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OS X - Operating System General OS operation information and support

Blue Screen and Snow Leopard: Safe Mode works, but Install Discs do not


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falsedichotomy

 
Member Since: Jan 28, 2011
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Hello and thanks in advance for reading my topic and attempting to help me out. I have used these forums for a long time, but this is my first ever post as, although the blue screen issue has been discussed at length here and other places, nothing that I've read so far has been able to help me resolve my problem, so I appreciate your understanding and patience.

I am currently running my intel macbook in safe mode, as it's the only way I can get it to start. It's old; I purchased it over three years ago, but I have not had a problem with it until now. Recently, last Christmas to be specific, I switched the OS from Leopard to Snow Leopard. It ran fine for weeks, but today, I switched my macbook on to find the apple loading/gear screen taking longer than usual before finally switching over to the light blue screen where it remains. I cannot load from either my Snow Leopard or original Leopard install discs (which has me nervous, since I can't even reinstall my OS) and I have tried many suggested remedies to no avail.

Here is a list of the things I have attempted thus far:

1) Booting from Install Discs by holding C at start-up. Whether I do this with the Snow Leopard disc that I recently purchased or the original Leopard disc that came with my computer, the result is the same: the screen remains stuck on the spinning apple gear and does not continue.

2) Trying to load Install Discs from safe mode. It asks me to enter my password, then restarts the computer, and then, once again, becomes stuck at the spinning gear. When I attempt this, I cannot re-enter safe mode again until I eject the Install disc from my drive at start-up by holding the mousepad down, as I believe the computer is by default trying to load from the disc.

3) Entering single-user mode and typing in "fsck -fy". After attempting this, it tells me that "the volume Macintosh HD appears to be okay." After typing exit, it goes immediately to the blue screen.

4) Resetting the PRAM and NVRAM. I have tried this, following the exact steps that Apple lists on its website and waiting until the second start-up noise, but the results are the same: blue screen.

5) Resetting the System Management Controller. I'm not quite sure what this is or what it does, but resetting it, as others have suggested, has not helped.

6) Verifying and Repairing HD in safe mode through disk utility. It tells me that everything is okay, but upon a restart, I still get the blue screen.

7) Trying to reboot HD using time machine in safe mode. For some reason, time machine is not working properly in safe mode, and does not load the way that it normally does, although it still allows me to back up my HD.

If anyone has any advice as to what to try next, I would very much appreciate your suggestions. I can provide you with any information that you need, that is, if it's available through safe mode and you can instruct me on how to access it. I am not opposed to reinstalling the OS completely and all my important files are backed up, but, like I mentioned above, I am not currently able to boot from my install discs. To further complicate matters, my applecare protection ran out just two months ago, and I am currently living in a French speaking country where the closest apple service center is hours away (and I don't speak French). I use my macbook a lot to write, as well as to Skype back home, but I can't get either my word processor or Skype to work in safe mode, completely rendering my life meaningless.

Thanks again.
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Kevriano

 
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Mac Specs: 20" Intel iMac 2.4 Ghz/3G Ram/320HD, Snow Leopard. PBook G4, 1.5Ghz/1.5 Ram/250 HD, Leopard 10.5.6.

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Wow. Well welcome to the forum first.
Ok, you certainly have tried all the things we would normally suggest here really, and still no luck, which is a real downer of course.
Now, despite the fact that you get the HD appears to be ok message, it doesn't always mean that it is. However, I am wondering why you can't boot from the install discs at all.
Does the install disc load ok? From reading back it would appear so. I only ask in case it could be a case of a failed disc drive.
Next question. Do you have any additional RAM installed (that was added after you bought it)? Faulty RAM can cause all manner of issues.

Ultimately I would say go for a clean install, which you mention, but if you can't boot from the discs this is going to be tough.

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gsahli

 
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Try running Apple Hardware Test.
It sounds a lot like RAM or motherboard failure.
You could also remove one RAM stick at a time to see if that gets it running.
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falsedichotomy

 
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Okay, here are some updates.

I am about 100% positive that this is not the work of a failed disc drive. I was able to get Apple Hardware Test to work by holding down d on my keyboard during start up while original Leopard Install Disc 1 was inserted (the results of which were "no trouble" by the way). Also, in safe mode, the Install discs show up on the desktop. I'm pretty sure that this is also not the work of additional ram, as the only upgrade I made to my ram was at the time of purchase through apple.

I have, however, made some progress in trying to reinstall the OS. Unlike the original Leopard Install disc, which prompts me to restart my computer after I load it in safe mode, the Snow Leopard disc actually begins the installation while my computer is still running. It makes it to about 15%-20% installation before restarting my computer and getting stuck at the gear screen. Just out of curiosity though, I walked away for an hour and left it as it was, and when I returned the frozen gear screen had switched to Mac OS X Snow Leopard installation screen, with only a few minutes remaining! I nearly jumped for joy. Unfortunately though, installing the OS again did not fix the blue screen problem, so I am going to try to go for a clean install this time. The only problem is that I'm not sure how to do one from safe mode; the snow leopard disc simply asks me if I'd like to install Mac OS X without giving me any options as to which type of install I'd like. The PDF manual that comes pre-loaded on the Snow Leopard disc claims that "if you need to restore your computer to the original factory settings, use the installation discs that came with your computer," which are the exact ones I still can't get to work.

I am going to continue playing around and hopefully I will be able to figure something out.

Other advise though is, of course, always welcome.
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Kevriano

 
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Mac Specs: 20" Intel iMac 2.4 Ghz/3G Ram/320HD, Snow Leopard. PBook G4, 1.5Ghz/1.5 Ram/250 HD, Leopard 10.5.6.

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From memory Snow Leopard runs as "archive and install" by default. I don't know if that helps at all, probably not.
Out of interest, can you boot to disk utility and erase the drive?
It may be worth running a high level erase, to eliminate any potential bad sectors, and then try the install.

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falsedichotomy

 
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Success! Got the clean install to work. After letting the Leopard disc sit at the gear screen for about 25 minutes, it finally switched over to the Mac OS X install screen and I was able to use disk utility to erase my drive and reinstall Leopard. It turns out that my discs weren't actually wasn't frozen at the gear screen after all; they were for some reason just moving incredibly, incredibly slow. I am so excited right now, I don't even care that I just wasted my whole day, or about the hours it's going to take me to transfer all my important docs and applications and re-customize my laptop.

Quick question: what do you guys think the chances are that the move to Snow Leopard was what caused my HD to go haywire? I'm thinking about just sticking with Leopard for the time being, as I've never had a major problem like that until I made the switch.

Thanks again for your help and suggestions!:
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Kevriano

 
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Mac Specs: 20" Intel iMac 2.4 Ghz/3G Ram/320HD, Snow Leopard. PBook G4, 1.5Ghz/1.5 Ram/250 HD, Leopard 10.5.6.

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Very unlikely. More likely that it may have highlighted the fact that your HD may be on it's way to the grave.
I know that's not good news given the time you've spent today, but I would seriously consider replacing it when you can.

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falsedichotomy

 
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I think you may be right; the HD has continued to act funky, even with the clean install, so as we speak I'm loading OS X onto an external and hopefully I'll able to boot from there without any problems. Not exactly the alternative I was looking for, but oh well, it will have to do for the next couple months until I'm back in America and figure out a better game plan.
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