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Old 11-24-2007, 09:51 PM   #1
thirddegree
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Intel iMac will not boot past gray screen

Intel iMac will not boot past gray screen

my system:
new (month old) 24" intel imac, 2.8 ghz, 4 gb ram.
running: leopard (upgraded from tiger, which was pre-installed at purchase), installed 10.5.1 update right before this huge problem occurred.
install discs on-hand: two-disc tiget set, single leopard upgrade disc.

what led to this:
i wanted to install windows using bootcamp on a 50 gb partition.
at this point i was running leopard 10.5
i followed all bootcamp instructions, printing out the guide, as well. once i got into the windows setup, i was prompted to choose a partition to install windows. unlike the bootcamp guide, which showed three partitions, one clearly labeled "bootcamp", i saw only one partition. not wanting to risk writing over my mac partition, i quit the setup and rebooted the mac os. after some googling around, i looked for firmware updates (didn't need any), and then software updates. i decided to try updating to 10.5.1.
i then ran through boot camp again, deleting my previous windows partition, creating a new one, and moving forward as before. once again, i was only shown one partition to choose from in the windows setup. i exited the setup again to reboot through the mac os, but this time, i was only given a blank gray screen.

here's what i have tried so far:

booting from a CD, holding down the C or D keys: no response (in fact, i have to restart the computer holding down the mouse button to be able to eject the CD)

booting with option key held down: gray screen

booting with option key held down with external bootable firewire drive attached: the firewire drive appears as a boot icon, and i can click on it within a five second window, but then the screen freezes after that time period, and nothing changes

booting into target mode while attached to another mac: gray screen (no firewire icon, and drive never shows up on other mac)

resetting NVRAM: i'm able to hear the boot chimes, but no difference in performance. gray screen every time

Safe boot: nothing but a gray screen

Verbose mode: gray screen

Single user mode: gray screen

Single user mode with firewire drive attached: occasionally (not every time), i am able to get the white on black terminal to show up. from here, i'm able to run fsck, but it appears to only be checking the firewire drive. i have tried several times to boot from here, and once it took me to a blue screen with movable arrow cursor, but it never went beyond this.

is there anything else left to try before taking it to apple?

any help would be greatly appreciated.

thanks,

Casey Burns

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Old 11-24-2007, 11:11 PM   #2
thirddegree
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I have also tried removing my third party ram, and booting with the 1 GB chip that shipped with the machine. No difference.


Casey Burns

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Old 11-25-2007, 05:15 AM   #3
mass2chaos
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Try using DiskWarrior
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Old 11-25-2007, 09:40 PM   #4
thirddegree
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dropped it off at the apple store, where they told me they had seen this before, and the only way around it was to remove the hard drive and put it into a casing, and wipe it from another computer using disk utility, and then re-install leopard. they said there has been no successful data recovery in any of the cases. ugh.
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Old 01-20-2008, 10:51 AM   #5
BlueLew
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Same trouble

Casey,

I had this exact thing happen with my 24" Intel Core2Duo iMac yesterday.

The exact same sequence of events and now the exact same results...

I've tried all the same recovery steps and all I've got is a gray boot screen. Initially I couldn't event get the my Windows XP install CD to eject but after several PROM resets and then the mouse button held on boot, my Mac did finally eject my Windows XP install CD.

Misery loves company... I felt better seeing that I wasn't the only one having this problem. I wish there was an easier recovery than carrying the system back into the store to be gutted and repaired.

I can't imagine what kind of drive corruption would occur that would prevent the firmware from properly allowing a recovery from the CD/DVD drive... that just doesn't make any sense. This really doesn't seem like the kind of problem we'd face with a Mac!!! ARGH!!

Thanks for your post and your info though... based you your info I'm carrying my system in to the Apple store today and feel you've saved me several more hours of frustration.

Thanks again,
Lewis Ray
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Old 01-26-2008, 05:04 PM   #6
Chintoo
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Angry Re: Intel iMac will not boot past gray screen

Exact same thing happened to me!!

Still trying out a few things - before taking it to the dreaded 'Genuises' at the apple store.

Will update if I find a solution. Let me know if anyone else has found a way out of this mess!

THX
Chintoo
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Old 02-07-2008, 02:55 AM   #7
Chintoo
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Found a solution!!!

Finally.. sorry for the delay folks - been a bit bz. Here is a pretty neat solution. It works. No need to go to the apple store and get bothered with all the 'genuises' there

1. If you don’t already have one, for ~60 you can build an external firewire drive with images of your system installer CDs (get any cheapo internal drive and an external firewire enclosure – ~$30 each).

2. Beg / Borrow / steal / use any old mac (G5 or Intel) to format your $60 firewire drive with a single partition (in disk utility, choose options—> GUID partition map so that it boots your intel Mac).

3. Connect firewire drive to your working mac and use disk utility to ‘restore’ the OS X install CD 1 onto the firewire drive to make an external bootable firewire system drive.

4. You don’t need the old mac anymore. Shut it down. Connect firewire drive to your ‘dead’ mac and boot holding down option key

5. Click on arrow below the firewire drive icon you will see on the grey screen of death.

6. It will appear that the computer has frozen. Actually it has set the boot preference next time you power down and on again. (Yeah! and we thought Windows was dumb!)

7. Do the needful. Reboot your ‘dead’ mac for the final time with firewire drive still connected. Voila!!
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Old 02-07-2008, 07:20 PM   #8
Las_Vegas
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5) Instead, click on the Firewire drive icon itself and then click the arrow.

6) No freeze! It just boots the Firewire drive.
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Old 01-17-2009, 11:42 AM   #9
gordonclamp
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What happens next

Hi, I have had the same problem with my 24" 2.8 GHz Imac, and it is not easy to get to an Apple store where I live. At one point I was able to get to disk utilities through the start up disk but the internal drive was nowhere to be seen, if I plugged an existing external drive in this became visible. Do I assume that the internal drive by-passed by the external firewire drive is no longer usable, or if it is how can you reformat it if it is not visible. It would seem to be a shame to have a 320 gb drive laying dormant inside my 1 year old Imac.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Chintoo
Finally.. sorry for the delay folks - been a bit bz. Here is a pretty neat solution. It works. No need to go to the apple store and get bothered with all the 'genuises' there

1. If you don’t already have one, for ~60 you can build an external firewire drive with images of your system installer CDs (get any cheapo internal drive and an external firewire enclosure – ~$30 each).

2. Beg / Borrow / steal / use any old mac (G5 or Intel) to format your $60 firewire drive with a single partition (in disk utility, choose options—> GUID partition map so that it boots your intel Mac).

3. Connect firewire drive to your working mac and use disk utility to ‘restore’ the OS X install CD 1 onto the firewire drive to make an external bootable firewire system drive.

4. You don’t need the old mac anymore. Shut it down. Connect firewire drive to your ‘dead’ mac and boot holding down option key

5. Click on arrow below the firewire drive icon you will see on the grey screen of death.

6. It will appear that the computer has frozen. Actually it has set the boot preference next time you power down and on again. (Yeah! and we thought Windows was dumb!)

7. Do the needful. Reboot your ‘dead’ mac for the final time with firewire drive still connected. Voila!!

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Old 01-28-2009, 04:26 PM   #10
a.dog@mac.com
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I had the same problem and I tried something that has improved the situation a little bit. I turned off the computer and unplugged the power cord from the back for about 10 minutes. Then I plugged it back in, turned on the power, and the computer booted right up. Something about disconnecting the computer from any power source seemed to reset something inside. I'm a newbie, and computers are all magic to me, so I have no explanation for this.

Don't know why, but now the computer hangs in a different way: if I'm logged in and I tell it to restart, it goes to a grey screen like it is about to shut down, but it never shuts down - it hangs on the grey screen. This is a hell of a lot better than hanging on boot-up, but still annoying and I'd like to fix it.

Help?
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Old 02-12-2009, 03:36 AM   #11
anthonyperri
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This same sort of thing JUST happened to me. This is my first post by the way- I'm Anthony, happy to be here. Anyways, I'm terrified- If I can't recover this data I may lose my job, and not be able to graduate...

My situation is a little bit different though; I cancelled my install when I didn't notice the correct partition showing up for install. So when my imac (refurbished intel 20" 2.66 GHz) rebooted I held option to chose my HD and for somereason everything was normal except that where Mac OS X usually is, it said Windows. My HD was called windows. Booting from there I got a black screen and blinking cursor. It seemed too quick to do any serious data damage, what the hell is this?! I'd desperate!

PS: Just tried unplugging it, we'll see what happens...
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Old 02-26-2009, 11:23 PM   #12
chucky
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Unplugging for 10 minutes rebooted 24" iMac successfully!!!

I hardly ever contribute to forums like this, but I was compelled after reading the post about unplugging your mac for 10 minutes!!!

I have a 6 month old intel iMac running OS 10.5. It started running a little slowly 2 days before it completely crashed/hung while we were starting parallels. I restarted and got a folder with a question mark.

Booting to firewire using "T" command brought up the fire wire icon but another mac couldn't see the hard drive when connected using a firewire cable.

I tried using the system dvd but it couldn't see the hard drives to install anything much less run the disk utility.

I tried the PRAM reset a few times (command+option+P+R), but that didn't work either.

Only turning it off AND unplugging it for 10 minutes did the trick it booted back up perfectly.

Please post here again if any of you know what is causing this.
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Old 03-27-2009, 03:48 AM   #13
andyman
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I think there's two issues here, both I've suffered from, but only one I've cured so far....

The removing the power cable for 30 seconds or more is the new way on most of the Intel Macs to reset the PRAM. The keyboard combo's are not valid on these anymore. This cures the startup problems most of the time (has done for me).

However, I've had the same issue as the original poster. Even after resetting the PRAM, still a gray screen. And when choosing to boot from CD, same thing, the system can freeze. Though occasionally using 'c' to boot from cd will sometimes work, though after several hours of trying its only happened once. And when it did happen, the install of mac os failed. and the verify disk said the disk had too many errors to repair...

So, I've now ordered a new drive, and a glass plunger(!) to remove the screen from my imac so I can get inside. Will see what goes from here....

ps. Good instructions pintoo, had forgotten that it will leave the cd as the default device so will try this tonight.
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Old 06-05-2009, 07:06 AM   #14
duky
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Powering off the computer and unplugging the power cord for 10 mins worked perfectly for me on my 2.93 Early 2009 iMac; same issue with installing Windows. I wonder what the problem was but I'm glad it's fixed..
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Old 09-04-2009, 04:58 PM   #15
manvan
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The white/grey screen of death

Hi I am new to these postings but I did appreciate all the previous postings regarding the white screen at boot up.

I have had the same experience and here is what I did

Holding down the shift key at start up I got to the white screen with the macintosh hard drive icon with the arrow underneath.

I then inserted one of the two system x disks that came with my intel mac 17 inch computer.

After about 30 seconds it appeared next to the mac hd. icon with an arrow of its own.

I clicked on the system x icon arrow and my computer did a restart complete with the mac restart sound.

I then got the dreaded white screen with the apple logo as before but here is the difference.

Although I thought as some of you guys might have that it was up to the same old trick I got side tracked at this point by a telephone call and while I was on the phone maybe as much as 4 or 5 minutes the white screen changed to a blue screen and I was able to see a new window.

It asked me if I wanted to install a new system and rename my current osx system "old system"

So far sucess!!!

Hope this was helpful
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Old 01-18-2010, 06:16 AM   #16
OSX1062
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Smile New solution

My 20" intel core 2 duo was doing this. I tried everything, but nothing would work, so then I figured I would try unplugging all accessories, and the old p.o.s. ipod was causing the problem. As soon as I unplugged it (with the grey screen going) the apple immediately came up, and all is well now..... so if you have a p.o.s. ipod attached, try it with out it.
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Old 01-18-2010, 06:45 AM   #17
OSX1062
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I had this problem too, I tried everything but then I decided to unplug all accessories, and as soon as I unplugged a p.o.s. ipod the apple immediately appeared on the screen.... so if you have a p.o.s. ipod plugged in, try it without it.
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Old 09-23-2010, 07:43 PM   #18
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It's sep 2010 and I have the exact same issue after trying to install xp on the partition according to macs video! Great it's 1.am and I am staring at a flashing cursed after a grey screen. I onky bought the iMac never to have a pc problem again. It's 10 days old!! dobi have to may to get this repaired or is covered by Mac? Never seen such a huge issue in 15 years in pc land!! What do I do??? I am in tears as all my 10 days work is on there!!! Help!!!!!
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Old 09-25-2010, 07:07 PM   #19
OSX1062
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharpnsnazzy
It's sep 2010 and I have the exact same issue after trying to install xp on the partition according to macs video! Great it's 1.am and I am staring at a flashing cursed after a grey screen. I onky bought the iMac never to have a pc problem again. It's 10 days old!! dobi have to may to get this repaired or is covered by Mac? Never seen such a huge issue in 15 years in pc land!! What do I do??? I am in tears as all my 10 days work is on there!!! Help!!!!!

Are there any USB devices plugged in? If so unplug them (Except keyboard mouse maybe).
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Old 10-20-2010, 12:34 AM   #20
lauckerthof
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharpnsnazzy
It's sep 2010 and I have the exact same issue after trying to install xp on the partition according to macs video! Great it's 1.am and I am staring at a flashing cursed after a grey screen. I onky bought the iMac never to have a pc problem again. It's 10 days old!! dobi have to may to get this repaired or is covered by Mac? Never seen such a huge issue in 15 years in pc land!! What do I do??? I am in tears as all my 10 days work is on there!!! Help!!!!!

dude, you are not the only one. My iMac suffered the same situation yesterday.
I installed win, linux, and os x on my imac. and when I tried to hibernate my linux, i successed. but when I tried to boot it up again, i get only the white screen. i tried option, command-s, cd boot, none of them works. thank god my imac can boot to the target disk mode, I have to buy a firewire cabel, so that I can reformat the disk in imac from my labtop. I'll post the result later on, if I can succeed.
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