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IMac freezes on startup. Can't use safemode.

My iMac freezes on startup. I can't use safemode. The sleep light turns on. The fan and cd drive turn on as well. The screen stays black though. Once it got to the spinning icon that you see before the "OS is starting up" dialogue. Then it froze. When I had it on last it suddenly went unresponsive and a message pooped up that said something like. "Your computer needs to restart. hold down the power button to turn off." It had translations in 3 other languages (french, chinese, and spanish.I think).I couldn't do anything but do what it said. It froze the next time I turned it on. I can't turn it on in safemode.

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Safe mode just requires holding shift down during start up and if it starts up at all this should be possible. Once in safe mode, you should be able to use Disk Utility to Verify disk and Fix Permissions. To Repair disk or with/without safe mode you need to startup with your install disk and on the first screen or after selecting language, use options to select Disk Utility. You really should tell us the MacOS version--10.3.9 10.4.11 10.5.8 or 10.6 are current and tell us your install disk version, too. With safe mode you can use terminal to run fsck to fix the disk, read the man page. Alternatives include starting up in Target Disk Mode (command+t at startup) and using your computer as an external disk for another Mac by Firewire or possibly USB, fixing it using the others software. These methods in descending ease.
A now permanently dark screen would indicate a bigger problem and a trip to an Apple store for an evaluation. Tell us your iMac model--could affect whether you can easily savage your disk data in this case. -Ken

Posted on Sep 11, 2009

  • ddp54 Dec 28, 2011

    Im using a windows keybord can't seem to enter safemode would not startup after os update latest just get apple icon and spinning icon

  • Kenneth Klare
    Kenneth Klare Dec 28, 2011

    This was 3 years ago. IIRC, taking the back off, I found the LED sequence would not go on. The CPU was just bad. I had the option of having Apple look at it and replace something for over $800. I chose to buy a new Apple Intel MacBook for over $1000--the early 2009 white MacBook. I have since upgraded the memory to the max 4GB and the drive to 500 GB and that to a 128 GB SSD. I love it. The great thing about this MacBook is it has a replaceable battery (soon to be needed), easy access to upgrade the memory and drive from the battery compartment--try that with later models. It had the mini-HDMI, since superceded by the Display Port and now by Thunderbolt but it does full HDMI although sound would need the separate TOSlink. Just as well out of G5 as that dead-ended--no going back.-Ken

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