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MacBook hanging on start up

david-cs asked…

Posted 31 Dec 06

I have a one month old MacBook Core2Duo running 10.4.8

On starting up I get chimes and a grey screen with Apple icon with a rotating gear wheel and that is as far as it will go. I have reset the PRam etc and tried starting up in Safe Mode but get no further - there is nothing attached. On running Disk Utility from the Install CD the volume Macintosh HD is greyed out and appears not mounted - clicking the mount button although active has no effect. First Aid failed saying "keys out of order volume could not be repaired". Have tried repairing in Console mode but same result.

The Hardware Test originally detected error 4MEM/4/40000000 but strangely now it passes. Somewhere in the middle of all this I tried re-installing the system software but half way through it aborted with an error message. I believe the original system folder would have been saved but I can't access it now. When I re-run the Install Mac OS X I can only get as far as the Select Destination box which is now completely empty having no HD icon showing.

The people I bought the MacBook from have agreed to send me another after it crashed in the first week showing hardware error 4MEM/2/40000000. At that time I re-installed system software successfully and it ran OK for a couple of weeks.

Is there any way I can retrieve my files and/or clean the computer before return?
helliott1 replied…

Posted 1 Jan 07

david-cs,
have you tried starting up the MacBook in FireWire Target Disk Mode? String a FireWire cable between the MacBook and another Mac, then hold down the T Key while the MacBook starts up. A large FireWire icon should appear on the MacBook's screen and the MacBook HD should appear on the second Mac.
However, if you've had 2, maybe it's one of your files that's doing it...
helliott1 replied…

Posted 1 Jan 07

If u get a new MacBook, don't install any files on it that didn't come from Apple and see what happens. Putting programs on it can cause a problem.
helliott1
david-cs replied…

Posted 1 Jan 07

helliott1,
Thanks for input. This is my first and only MacBook but the 2nd time I've had problems. The 1st time I recovered by re-installing system software. I did suspect Fruitmenu and Application Enhancer which I deleted. Now I can't re-install the OS as the Macintosh HD icon is missing from the destination window. Could I use my eMac to see my MacBook's hard disk? The eMac doesn't have firewire so is there another way to connect them?
Cynic replied…

Posted 1 Jan 07

david-cs,

Have you fitted any additional RAM to the MacBook? If so, remove it & try rebooting with the Install CD. Any additional RAM might either be faulty or not seated correctly.

When you reinstalled the OS before, did you use Archive & Install?

Keys out of order is a very serious disk directory problem & Disk Utility Disk Repair won't be able to fix it. One of the more powerful commercial utilities, such as Disk Warrior might, but might not. If you had a disk directory problem & ran Archive & Install, there's a good probability that all the disk activity caused the Keys error. You should be able to reformat the drive with Disk Utility, loosing all the data on it though, & reinstall the OS.

FireWire target mode only works with FW.
Cynic replied…

Posted 1 Jan 07

helliott1,

Can you please resize your Avatar to something that doesn't take up half the screen & push the text right over to one side? 128 pixels max in either dimension would be good.

Thanks.
Cynic replied…

Posted 1 Jan 07

david-cs,

I notice that you say that this is your first Mac. OS X isn't like Windows, a reinstall is a last resort.

How are you Shutting down your MacBook. Are you using Sleep at all, just shutting the lid perhaps?
david-cs replied…

Posted 1 Jan 07

Cynic,
Thanks for that. The MacBook has just the 1gb of RAM it came with in 2 modules - have considered swapping them around but wondered if by doing so might be blamed for causing the problem.
Yes I did originally run Archive & Install successfully. A couple of weeks later installing TomTom Home probably caused further problems with both this and Entourage quiting, then the computer wouldn't restart. Following this, Archive & Install aborted half way through.
If swapping the RAM around doesn't work, will try reformatting the drive by erasing the volume Macintosh HD (which is unmounted and greyed - not the Fujitsu Drive) in format Mac OS Extended (Journalised) then install the OS. Does this sound OK?
david-cs replied…

Posted 1 Jan 07

Cynic,
In reply to your earlier note this is my first Intel machine but have had all sorts of Macs since starting with an SE30 in 1994 and never before been forced to re-install system software.

Re your sleep/shutting lid idea I can't access any menus (except from the Install CD) so the only way to shut down is to hold down the power button. Shutting the lid I believe now just turns off the screen.

Is something faulty or do you think the older applications I have running such as Office X and Appleworks 6 are playing up?

thanks
David
Cynic replied…

Posted 1 Jan 07

david-cs,

Sorry then about the reinstall comment - as you're probably aware - Windows users tend to reinstall first & ask questions later @.@ Plus I think some PC laptops shutdown if the lid's closed.

You might have had a directory error, which has been worsened by further disk activity & Entourage quitting, leading to it not booting. The A&I that aborted halfway through might have done so because the directory was so screwed.

I'd try checking that the RAM is seated correctly. Boot the Install CD & check that when the top level hard drive is selected, it shows that the SMART status is verified. Anything else & it could be faulty.

An erase & install will fix directory & corruption problems, but not disk hardware faults. Assuming the reinstall goes OK, try booting the Install CD once a day & run a DU Disk Verify, just to see if the directory is getting corrupted. If it is, run Disk Repair & try to track down what's causing the problem. I have two drives, one system, one data, & get minor errors on the data drive, (which I have my AppleWorks 6 active docs on). Since I reboot weekly to use a backup drive, I just use DU then to repair it.
david-cs replied…

Posted 1 Jan 07

Cynic,

Appreciate your input - at least I know I'm not missing the obvious.

By the way the top level drive SMART status is verified. Will look at the RAM first when I've found a tiny screwdriver.

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