startup sounds when starting?
Have you installed any new RAM or other components?
What kind of Mac is it?
What version Mac OS X?
When did this first start and what did you notice that was different?
Lets start with that and see where it goes.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Hi Dan, thanks for your reply.

It is an iMac 1.8 GHz running OS X 10.4.11 - no recent RAM upgrade or installations.

Startup sounds normal or nothing (like it cannot find the driver!)

Difficult to tell when the problem first started and in what sequence of events - for no reason screen dimmed and a notice appeared in several languages saying that "You need to restart your computer" - during a startup I left the machine and noticed a loud fan noise coming from the room, I powered down and restarted.
More recently the startup has become quite consistent:

1st attempt - machine seems to be in limbo with loud fan noise

2nd attempt - seems to be starting normally, then the notivce appears as above.

3rd attempt - starts OK but on occasion, I have no access to the dock with the mouse and today I noticed that an icon (caliper with a chip inside) appears on top left of the screen (took a screenshot of this)

Hope this helps

It does indeed help.
What you have is called a kernel panic and is 9.9 of 10 times indicates a hardware failure.

If it has extra RAM even if Apple installed that could be the issue and the easiest to fix.

If not then the logic board has gone bad and this, from your description, sounds the most likely.
Either way it is best to have an Apple Store tech evaluate it to confirm my diagnoses.

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