My sick iMac

Discussion of general issues, not related to a specific Mac or iDevice operating system.
anne murray
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My sick iMac

Post by anne murray » Sun Oct 14, 2012 1:47 pm

I returned from a 3 week trip to find my iMac screen frozen with a black box saying I needed to restart the computer. I shut it down and now find that I cannot boot it. Initially, I got the gray screen with logo and spinning dial - nothing more. I started to follow the instructions on this page and since resetting the NVRAM I can't even get the gray screen. The computer starts up; the gray screen appears followed by an oblong box; and then the computer shuts down.

http://support.apple.com/kb/TS2570

I'm running Snow Leopard on this computer. I wonder if I need professional help.

Thanks,
Anne

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JerryFreilich
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Re: My sick iMac

Post by JerryFreilich » Sun Oct 14, 2012 2:32 pm

Anne, don't get too jazzed up yet. The first thing that you do is to try booting the computer using the CD or DVD that came with the computer. You have that? Insert the disk, press the power button while holding down the C key. Tell us what happens when you do that. If you are lucky, the CD will start up the computer and will let you get access to Disk Utility (on the CD) that can fix your hard drive. You may need to try the little procedure two or three times to get it to work. But see if that doesn't light up the computer. Post back here if it doesn't.

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Richard Serkes
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Re: My sick iMac

Post by Richard Serkes » Sun Oct 14, 2012 2:36 pm

Do you have a bootable clone on an external drive? We can run some diagnostics from the clone and even do some maintenance.
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anne murray
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Re: My sick iMac

Post by anne murray » Sun Oct 14, 2012 3:05 pm

It will not boot from the installation CD. (I tried 3 times.) I get a string of messages in the left hand corner of the screen that begin "panic (cpu 0 caller ___etc.)

In the middle of the screen is the same box on the screen when I found it frozen -- stating that I need to restart the computer.\

To RIchard - I have a Super Duper clone of the drive. Don't know if it is bootable or how to boot from it.

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Richard Serkes
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Re: My sick iMac

Post by Richard Serkes » Sun Oct 14, 2012 3:36 pm

Turn you iMac completely OFF. Wait 15 seconds then turn it back on making sure you hold down the OPTION key. This will command your iMac to look for any and all bootable drives.

Since you seem to be having problems with the Macintosh HD internal drive partition it may not show up as an option but you should see two that will work. One will be the SuperDuper! clone and one should be a drive that says Recovery 10.7 (Snow Leopard).

Use the arrow keys to select Recovery 10.7 and then hit the RETURN key. Hopefully your iMac will boot from this recovery partition on your internal drive and then we can get to work. If this doesn't happen because your internal drive has a serious owie, do the hard start with OPTION key again and select your clone. Since it's on an external drive it should boot. If so, let us know and we'll get to work.

If you can't boot from the Recovery 10.7 partition nor the SuperDuper! clone then extreme measures might be in order.
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anne murray
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Re: My sick iMac

Post by anne murray » Sun Oct 14, 2012 3:56 pm

When I followed Richard's procedure, I was not given a 10.7 option. I selected the back-up drive, but it would not boot from that.

I'm getting really worried.

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Richard Serkes
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Re: My sick iMac

Post by Richard Serkes » Sun Oct 14, 2012 4:18 pm

Hmmmmmmmmm, I may have been off by one iteration of the OS. Lion and Mountain Lion will create a recovery partition but you have Snow Leopard. My mistake because that wouldn't be 10.7 and I don't remember if Snow Leopard makes a recovery partition.

I'm concerned that your clone doesn't boot. Either it isn't a bootable clone or the iMac's hardware can't get to the clone's data to boot.

I hope others can help because at this point it sounds like your iMac needs a trip to an Apple Store.

Do you have any warranty left? If it came with Snow Leopard that was a few years ago and probably is out of warranty.
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anne murray
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Re: My sick iMac

Post by anne murray » Sun Oct 14, 2012 4:38 pm

I purchased it in 2011 with Apple Care. Do we have a registered Apple Care person on the Peninsula?

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Richard Serkes
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Re: My sick iMac

Post by Richard Serkes » Sun Oct 14, 2012 4:58 pm

anne murray wrote:I purchased it in 2011 with Apple Care. Do we have a registered Apple Care person on the Peninsula?
It should still be under AppleCare. Call their 800 number so they can create a case number for you. They'll also tell you where you can take it. The computer service agency in Port Townsend used to be a certified Apple service center. The AppleCare people will tell you if that's still the case. If not, there are Apple Stores in Tacoma, Seattle, Bellevue, and at a mall just north of Edmonds on I-5.

When you decide where you are going to take it call ahead for an appointment. If you just drop in you may have a long wait.

Another possibility is to tell AppleCare exactly where you live, how long it takes to get to Seattle, and the cost of the ferry to drop off your iMac and then go back to pick it up. When I did AppleCare sent a technician to my house to do the repairs. And this was at no additional cost.
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Stephen Hart
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Re: My sick iMac

Post by Stephen Hart » Sun Oct 14, 2012 5:38 pm

If you decide to take the iMac to an Apple Store, I suggest the Tacoma store. It's right near the 16-I5 intersection, and therefore cuts around two hours off the overall round trip to University Village or Lynnwood. South Center is about half an hour (each way) from the Tacoma store. You will not lose anything by establishing a case number with AppleCare ahead of time, but may not gain much either.

However, I think before you go that route, you should try a known-good startup drive. Can you tell us the model of iMac you have (it should be on paperwork)? Then we can determine what OS is required. Given that you bought it in 2011, it should be Mountain Lion capable.

By the way, have you unplugged everything from the iMac (except the power cord) and tried a restart?

BTW2, if you have an iPhone you can download the Apple Store app from Apple and check on available Genius appointments at any store, as well as making and canceling appointments.
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