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OS X - Operating System General OS operation information and support

OS 10.4 - Mac OS X Tiger Start Up Stages


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mac57

 
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I have a new Power Mac G5 with OS X 10.4.6 (Tiger). I am new to the Mac world (lifetime Windows and Linux user, switching over) and am curious about the stages the Mac goes through as it starts up. It is not idle curiousity; I have a problem with the start up that I hope to solve by learning more about it. I go into this below.

When I power up the Mac, nothing is presented on my monitor for a disconcertingly long time (20s or so). At that point, I get a white screen with an Apple logo and a little spinning "throbber" below it. This screen stays displayed for 15 seconds or so. Then I may or may not see a small blue progress box which says that Mac OS X is starting up. Finally, and frequently without that "starting up progress box", the final desktop appears.

Some of this sequence is the Mac running startup firmware I assume (what I would have called BIOS in the PC world) and some of it is Mac S/W. Can anyone tell me what parts of this startup are firmware and what parts are software? The white screen with the Apple logo and throbber is of particular interest. Which is this, firmware or software?

The *reason* this is of interest is that I have an LCD monitor that runs at 1600x1200@60 Hz. It is connected via DVI to the Mac (in fact the Power Mac G5 has only DVI connectors). However, while sometimes the white Apple logo screen comes up at the desired 1600x1200@60 Hz, quite randomly it seems to come up at something else, frequently 1280x960@74 Hz. I have seen it come up at other resolutions/frequencies as well. I can detect no pattern to the resolution/frequency used during this white Apple logo screen stage of booting up, but would really like it to become consistently 1600x1200@60 Hz. When it comes up as something else, the monitor tries to adjust for it, and when the final desktop appears at the proper resolution/frequency, it is often not correctly centered. The only way to recover seems to be to restart the Mac. This is truly annoying, to say the least.

Is there some way to control the resolution that is used at the white Apple logo screen stage of boot up? Is this in any way connected to the "PRAM" I keep hearing people talk about (the first attempt at curing any problem seems to be "zap your PRAM" whatever that means).

Thanks! Being new to the Mac world, I am having to learn a lot of REALLY basic things (like the above) which I knew inside out in the PC world. Sorry for the dumb questions!! :-)

My Macs: iMac 27" 3.4 GHz, Mac Pro 3.2 GHz, PowerMac G5 Quad 2.5 GHz, G4 Cube with 1.2 GHz Upgrade
My iStuff: 64GB iPhone 5, 64GB iPad4, 30GB iPod Video, 16GB iPod Touch
My OS': Mac OS X Lion, Mac OS X Snow Leopard, Mac OS X Tiger, Mac OS 9.2.2, openSUSE 10.3
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The OSX Boot Process

Hope that helps.

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mac57

 
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Thanks surfwas95 - that is perfect, and a really valuable other set of web pages there too. Lots of techy goodies for inquiring minds to read.

My Macs: iMac 27" 3.4 GHz, Mac Pro 3.2 GHz, PowerMac G5 Quad 2.5 GHz, G4 Cube with 1.2 GHz Upgrade
My iStuff: 64GB iPhone 5, 64GB iPad4, 30GB iPod Video, 16GB iPod Touch
My OS': Mac OS X Lion, Mac OS X Snow Leopard, Mac OS X Tiger, Mac OS 9.2.2, openSUSE 10.3
I was on the Mac-Forums honor roll for September 2007
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