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Reset password issues on IMac G5 (A1145)

Hi everyone,

This is a weird one and I haven't found any posts online with someone with this exact issue.  Here's what I'm seeing:
When I turn the Imac on I hear the startup chime but get no display on the screen, after 20 seconds the fan starts running really fast/loud, then it quiets down to normal and then after about 40 seconds I get the flashing folder in the middle of the screen with a ? on the folder.  Then the login screen appears and I can attempt to type in the password.  I have tried booting to single user mode and from a cd but neither works, the system boots just as described above each time I turn it on, no matter what keys I press on startup.  
The model is A1145.  Anyone have any suggestions as to what is going on here.  I'm fairly new to repairing MACs and have tried some of what looks like the basics, resetting the PRAM and SMU, which don't seem to work either (with PRAM i'm not getting a second chime to tell me it's reset).  
Anyone have any insight as to what may be going on here?
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8/22/2022 - Mon
Eoin OSullivan

The keyboard should always allow you to startup in Target Disk mode or Safe mode .. if this is not working there may be a fault with the keyboard .. Have you tried an alternative USB keyboard?  It is better to use an Apple keyboard rather than a Windows keyboard if possible just to be sure there are no issues with OSX recognising the device.

The ? on bootup means that OSX cannot find or load the default startup operating system.
I've seen this when someone sets the default startup disk as an external drive, secondary internal HD/partition or external USB and then attempts to startup without this device in place.  OSX will then scan the local HD or network for other possible locations and attempt to boot from that.

Does it eventually boot after you type in your log on key?

If so, open the system prefs and go to the startup disk prefs pane and make sure it is set to the local hard drive.

Then open Disk Utility (found in /Applications/Utilities) and run Verify Disk to see if there are any problems. (If there are, report back here.) Then run Repair Permissions.

HI eoinsullivan -  thanks for the response!
 yes i have tried another keyboard and still no luck booting to safe mode.   I'm using an apple keyboard and have tried with a windows keyboard (using the windows key and s to try and boot to safe mode).  No luck.   I've removed the hard drive and tried booting without it in there just to see the results and it just hangs at the folder with ? screen.
I've also taken out the stick of ram easily accessible from the bottom and tried booting that way - same results.

If you set an external drive as default boot device and it's not there is it normal for the display to not come on until this late in the boot process (after about a minute)?  
I should be seeing the apple logo and/or a white screen almost immediately after turning the system no matter what device I'm choosing to boot from right?
Your help has saved me hundreds of hours of internet surfing.
Eoin OSullivan

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Hi Strung,

It does eventually boot to the login screen (only one user setup) but the password has been forgotten, so I'm trying to reset it and this is when I discovered these other issues.

eoinosullivan - Aren't you supposed to be able to hold the "d" key when turning it on to start hardware diagnostics?  I've tried this to no avail, in that it just continues to boot normally.
I've read that you can plug in an external firewire optical drive and boot from that, but can i do the same with a usb optical drive?  Forgot to mention, I would try the built in cd drive but there is a disk stuck in it and i've been unsuccessful with getting it removed thus far.
Eoin OSullivan

Holding down the mouse button SHOULD force eject when you boot-up.
Otherwise an opened paperclip inserted 'carefully' in the tiny eject pinhole does the job .. different macs have the pinhole eject in slightly different locations around the mouth of the drive.  

The disk in the drive MAY be causing some of the Boot errors

Holding the D key to boot to hardware diagnostics is only for intel Macs. You need the hardware diagnostic disk for older Macs.

I agree with Iain, you need to eject the DVD. Holding down the mouse button on boot should do it unless it is physically stuck.
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mtsdemo - i do have another working mac that I can try that with and a firewire cable, so I'll try tomorrow morning (i'm mostly a Windows guy so bear with me, but am interested in seeing how that works for the future)  -  FYI, i did already disassemble the device to check for bloated caps, etc, but the system looks ok and while I had it apart I sector tested the hard drive and it came up clean, and I was able to browse the file system from a windows computer running macdrive, so I'm fairly sure the hard drive is good.    Are you thinking there could be file system corruption causing the issues I'm having starting in safe mode?   Again, I did try booting to safe mode without the hard drive plugged in and same results as with it plugged in.

I believe i have a mac hardware diagnostic disk as well - so if I can eject the cd manually or with your instruction I will try that as well.   Is booting off a usb optical drive an option if I can't get the cd out?  What is the procedure for that?

thanks for the link to the mac shortcut keys JohnnyCanuck!  I'll bookmark that one for sure

I've got an update -  ejecting the cd by holding the mouse button hasn't worked - i've held it down for a couple minutes at least.   I also don't see a pin hole like I'm used to seeing on non-internal cd drives to manually eject the cd.
Additionally there is a metal tongue covering the slot so i cannot manually try to pull the cd out (which I'm not sure if thats a good idea anyway).  I've tried to gently move the metal tongue out the of way but it's stuck.  (see attached photo)

I suppose my options are to either get this booting off a cd (which i have the OS dvd this came with and a mac diag disk) - or try booting into target disk mode and repair disk from the other mac i have.   I'll try this now and report back
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Walt Forbes

Chalked this one up to bad hardware of some sort.  Got the data off that was needed.<br />Thanks for the prompt response troubleshooting this!
Couldn't boot from CD to run lower level diagnostics as recommended.