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Old 09-10-2007, 10:54 PM   #1
stmills
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Powerbook G4 boots to grey screen

Hi Folks,

Any thoughts on what to do with this one?

Have a Powerbook G4 (Aluminium 1.33ghz/512Mb RAM) and when it boots, the screen gets to the grey pre-icon stage, but no further. It makes the startup chime and that's it. This is what I've done so far to no avail:

- Replaced the RAM (with different working RAM)
- Reset PRAM, Power Manager & open firmware NVRAM + reset all
- Pulled the HDD out, reformatted, clean OS, put back in
- Won't seem to boot off a CD (with c held down)
- Will boot in Target disk mode
- External monitor attached also shows grey
- Begged and pleaded

Thoughts on possible next steps, or guesses as to my problem?

Thanks!
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Old 09-11-2007, 11:16 AM   #2
trevor
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You should be able to see the text "under" the gray screen by holding down Command-V (for verbose mode) at startup. What does the text say?

Quote:
Pulled the HDD out, reformatted, clean OS, put back in

What computer did you reformat and install a clean OS from?

Trevor
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Old 09-11-2007, 07:15 PM   #3
stmills
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Nothing sems to happen when I hold "v" on startup. Same grey screen.

Installed clean OS from a G4 desktop onto the HDD, then put it back into the powerbook.
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Old 09-12-2007, 10:40 AM   #4
trevor
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stmills
Nothing sems to happen when I hold "v" on startup. Same grey screen.

Please read the post again. The keys to hold down are Command-V. Command is the key that looks like this:


Hold down both Command and V immediately after you hit the On button, and keep them held down until you see the Verbose Text screen that is "under" the gray screen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stmills
Installed clean OS from a G4 desktop onto the HDD, then put it back into the powerbook.

I'm not sure that the OS that is installed when booted to a G4 desktop will work with a PowerBook G4, although some posters here claim that it will.

Trevor

Last edited by trevor; 09-12-2007 at 10:57 AM.
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Old 09-12-2007, 07:12 PM   #5
stmills
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Apologies! I'll learn to read! Gave command-v ago and no joy there either. Not looking good.

I can get another powerbook and do a clean OS install from that, see if that helps.

Cheers,

Scott
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Old 09-12-2007, 11:04 PM   #6
trevor
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OK, there's an alternate means to boot in verbose mode, it's just more difficult, and it's a toggle, so you'll need to turn it off (unless you prefer verbose mode like I do).

First boot to Open Firmware by holding down Command-Option-O-F (that's the letter Oh, not the number zero). You say above that you reset Open Firmware, so I'll assume that you can do that.

At the Open Firmware text prompt, type exactly precisely (write this down carefully so you get it correct down to the last detail)

setenv boot-args -v

Now, type
mac-boot
to continue the boot process.

When you are ready to turn it off, when you are booted into OS X normally, enter the following command into your Terminal (which is found in /Applications/Utilities):
sudo nvram boot-args=""

Trevor
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Old 09-13-2007, 03:41 AM   #7
stmills
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Ok, in part I'm *guessing* that I'm accessing the open firmware - because I still see nothing on screen, but when I type in what you suggest, when I hite "enter" after "mac-boot", the screen dips black briefly.

This aside, all it does is keep showing that blank grey. I'm starting to think it may be a video problem, however the external monitor shows the same.

Then again, external video comes on AFTER the open firmware prompt in the boot process, so isn't much use to me here.
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Old 09-13-2007, 08:59 AM   #8
trevor
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Quote:
Ok, in part I'm *guessing* that I'm accessing the open firmware - because I still see nothing on screen, but when I type in what you suggest, when I hite "enter" after "mac-boot", the screen dips black briefly.

Oh! That changes the problem quite a bit. Before you said that you had reset Open Firmware, so I thought that you could see the Open Firmware screen. It looks kind of like this:


If you seem to be booting to Open Firmware but cannot see the screen, then I think you have a hardware problem for which you should take the PowerBook in to your preferred Apple Authorized Repair shop.

Trevor
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Old 09-13-2007, 07:29 PM   #9
stmills
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Drat - just what I didn't want to hear.

Thank you so much though for all your patient help on this - it's been very much appreciated. Taking the time to show me in pictures was very thoughtful and a great help! Thank you!
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Old 06-28-2008, 10:16 PM   #10
iibkll
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Help!

hopefully some one will see this but trevor, I had the same problem and when i got to the Open firmware and typed
setenv boot-args -v

I didnt boot into the regular OSX but i went to a screen that talked about standard time, all in black and white, so i restarted the computer and now it just boots in the same black and white screen. I think it had something to do with setenv boot-args -v so i was wondering if you knew what i could do to fix it
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Old 06-30-2008, 11:21 PM   #11
trevor
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To unset the boot-args in Open Firmware (valid for PPC machines only--doesn't work on Intel machines), you boot to OF and type the following command:

setenv boot-args

You can verify that the -v setting has been unset with the command

printenv

...which should show all of your Open Firmware variables.

But that's not going to fix the problem you're having, it will just make it so that you can't see the verbose text screen.

Please give us the exact text where it talks about standard time, not your description of it.

Trevor
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Old 07-19-2009, 02:18 AM   #12
kielgailer
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Hoping someone can help. I know this is an old post, but hope someone out there is still looking.

I have the same problem with an old alum PowerBook G4. Grey screen upon loading. I can get into Open Firmware.. and can read screen clearly. I have tried toggling to verbose mode and then continue to boot.. however it just returns to the grey screen.

Any advice??
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Old 08-25-2009, 07:59 AM   #13
goochrules
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I have the same issue as kielgailer:

1ghz aluminum powerbook g4... left on over night, found to be hung in the morning w/ black screen, fans spinning, wouldn't wake from sleep. Held the power button down to shut off the computer, pressed it again, and get a grey screen.

When I boot, the normal hard drive noises, apple chime and dark grey screen all occur as normal, then a lighter grey screen is the last thing to display. After a bit, the fans will come on. On a successful boot I would expect the apple logo to appear at the lighter grey screen.

I am able to get into open firmware, and CMD-OPT-P-R appears to be working (i.e., the computer will continue to reboot as long as I have the keys pressed), but all other startup options (OPT for Startup Manager, Shift for Safe Mode, T for FireWire target disk mode, CMD-V for verbose mode or CMD-S for Single User mode) do not appear to have any effect.

I have not made any recent hardware or software changes to the computer.
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