Mountain Lion won't boot

fpayne

Registered
iMac 27" 2.8Ghz Intel Core i7, 8GB 1067 MHz DDR3 OSX 10.8.5

When booting, the system crashes at the moment is tries to launch the log in screen leaving the Apple logo in the middle and sometimes a small greyed out area on the bottom right of the screen which pushes the logo to the left.

When I start in Safe Mode it launches the log in Screen fine, so I can log in. But of course nothing works properly. I have removed all the start up items, but I guess they are all after log in anyway,

Any ideas what is going on please and how I can make it boot up correctly.

Thanks
PS I guess I should update my profile :)
 

DeltaMac

Tech
Try a hardware test (restart, holding the D key)
That will boot to the built-in hardware test, so run both the standard and extended tests
8GB of RAM will take a while, so be patient.

If no hardware errors result from the test, then I would probably just reinstall OS X.
Just restart holding Command-R, and choose Reinstall OS X from the menu.
It will reinstall Mountain Lion on top of what you have, so you won't lose any of your apps and files.
Be sure to run Software Update after the reinstall, to make sure your system is back up to date.
 

fpayne

Registered
The hardware test, holding down the D key, would not work either. It crashed just as it appeared it was going to log in. The reinstall of OSX worked but after installation there was no change, It crashes in exactly the same place. So I am no nearer knowing if it is a hardware or software problem. It still starts in safe mode.

I see Mavericks is out now and I wonder if that will make a difference, but somehow I doubt it. I would rather sought out the problem before upgrading.

Any other suggestions.

Thanks
 

DeltaMac

Tech
Do you have a good backup of your files and other apps?

I'm concerned that you can't boot to the hardware test.
If you have the original restore DVD (with the Snow Leopard on a white disk), try inserting THAT DVD, and restarting while holding the D again. Should boot to the Diagnostic test on the DVD. The DVD will have to be the one that originally came with the iMac - a commercial OS X install won't have the hardware test on the DVD. If booting to the test STILL crashes, then you may have other hardware problems.
Could be RAM, could be the logic board, or even the video card.
I would FIRST suspect that your hard drive is failing - 4 years can be a good life for a hard drive.

If you have a good backup (or are simply ready to try this), boot to the recovery system again (Command-R) and open the Disk Utility.
Select your system partition (the one with the name of your own hard drive), and erase the hard drive. When that completes, Quit Disk Utility, and reinstall OS X again. Remember that you do need to be ready for this with everything backed up, if you need it. Erasing the hard drive removes everything forever that's not backed up, or that you can't reinstall in some other way.
 

fpayne

Registered
I reinstalled OSX from the command -R boot option, but there was no difference until while in safe mode I updated Safari using software update. Then everything went back to normal. Until Safari crashed and it then it was exactly the same problem. I will reinstall again and then see if I get the same result. If so I will try and boot into the hardware test.

This iMac was eligible for a new hard disk under the free replacement program, but for various reasons it did not get done. So hard disk failure is a possibility. But even in Safe Mode there is something which Safari does that Firefox and Chrome don't. The Apple site especially can not be viewed with Safari. So I am thinking maybe there is a problem with Safari. But then others would have experienced the same problem as well.

On the hardware side, if anything I would guess it is a graphics problem.

I am not yet ready for a complete reinstall as I want to back everything up properly. Previous experience has taught me not to rely too much on Time Machine for a full restore. And the iPhoto library never works again.

Thanks for all your help and I will post what happens.
 

DeltaMac

Tech
... I updated Safari using software update. Then everything went back to normal. Until Safari crashed and it then it was exactly the same problem. I will reinstall again and then see if I get the same result. ...
... But even in Safe Mode there is something which Safari does that Firefox and Chrome don't. The Apple site especially can not be viewed with Safari. So I am thinking maybe there is a problem with Safari. But then others would have experienced the same problem as well.

I am not yet ready for a complete reinstall as I want to back everything up properly. Previous experience has taught me not to rely too much on Time Machine for a full restore. And the iPhoto library never works again.
You said that everything was back to normal after your updated your Safari (at least for a while)
If you can get Safari to work, you should make sure that all extensions or plugins in Safari are updated (or, even better, turned off or removed)
I forgot to ask if you also have the same issue with login or Safari when you try to login to a different user account. (?)
Your situation would be a good excuse to create a new user (in your Users & Groups pref pane), then log in to that new account, just as a test.

(Carbon Copy Cloner is a good method to make that good clone that you want :D )
https://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/7032/carbon-copy-cloner
 

fpayne

Registered
I removed all the extensions in Safari, opened a new user account and logged in with that account (in safe mode) but nothing is different. I did not expect the new user account to work because it crashes before it gets to the log in page. The problem seems to be something that loads just before the log in page in normal use, but is not loaded in safe mode. Any ideas on what or how I can find out.

I will try to find my original disk and boot from that. I also have a Disk Warrior boot disk somewhere, which I can try.

In the meantime I am backing everything up and if all else fails, will do a clean install.

Thanks again for all the help.
 

Satcomer

In Geostationary Orbit
I feel the fresh install might be in order. Also check you drive to make sure Disk Utility finds anything wrong with your hard drive.
 

fpayne

Registered
Neither Disk Utility nor Drive Genius has found anything wrong with the drive.

When everything is backed up properly I will do a reinstall, probably with Mavericks. Unfortunately, with my internet connection it is probably a 24 hour download.

Thanks again
 

fpayne

Registered
I updated to Mavericks, but it made no difference. Ii also will not start with a bootable disk like Disk Warrior or even the original installation disk, Leopard or Snow Leopard or music CDs. The only thing it will read is my Disk Warrior disk. I am wondering if I will be able to even do a clean reinstall.

Or is this normal with a safe boot, which is all it will do.


Any suggestions

Thanks again for all the help and advice
 
Last edited:

DeltaMac

Tech
....
In the meantime I am backing everything up and if all else fails, will do a clean install.
...
Sounds like you haven't tried the clean install yet.
Therefore, I suggest that your next choice is to do that clean install.

My suggestion would be to boot to another disk, and run Disk Utility/Partitions, and change your partition scheme to 1 partition (to reset the partitions completely.)
Then, and only then, reinstall OS X. You could STILL try your original Snow Leopard installer to do that, then update to 10.6.8 - and then re-install Mavericks.
You said that the MavX download takes a LONG time for you, so - I hope you saved the downloaded MavX installer for the possible re-install.

I also suspect that you may need to replace your hard drive in the near future (when the clean reinstall doesn't work), so keep your OS X installer handy. I predict that you will be using it several times.
 

fpayne

Registered
Sorry if i did not make it clear, but how can I boot to another disk if the super drive will not read other install disks?

And no, I did not keep the installer. But I will next time.
 

DeltaMac

Tech
If your Superdrive is not reliably reading disks - I haven't used a DVD to reinstall OS X for 5 or 6 years.
Using a Mac that WILL read that installer DVD - Restore that installer using Disk Utility, to a USB flash drive (8GB is ideal, I think - and cheap these days), or even better, a partition on an external hard drive. I have a set of 8GB thumb drives with each install from 10.5 through 10.9.
I also have a firewire drive with separate partitions for each of those OS X versions, plus 10.4 (Tiger) installer, if I need that.
DVDs are much slower (and in my experience, less reliable for OS X installs)
And, of course, a failing hard drive might give problems when trying to boot to any other device. I have seen that happen a number of times. The only way to find out is to remove your internal hard drive, and try the DVD boot again.
And again, you may have OS X versions on a bootable disk, such as DiskWarrior, that might be too old for your iMac!
 

fpayne

Registered
Thanks very much for the advice. Now to get my external superdrive back ten daughter and try that, In the meantime I will find a thumb drive to use. I must have one her somewhere.

Although it is still the current version of disk warrior, it was some time ago the disk was created so it is probably out of date.
 
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