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Ashik, Mac Technician
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 11061
Experience:  Bachelor of Computer Application (BCA), 9+ Years of Experience in troubleshooting Macs, iPhone, iPad, iPod etc
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My iMac is slow starting up with the gray screen and apple

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My iMac is slow starting up with the gray screen and apple logo staying on for several minutes. The screen will go blue for a couple of seconds then to the background screen then after a minute the log in will appear. When I log in (with the administrator ID) the log in disapears and only my background screen with nothing else showing stays up for a minute. Then it all goes back to the log in screen. If I choose the guest log in everything seems work.
Hi and Welcome. My Name is XXXXX XXXXX I look forward to assisting you today with your question.

What version of Mac OS X are you using ?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Stephen, it seems like your main account is corrupted. We can try some basic troubleshooting steps and see if that works or not. First we can reset the PRAM and NVRAM of your Mac.

Reset PRAM and NVRAM

  1. Turn off your Mac
  2. Turn it back on and immediately hold down Command-Option-P-R keys. You must press this key combination before the gray screen appears and before the chime sound.
  3. Hold the keys down until the computer restarts and you hear the startup sound for three times.
  4. Release the keys and the let the Mac boot up to desktop

If that didn’t work, then restart your Mac in Safe Mode. To do so, make sure that the computer is shut down. Press the power button. Immediately after you hear the startup tone, press and hold the Shift key. Release the Shift key when you see the gray Apple and progress indicator. Let the Mac boot up to safe mode.

If Safe Mode doesn’t work, run Disk Utility in Single User Mode. Follow the steps below;

Turn your Mac off. Turn it back on and this time hold down the Command (Apple) key and the S keys at the same time. Then type the following command...

/sbin/fsck -fy (note the space between fsck and -fy)

If you can't run /sbin/fsck -fy then type only fsk -fy

Hit return and the disk utility should run and let it finish. When it finishes and there is no error, then type reboot and hit return. Let the Mac boot up. (Disk Utility will fix all system errors, bad preferences files etc)

Please let me know if those steps didn't work, so we can continue troubleshooting.

Best Regards,


Customer: replied 3 years ago.

no success so far, I got it in Single User Mode and have text on the screen with errors trying to load the drivers and the wireless keyboard is not able to type any text.

If you have a USB Keyboard handy, then try with it.

And do you have the Mac OS X installation discs ?
Stephen, do you have the Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard installation discs ?
If nothing is working, then we can reinstall your OS X with the Mac OS X installation disc. Put the OS X Disc 1 to your Mac. Restart your Mac and immediately hold down C key on your Keyboard. Keep it held down until it boots into the disc. It may take upto 15 minutes to boot into the disc. Once it booted to disc, follow the onscreen instructions to reinstall your Mac OS X. Reinstalling OS X won't delete any of your files. It will just replace the corrupted system files with new one. Let me know how it goes...
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I completed the single user/disk utility procedure but the problem still exists. I'm reinstalling OSX from the disk.
Hi there, sorry for the delay. How is it going ?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The reinstall of the 0SX failed overnight,,, the screen was full of failed install messages. Since I was sleeping during that time and not sure if any messages came up before the failure I will try to install again this morning.

Stephen, can you back up your important files and install a clean version of OS X ?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

most have been but some very important ones were being worked on that day and would be lost so thats not an option yet.

Ok Reinstall again and please let me know what exact error are you getting.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

will do

Thanks Stephen
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

After going through the installing process of 45 minutes the time bar is totally blue and the time remaining is now increasing per minute (now up to 10 minutes).. so not sure what to do.

Sorry for the delay Stephen. Let it complete.

What does it shows now ?
Sorry for the delay Stephen. Let it complete the process.

What does it shows now ? Is it frozen in that screen ?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yea, it just kept adding minutes to the time and when it got to - 50 I shut it down. I was able to recover almost all the data with the last time machine backup fortunately. Doing a clean install of SL.

It seems like the entire OS X is corrupted. The same happened to me in the past and I had to erase the HD with disk utility and reinstalled the OS X. Make sure you erase the HD with Disk Utility before reinstalling. And glad that you have the backup of your data.

Best Regards,
Ashik and 7 other Mac Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes, it seemed to get worse after every attempt too so it was a necessity to do it. Yes, I erased the HD with the disk utility first then went for the install. Three cheers XXXXX XXXXX Machine as it backed up just before things went south on the HD so everything was there... at least what I remembered and needed. Thanks for the help Ashik.



Time Machine does a great job in backing up. Is everything working fine now Stephen ?
Hi Stephen, if everything is working fine please rate me Positively so that I will get credit for helping you.

If you've any questions or would like any additional information, please don't hesitate to ask.

Best Regards,
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I did a disc repair again and then a clean install of OSX snow leopard last night. This morning I checked it and the screen showed the OS had been installed successfully. When I restarted the computer it seemed to start up slow and then went into the welcome screen with all the languages saying hello but the screen would freeze then start and freeze then start all through the introduction so every thing was jerky visually but the sound track was fine. After that it froze and then went to a black screen for about 30 minutes. I restarted it and the gray screen with the apple and time indicator came up and has been going on for 20+ minutes. Looks like I'll have to take it in for diagnostics and repair after all. Bummer!

Then it must be hardware related Stephen. Probably your hard drive is failing.

We've already tried all troubleshooting steps so far and I believe the problem is with the hard drive.