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Troubleshoot Macbook Pro Startup


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#1 JebediahTBone

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 01:06 PM

I have a Macbook Pro that was handed to me for troubleshooting. User is running Boot Camp to auto-load Win XP. User does not use OS X (10.4 [edit: I think it's 10.4, but not positive]) at all.

Symptoms
On boot, Win XP title screen comes up, and progress bar progresses over several minutes, then computer reboots.

On reboot, I get a solid grey screen for a few minutes, which later turns black, with the message "No bootable device -- insert boot disk and press any key".

My Troubleshooting
During the Win XP attempt to startup, I can hit F8 (actually, it's Fn+F8), to get the startup menu.

Choosing Safe Mode, the loaded drivers list comes up and gets to MUP then everything stops. Unfortunately, MS decided to display the drivers after each fully loads, so all I know is MUP is the last driver to fully load - no idea what the next driver is that's trying to load.

Choosing LKGC, the XP title screen comes up with the progress bar, then reboots to finally end in the "No bootable device..." message as noted above.

I can press the option key, to choose which disk I want to boot: OS X or WXP.
Choosing WXP yields the same symptoms as above.
Choosing OS X yields a grey screen, with a grey apple and a spinning gear. Nothing happens. I can let the system alone for hours and nothing happens.

Verbose Mode
Starting OS X in Verbose Mode yields the grey screen/apple and spinning gear with no progress beyond that.

Open Firmware Mode:
Starting OS X in Open Firmware Mode yields the grey screen/apple and spinning gear with no progress beyond that.

Safe Mode
Starting OS X in Safe Mode yields the grey screen/apple and spinning gear with no progress beyond that.

In all cases above regarding starting OS X, it takes a second or two after the grey screen/apple to appear before the spinning gear comes up. Now this be where I err, but I assume (yes, I know how dangerous that is) by the time the gear comes up, the system has detected the key combination I'm pressing and knows how I want the OS to start. I let go of the keys about 5 seconds after I see the gear. Not sure I should hold them longer.

General Thoughts/Comments
This is where my inexperience with OS X comes to light. I know enough to be dangerous, but I also know when to stop and ask for help. I haven't a clue where to go next with this. I just don't know enough about troubleshooting OS X startup problems. I suspect Boot Camp is part of the problem, but I just don't know anything about it.

I suspect Boot Camp is involved in the problem only because I can't get either OS to load. If I could get one or the other to load, then I'd be more suspicious of the OS itself. Am I on track with this thinking? Is it possible that both OSes are somehow corrupted and Boot Camp is out of the way since the OSes try to load? Possible hard drive problem?

I'm very comfortable troubleshooting WXP, but it's OS X and Boot Camp with which I have very, very little troubleshooting experience (actually, none for Boot Camp and I've never troubleshot failed startup for OS X). So I'm hesitant to do much with even XP, since I don't know how Boot Camp affects the way XP loads, or what sort of traps I may not be aware of.

If anyone has recommendations, I'd love to hear them. If you know of websites that provide really good information about troubleshooting OS X and XP startup with Boot Camp, I'd love to know what they are. I suspect this is going to be a great learning process for me. No better way to learn how to troubleshoot an OS than to jump right in! :thumbsup:

If I missed something, tell me.

Thanks a bunch!
-JtB

Edited by JebediahTBone, 02 May 2008 - 03:47 PM.

-JtB

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#2 TVT

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 02:05 PM

If you have access to another Mac, try booting the bad Mac into target mode(Hold down "T" on startup). Then use firewire to connect them. Reboot the good mac while holding the option key. You should see the bad Macs hard drive. Select the OS X partition and see if it boots. If it does, it might be hardware related. Try it backwards and see if the bad Mac can boot the good Macs hard drive.

Another thing to try is if you have the OS X install discs, try booting off that and using Disk Utility to repair permissions on the OS X partition. Or do an archive and install.

Heres an article on how Boot Camp works. Hopefully this will give you a better idea of how it all interacts and what you can do on the Windows side.
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#3 JebediahTBone

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 03:46 PM

TVT,

1. I don't have the install discs for this machine. I tried using mine, but I get an error stating I can't install this software on this machine. I called the user and will hopefully get the CDs on Monday. I'll try the Disk Utility then.

2. I hooked up the two Macs as suggested. Here are the results:

a) Bad Mac in target mode, booted good Mac while holding option key. Good mac hung at a solid grey screen. No icons of any sort displayed. Bad Mac's firewire symbol stopped bouncing around the screen. The appearance is that both machines hung up.

:thumbsup: Good Mac in target mode, booted bad Mac while holding option key. Bad mac gave me three boot options: OS X, WXP, and the firewire connection. Booted to the firewire connection and got to the login screen from the good Mac. With this, I'm wondering if there may be a hard drive problem.

3. Thanks for the link. I got some good info from it. I also found the following gem of a thread, which, while not solving my problem, was an interesting read. Looks like one person had a similar issue when they didn't allocate enough space for XP. This machine's been in use for over a year (maybe 2?), so maybe she's finally filled up the available space?

http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1259333

I don't know if this has any bearing on anything, but when I turn on this machine, I do get the expected startup tone. I think this means the system passed POST, and all hardware is responsive. It's certainly no guarantee there's not a hardware problem, but it's a detail I'll note, for what it's worth.

Thanks again, TVT. I'll update you on Monday with the results of Disk Utility.
-JtB

#4 TVT

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 04:15 PM

An easy way to find out is to boot on to the good macs drive via target mode and log in. The internal drives will still show up, so you can check where the free space is at. You can also run Disk Utility from there. Just make sure if you run any apps to do so off the good macs hdd.
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#5 JebediahTBone

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 04:03 PM

TVT,

The discs weren't made available to me today. Maybe tomorrow.

I did successfully use the target mode option and boot from the bad mac to my hdd. I tried to run the disk utility and verify permissions, but it just ran dog slow - couple of hours. Needing to use my machine, I stopped it. I'll wait for the discs to do this. :thumbsup:

On the bright side, I just at an ice cream sandwich and it was oh sooo good!

I'll update after I've had a chance to run the discs. It may be a couple of days.

Thanks!
-JtB

#6 TVT

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 05:06 PM

Definitely sounds like a hdd problem. If its just out of space, it might be as easy of cleaning out some of the crap or backing it up and starting with a fresh install. But if the drive is starting to fail or you have to upgrade it, it might be trouble. MBP hdds arent easily serviceable. You have to take the whole blasted thing apart.
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#7 Buddyme2

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 04:00 AM

Here are a few basic OS X troubleshooting guides that you might want to look at. Troubleshooting Boot Camp is not listed in any of them though.
http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?sto...004011205473937
http://forums.osxfaq.com/viewtopic.php?t=7269
http://thexlab.com/faqs/faqs.html
When I boot into Safe Mode I hold down the Shift key until the login page opens and hold it down again when hitting the Enter button until the Desktop fully loads.

Edited by Buddyme2, 06 May 2008 - 06:53 PM.


#8 JebediahTBone

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Posted 20 May 2008 - 05:40 PM

Just wanted to update the thread.

First, thanks all your help on this.

Looks like this issue is in Limbo for a while. Am waiting on more stuff from the owner of the machine before I go further with it. So it may be a while before I get back to it. Anyway, didn't want y'all to think I came seeking help and ran away. Your help is truly appreciated.

Until more information is available... have a good one.
-JtB




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