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Apple Notebooks Apple's notebook computers including MacBook Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, PowerBook, and iBook.

Forbidden Screen - Error: "Still waiting for root device"


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Nicholas_NYC

 
Member Since: Nov 23, 2009
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Greetings to all! I come to you with my boot troubles as a supplicant, in the hope that someone can help.

I have a PowerBook G4 15-inch, pre-Intel from late 2005. Until today it always worked and rarely hanged. All I've ever needed to do when in trouble was reboot. I've updated the Apple OSX software regularly and have never touched the hardware, except once 18 months ago to add memory. All I do with this machine is use it. It's been weeks since I installed any new software.

There were no warning signs before the problem started today.

FIRST SIGN OF TROUBLE: The machine was unusually slow, showing beach balls on every minor move. I powered down conventionally and later turned it on again. After a minute I got the "Forbidden Sign" grey screen, which I had never seen before. So I rebooted, and got that again.

I turned to the only other available machine (very old PC, unfortunately) to browse for solutions, and have so far tried the following:

1) BOOT FROM INSTALLATION DISK: Forbidden Screen. After a couple of attempts I removed the disk (by clicking trackpad on power up). At some point, in desperation, I even tried Disc 2.

2) RESET PRAM (Command-Option-P-R on power up) : I got three chimes, then the grey screen. It stayed on the apple and gear for many minutes. At least it never went to the Forbidden Screen.

3) FILE SYSTEM CHECK (Option-S on power up) : After a few steps it shows error messages (see below) and starts repeating, "Still waiting for root device," over and over.

4) RESET NVRAM (Command-Option-O-F on power up) : I got a blue screen with text and was able to input "reset-nvram" (response: OK) and then "boot." Result: Forbidden Screen.

5) SAFE START (Option on power up) : Forget it. Forbidden Screen. Same when I try it with "C" as some sites recommend. Same with or without the Install Disk in the DVD driver.

6) POWER MANAGEMENT UNIT RESET (Shift-Control-Option-Power): Subsequent boot still produces Forbidden Screen.

*THE ERROR MESSAGES*
Here are some of the messages when I start up with Option-S:

CSRHIDTransitionDriver::probe booting in single user .. do not match
Extension "com.apple.driver.AppleUSBTCKeyboard" has no kernel dependency.
Extension "com.apple.driver.AppleUSBTCKeyEventDriver" has no kernel dependency.
Apple PMU::CLOCK RESET! PMU WAS PROBABLY RESET SOMEHOW!! +(Yes, I did that, but it wasn't showing this before I did, and it WAS showing all of the following.)+
Security auditing service present
BSM auditing present
disabled
rooting via boot-uuid from /chosen: +(I think the long code that follows is the serial number?)+
Waiting on <dict ID="o"><key>IOProviderClass</key><string ID="1">IOResources</string><key>IOResourceMatch</key><string ID="2">boot-uuid-media</string></dict>
PMUMS::start ERROR: failed to find IOATABlockStorageDriver
Still waiting for root device
Still waiting for root device
Still waiting for root device
+(etc. ad infinitum)+

*So now I'm begging anyone for answers to these questions:*

Am I doomed?

Does anyone know what the problem is?

This seems to be happening prior to disk access, as it happens with or without the Install Disk. So do I still have the hard drive working? Is my data on it?!

Was resetting the Power Management Unit a bad idea?

What can I do next?

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

Nicholas from NYC
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harryb2448

 
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G'day Nicholas and welcome to the forums.

Have you considered the PRAM battery might be bad beaing in mind the time and date failure? Here is a link to changing the battery in your model machin e:-

http://www.newertech.com/tech_suppor...TMANTIPRAM.pdf


Keep us posted on your progress?
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chscag

 
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Your logic board could be acting up. If you can't get to the system even with your install media and you're getting the "waiting for root device" error, the hard drive may be OK. You can find out if the hard drive is OK by removing it and placing it in an external USB carrier or device adapter and attach it to another Mac.

If you have access to another Mac (maybe a friend) you can try to boot your machine using target disk mode from the other Mac. Both machines must be hooked together via the FW ports.

Regards.
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Nicholas_NYC

 
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Thanks for replying harryb and chscag.

harryb, is there no test available via single user mode or install disk boot-up to check the PRAM battery? (I probably have to go into the store with this tomorrow anyway.)

I've continued to work on this problem - it's pressing, I need the machine - and have made some progress:

1) First I found a list of various power up commands here:
apple boot commands | Unleaded Software Video Blog | Embedding HD YouTube videos | Green hosting | Video SEO | Hot videos | Unleaded Productions | Unleaded Software

2) What finally worked was OPT, which (after a long load) displays options for which drive to boot from, as well as for a hardware diagnostic. For the first time, I could access the Install Disc.

3) First I chose Apple Hardware Test. The Quick Test showed no problem. The Extended Test passed the Logic Board and Mass Storage and then at Memory gave an HD related error!!!
2 STF/8/3: ATA - 100 ata-6 -Master

4) I powered up again with OPT, and this time booted from Install Disk. This got me to Install and allowed me to use the Disk Utility. It identifies the HD but will not mount it! I ran Verify and Repair Disk functions and these both break off with generic failure messages of doom:
Keys out of order.
Rebuilding B-tree.


Underlying task reported failure on exit

Link says this is very bad: http://support.apple.com/kb/TS1901

5) I also got to the Single User mode prompt, finally, by using OPT on power up, choosing Install Disk as the boot drive, and hitting COM-S soon as that starts. But the /sbin/fsck -f command only checks the Install Disk, not the hard drive, and I don't know what else to do there. Anyone know how to make it check the HD when booted from the Install Disk?

6) I just did the Extended Apple Hardware Test again and this time EVERYTHING passed. WTF?!

7) Again did the Install Disk bootup (via OPT at Power up again) and used the Terminal Utility to enter commands:
Resolve startup issues and perform disk maintenance with Disk Utility and fsck
That was pointless though, once in the shell I’m clueless.

Need to sleep – hope I can figure it out tomorrow.

THANKS FOR YOUR PATIENCE!
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harryb2448

 
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Only way to test the PRAM battery is with a multimeter. Remember the G4 is getting long in years and PRAM batteries have an estimated life of 3-4 years. Take the battery out, and go down to your local Radio Shack or similar store and ask them if it is okay.
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chscag

 
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Instead of testing the PRAM battery, just replace it. It's not like it's an expensive item. That at least will eliminate one possible source of the trouble.

BTW, I doubt the PRAM battery is the culprit since you were eventually able to access the boot parameters by using OPTION, but you never know...

Quote:
5) I also got to the Single User mode prompt, finally, by using OPT on power up, choosing Install Disk as the boot drive, and hitting COM-S soon as that starts. But the /sbin/fsck -f command only checks the Install Disk, not the hard drive, and I don't know what else to do there. Anyone know how to make it check the HD when booted from the Install Disk?
The only way to check the hard drive is by using Disk Utility from the Utilities menu displayed by the install disk. You might want to try what I suggested in my previous post (if you have the time and the means) and that is to boot your machine using Target Disk Mode. Or you could always remove the hard drive as I suggested.

Let us know.

Regards.
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Nicholas_NYC

 
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In the meantime I've accessed single user mode successfully from HD, apparently, since I can run FSCK commands. These return errors like

BAD SUPERBLOCK - WRONG MAGIC NUMBER

Which I think indicates a corrupted block within the boot sector.

It also asks for reassignment permission and fails.

Is there a code for reassigning the superblock that might work?

FRUSTRATINGLY, the diagnostics do see that there is an HD and return the correct values for how many gigs available and such. Right now as a test I'm running Erase Free Space and incredibly that's working so far. How can it see the free space without being able to run from the HD? Grrrr....

Otherwise, I'm getting ready to go into the guts of the machine and put it back together to see if that might work. Switch the DIMMs and such. (I'll be honest and humble and reveal that in my present situation, even $26 for a PRAM battery is a stiff price and it's looking almost definitive that the problem is HD, which may need replacing.)

After that, time to reformat and lose a few weeks worth of files (not that much work but not happy about it).

Thanks again for replies & anyone who thinks they have a way to help - please say something!
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harryb2448

 
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Ahh well Nicholas you see the advantages of an external drive, connected by Firewire, which is then bootable. A program such as SuperDuper used weekly saves an awful lot of sorrow.

Good luck!
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Nicholas_NYC

 
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I've also tried target mode from other machines. One of these was able to see the HD and correctly identify the empty space. (Disk Util even correctly identifies the number of files on my HD). But it slows down or hangs whenever I try to look inside the files, so apparently it's not powerful enough to handle data recovery on my machine (I assume).
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Nicholas_NYC

 
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Yes harryb, it's true thanks. I'm totally sold on an external HD and that will be the next purchase, soon as I've either fixed this problem or reformatted or replaced the internal HD.

meanwhile, Sigh!
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If you know someone that has the program or don't mind taking a chance try Disk Warrior from Alsoft. It will fix some things that Disk Utility cannot fix. It is sort of a "one trick pony" but it does that trick (disk repair) very well.

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"Got Time to breathe. You got time for music." Denver Pyle as Briscoe Darling
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