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MacBook Booting problem


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#1
JamesZero

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Hello,

Firstly, I'm not 100% sure if this is the right place to post this question? Please feel free to move it if need be.

I work for an IT company where we repair PC's / Laptops / Servers etc etc. We don't actually do any work with Macs, but I have had a very good customer of ours bring in a MacBook and asked if there was anything we could do to help him..

Sorry if some of the details are scetchy, this is all the information I have.

The Macbook originally came with OS 10.4.10 (He seems to think its since been upgraded to 10.5)

The customer wanted to upgrade the Ram. After buying some he fitted it and turned on the machine but it didn't give off any display. So the assumption would be its the wrong type of Ram. After putting the original Ram back in the machine and powering it back on it now gives the following error:

"You need to restart your computer. Hold down the Power button for several seconds or press the reset button"

We can't seem to get any futher than that. I have tried reseating the Ram just to make sure it was put back correctly. I have the 10.4.10 installation CD but the machine doesn't appear to want to boot from it.

How would I go about trying to find out what the problem is?

Thanks for your time.

#2
LoneWaffle

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MacBooks are natorious for being difficult to get the ram seating correctly. I definitely recommend taking a second look at that. Also, inspect the arms that lock the ram in place to be make sure that the customer didn't damage them. If u are still having problems, try booting with only one stick of ram and swap that stick out with another one if that doesn't work, to rule out the possibility of a bad stick or ESD damage. You may also want to try resetting the PRAM/NVRAM by holding command+option+p+r befor the gray screen at boot up until the computer automatically reboots. Also, Macs usually won't boot from CD unless you hold the 'C' key at boot up. See what these things do and write back.

#3
JamesZero

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MacBooks are natorious for being difficult to get the ram seating correctly. I definitely recommend taking a second look at that. Also, inspect the arms that lock the ram in place to be make sure that the customer didn't damage them. If u are still having problems, try booting with only one stick of ram and swap that stick out with another one if that doesn't work, to rule out the possibility of a bad stick or ESD damage. You may also want to try resetting the PRAM/NVRAM by holding command+option+p+r befor the gray screen at boot up until the computer automatically reboots. Also, Macs usually won't boot from CD unless you hold the 'C' key at boot up. See what these things do and write back.


Hi LoneWaffle, thanks for the reply.

I have tested the seating of the ram and I have tried it with one stick at a time but with no luck. I have also tried holding command+option+p+r also with no luck.

I ran a memtest off a bootable CD with both sticks of ram in and that all came back fine with no problems.

I have found that if I put the Mac OS CD in and hold C nothing happens, if I hold D it does go through to the hardware testing bit which I have run and it has found no problems. I tried 2 different Mac OS cds (borrowed one off a friend) one was 10.4 and one was 10.5

Any more ideas?

#4
LoneWaffle

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What specifically happens when you attempt to boot a Mac OS X install disk? Do you get any errors? Does the description of the problem stay the same between the different install disks? Try booting the OS that is already installed using 'verbose' mode (by holding 'command+v' on the keyboard during boot up) and see where it gets stuck at. You won't see the "You need to restart your computer" message when you do this, but the computer will simply stop loading when that message would've been displayed had you not used verbose mode and when the computer stops for a while, you know that it has stalled on the last message displayed. That message will give us clues.

#5
JamesZero

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What specifically happens when you attempt to boot a Mac OS X install disk? Do you get any errors? Does the description of the problem stay the same between the different install disks? Try booting the OS that is already installed using 'verbose' mode (by holding 'command+v' on the keyboard during boot up) and see where it gets stuck at. You won't see the "You need to restart your computer" message when you do this, but the computer will simply stop loading when that message would've been displayed had you not used verbose mode and when the computer stops for a while, you know that it has stalled on the last message displayed. That message will give us clues.


OK, I have a bit of an update. I managed to get it to boot from the CD. I tried the repair disk and it kept failing.
I had a friend who had a copy of DiskWarrior on his machine and he said that might help, so I took the hard drive there and ran that.

Now when I boot the machine all I get is 3 icons flashing very fast alternatly (the mac logo, a folder logo and a circle with a line through it)

If I boot from the CD now I can run a repair disk and it says everything is ok...

I tried your command + V at start up and here is the information it gives:

efiboot loaded from device: Acpo (pnp0A03,0)/Pci (BI0)/SATA (0, 0)/HD(Part2,sig29698804-4E07-11CA-BDA3-FACE3C77B0D8)
boot file path: \System\Library\CoreServices\Boot.efi
.Loading 'Mach_kernal'
Could not open file 'Mach_kernal'
Error loading kernal 'mach_kernal' (0xe)

#6
LoneWaffle

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A failure this early in the boot process is not good. The computer is not able to read the kernel and this is one of the first steps. It seems to me that either the file system is hosed/corrupted (reformat + reinstall) or there is a problem with the motherboard. A motherboard failure seems coincidental considering the user triggered this problem by installing new ram. All I can say is go through the install process after reformatting with 'Disk Utility' once you've booted from the disk and see if you can get it to boot afterwards. Did the end user make backups or use Time Machine? Cause now's when they'll come in handy, or if you really care for this person, you could always yank the hard drive and copy the user's folder to a working Mac until this is all sorted out.





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