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OS X 10.6.8 Blue Screen, no Login Items

Posted on 2013-11-25
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Last Modified: 2013-12-04
Hello,
     I have a 2011 iMac with OS X 10.6.8 and it is not displaying the login screen. It POSTs, but I get the second blue screen (with the cursor) and it hangs there. I can use safe boot to login however. I have had this happen once before, but it was a third party startup item. Now, there are no login items, and the startup items folder is empty. I'm a bit stumped. Could it be a kext? A font? Some other extension? I've been poring through the console logs but have yet to come up with anything. Any help is greatly appreciated!
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Question by:indigo6
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Assisted Solution

by:Eoin OSullivan
Eoin OSullivan earned 500 total points
ID: 39674259
It is unlikely to be a ktext/extension/font as these were legacy issues in early versions of OSX 10.0 - 10.3 when people still had OS9 on their systems.

Nowadays 10.5-6+ the issues relate to login items at a user or system level.

If you've ruled out user login items - then you can track down an app called Lingon version 2.1 which is FREE.  It allows you to see and easily edit all the user AND system login items.

You could also look at creating a new user account and disable autologin and see can the other user login .. if the system will boot to the login screen.

If it won't boot to the login screen and you don't have a TimeMachine backup then a reinstall of OSX system using the install DVD may be your last line of defence using an Archive & Install process where it will build a new System folder but keep everything else.
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Author Comment

by:indigo6
ID: 39678636
Ok, something strange. I created a test user, but it's really slow. SMART Status is verified. Now the other user can Logon normally, although it takes a long time. However, the machine starts to act weird whenever there is a network connection. Either airport or Ethernet.
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by:Eoin OSullivan
ID: 39678671
There's an application on OSX called Activity Monitor in the Utilities folder inside Applications
Open that to see what processes and apps are hogging memory or cpu.

Also look in the Console app to see the LOGS for all apps which might show something
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Author Comment

by:indigo6
ID: 39682840
The activity monitor doesn't provide much help since sometimes I cannot even get logged on. The Logon window just sits there with the barber pole. Also, I've pored through the logs in the console and nothing stands out. Let me elaborate on what happens with the computer once the network is in use. All goes well for about 3 minutes and then the computer starts to lag a bit. Then, I cannot launch anything at all. Finder windows do not open, when I click on a dock icon, it bounces for a few minutes and then stops, like it gives up on launching, all applications do this. I also cannot open the force quit menu. The cursor moves fine, and when I mouse over something, the label shows, but clicking does nothing.

I may be headed in the Archive and Install direction. I'm reluctant to since the machine has Adobe apps and Final Cut Pro, but no install discs to be found.
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Expert Comment

by:Eoin OSullivan
ID: 39682912
Sorry but it does sound like something is amiss with the system alright.  

I'd agree that the simplest option is to re-install the core system.  OSX 10.6 DOES NOT have an Archive & Install option (that ended in OSX 10.5) but do not panic.  There is just one install which is close to the old archive and install. It reinstalls 10.6 over the current system and only archives a few things that the system thinks are incompatible.

If you boot from the 10.6 DVD you might want to backup/clone the HD to an external drive before you run the installer just to be 100% safe.  Seeing as the computer keeps freezing you may want to disable the network to leave the system stable and run carbon copy cloner to backup alternatively you will have to create an alternate boot system. To do this you'll need to install OSX on a USB drive and also put a copy of Carbon Copy Cloner... then boot from the USB drive and clone the HD to a 2nd Hard Drive .. it does mean you need 2 USB HDs but would be the most secure solution.

IF you have a 2nd Mac and suitable firewire cable you could put the sick mac into Target Disk mode and back it up using the other Mac.
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Author Comment

by:indigo6
ID: 39686459
Ok, I did the AHT, and it all came back clean. I also did the in place "archive and install" and it worked fine for a bit! I installed the 10.6.8 combo update, and now it does the same thing.
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Author Comment

by:indigo6
ID: 39686461
eoinosullivan, I've also looked through Lingon. What should I be looking at disabling?
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Accepted Solution

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indigo6 earned 0 total points
ID: 39686475
Got it! Deleted the loginitems.plist and the loginwindow.plist, and it worked! Thanks!
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Author Closing Comment

by:indigo6
ID: 39695031
The other solution did not work in this case, deleting the two plists is what solved it.
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