Solved

Power Mac G5 video only comes on in Safe Mode

Posted on 2010-09-17
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Last Modified: 2013-11-08
Hello folks, first off, I'd like to say that I'm a PC guy with little to no knowledge of Macs, but have been put in charge of a computer lab at college/work where there are Macs. Having said that, I'm having problems with a Power Mac G5 in that when I push the power button, the power light comes on, but no chime at all. If I leave the computer to boot normally, it will boot up to the point of the gray apple screen with the turning/loading icon, but after that, the screen goes blue, and all I see on the screen is the mouse cursor. I have it connected to a Dell 15" monitor (just for testing).

When I boot into Safe Mode, everything works fine, and the video comes on with no problems. I am able to log into my account, and use the computer without any problems. After opening the system profiler in Safe Mode, it shows these specs for the computer:  Dual PowerPC G5 1.8 ghz processors, 1 GB (2-512mb) ram chips, GeForce FX 5200 video card, and there is no built in audio (which is why I probably don't hear the chime at startup). The OS is OS X 10.5.8

I have tried to use the AHT disc to do a scan of the hardware, but it will not load the program even though I am holding down the D key; all it did was hang at the gray apple screen with the loading icon turning, and then the fans started reving up to max. Tried to do the PRAM re-set, but that didn't work either. Could someone please adivise? Thanks in advance.
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Question by:oroboy
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by:jeremyjared74
ID: 33706726
Try holding Command+S while starting. This should start it in single user mode which has some built in repairs including permissions verify and more.
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by:jeremyjared74
ID: 33706728
Also, have you attempted crating another user to see if everything works fine then?
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by:beachgeeks1
ID: 33706799
First thing I would try is grab the OS CD and boot off of the CD by holding down the C key at boot.  Once the installer loads, go to the disk utility program.  Verify and repair permissions, and reboot.  If it continues.  Try to reseat the card.  If that doesn't work, then I would replace the graphics card at that point with a working one and see if it boots.  That will narrow down the issue.
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by:oroboy
ID: 33706909
Thank you for your quick responses, I will try it tomorrow, and post back the results.
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by:strung
ID: 33707959
Okay. First of all if it will boot in safe mode, there is probably nothing wrong with the hardware.

Don't run Repair Permissions while booted from a CD. That won't work properly. Run Repair Permissions from Disk Utiltiy while booted from the hard drive. While you are at it, run Verify Disk and see if there are any disk directory errors. There likely won't be.

From your description, your problem is likely either an incompatible program trying to launch at startup or problems with an external of some sort.

Eliminate these problems one by one. Will it boot normally with all external peripherals attached?

If not, it is likely a startup item causing the problem.

Boot in safe Mode. Pull down the Apple Menu to System Preferences. Open the Accounts preferences pane. Click on the + sign at the bottom left to create a new user. Give the new user Admin privileges.

Now pull down the Apple Menu to Log Out and log back in under the new account.

If all goes well, that means that either there is a startup item in the old account that is torpedoing the startup or you have a corrupted preference of some sort.


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by:strung
ID: 33707975
If it will boot in the new account, you will want to go back and find out what is wrong with the old account.

Reboot to the old account using safe mode. Open the accounts prefs panel and open the lock at the bottom left, the click on the Logon Items tab at the upper right. This will give a list of the log on items. In order to remove them, you have to highlight them and click on the minus button. (Unchecking does not disable them - it just makes the start in the background).

After removing the login items, see if you can reboot normally. If so, you problem is fixed and you know one of the login items is at fault.

If not, one more thing to check is "haxies". These are add-on system prefs. which often cause problems. Again boot in safe mode and go to system prefs.  See if there are any system prefs panels in the bottom "Other" category. If so, these are non-Apple add-ons that often cause problems. Check the version numbers of these against the manufacturer's web pages and make sure you have up to date versions. Also post a list of them here.

Good luck
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strung earned 125 total points
ID: 33707977
P.S. Excellent Mac troubleshooting site here:  http://www.thexlab.com/faqs/faqs.html
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by:njxbean
ID: 33708046
Solid advice above.  Though from his description, it seems like he is not even getting to the login screen when booting normally.  I would definitely unplug all peripheral devices and then try booting. If that is a no go, i would agree with booting to safe mode and repairing disk permissions. Good luck, let us know how it goes.  
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Author Comment

by:oroboy
ID: 33709256
Thanks for your replies, strung and njxbean. Njxbean is right, I cannot even get to the login screen during a normal boot, but I can get to the login screen when I boot to safe mode. I forgot to mention (sorry about that) that there is actually 2 accounts on the computer already; an admin account, and a student account. As I said before, a normal boot won't even get me to the login screen, so I can't even try to login to either account.

In safe mode, I've only been logging into the admin account, and it has been working fine, with absolutely no problems whatsoever. I have yet to try logging in to the student account in safe mode (don't know if it'll make a difference anyway).

@njxbean, at the moment, the only peripherals plugged in are the mouse and keyboard (as well as the monitor). Should I unplug the keyboard and mouse, and just leave the monitor in as I try to boot normally?

In any case, since it is the weekend, I won't be able to try these out until Monday (the computer is in the lab at school); but please keep the suggestions coming! I will definitely try them all, and report my findings back on Monday evening. Thank you all for replying so far.
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by:njxbean
ID: 33711183
Yes it is definitely worth a shot unplugging the keyboard and mouse and trying to boot.  You may even start the computer with nothing plugged in.  Then after a few minutes plug in the monitor and keyboard and mouse.  Though i doubt those would cause a system not to boot.  

I would be surprised if you couldn't boot again after repairing disk permissions in disk utility(in safe mode).  When you run that, run it 2 or 3 times.  

Good luck.
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by:strung
ID: 33711193
You could also try resetting the RDU:  http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1436
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by:njxbean
ID: 33711197
Also, one other thing you could try if the others do not work is to download the latest combo update from apple and install it in Safe mode.
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by:oroboy
ID: 33712493
Thanks Strung and njxbean, I'll definitely try those suggestions, as well as the previous ones you made. Unfortunately, as I mentioned above, I won't be able to try them out until tomorrow when I go back to work; but I will definitely post my findings tomorrow evening. Thanks!
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Author Comment

by:oroboy
ID: 33722159
Okay folks, so I took some of your suggestions and tried them out today. I first tried to boot without any peripherals plugged in, except for the monitor; that didn't work. I then tried to boot without any peripherals plugged in, then after a few minutes, plugged in the monitor; that didn't work. I tried repairing disc permissions in safe mode 2 times, and restarted normally; that didn't work.

Strung, I followed the Apple support link you provided regarding resetting the RDU. I didn't find anything on the page with the acronym "RDU," but I did find that the whole page was dedicated to reseting the "SMU." I'm assuming its the same thing (remember, I'm not too knowledgeable about Mac hardware). Tried all of the suggestions on that page, but no go.

The only thing I've noticed is that it takes a long time from the time I push the power button, to get to the login screen in Safe Mode. Other than that, do you folks have anything else I could try?

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by:strung
ID: 33723750
The person in this thread had an identical problem to yours which he fixed by replacing the logic board battery:

http://discussions.apple.com/message.jspa?messageID=6906154
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by:njxbean
ID: 33724101
try reloading the 10.5.8 combo update from safe mode.

http://support.apple.com/downloads/Mac_OS_X_10_5_8_Combo_Update

Do you have a backup by the way?  
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by:njxbean
njxbean earned 125 total points
ID: 33724116
ALso might consider doing an srchive and install.  http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1710?viewlocale=en_US
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Author Comment

by:oroboy
ID: 33728430
Thanks guys, I'll give these suggestions a shot... I will report back in a day or two, very busy today!
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Author Comment

by:oroboy
ID: 33783867
Hey njxbean and strung; I tried the next set of solutions you folks have offered, but nothing worked. Replacing the battery didn't help, neither did the combo update. I couldn't find the original install disc (thanks to the previous lab manager being so unorganized), so doing the srchive thing wasn't an option I could explore.

I finally did find the original install disc, and decided to do a fresh install to start new on the machine. That pretty much solved the issue. Thanks to you both for taking the time to help me with trying to find a solution. For that, I'm splitting the points an giving you both some for your time and effort. Once again, thanks for your help!
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Author Closing Comment

by:oroboy
ID: 33783904
Although the solutions were not exactly what I needed, they did point me in the direction that eventually led me to find a solution that allowed me to fix the problem.
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