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Powerbook G4 gets stuck at apple screen and spinning wheel.

by tankgee / December 20, 2009 8:21 AM PST

Okay, so I've been trying to google and search on forums on how to get past this, but I see that it would probably be best to just ask for help. Here goes..

I have a 17" Powerbook G4 1.67ghz running on Mac OSX with the newest version (I just let it update itself when there's a new update for the OS). Also, I don't have the original CD and my CD drive does not work and hasn't worked for quite some time and I do not have another Mac to connect to my Powerbook.

I've been having a problem with my USB ports for awhile, but usually a simple restart of the computer and my USB ports work again. Last night I went to sync my iPod touch, iTunes wouldn't even come up and my Mac wouldn't even recognize that a USB cord is plugged in. So I restarted the computer thinking it would help out and same problem, it wouldn't recognize the USB for my iPod, I tried other cords, but to no avail, it wasn't picking up. I plugged it into another computer which is windows based and it picked it up, so I knew it was something wrong with my Mac. Another thing I tried was it was picking up my wireless USB mouse, but not my iPod USB.

I was looking around on forums and a lot of people said a PRAM reset would help, so I did that and now my computer gets stuck at the boot screen (grey screen with Apple logo and spinning wheel). I let it sit there for over an hour, but my desktop never loaded. Then I dug a little deeper and people said to try a PMU reset, which I did and still my computer does not boot up.

Is there any way for me to save my computer? What other steps should I take before I take it in for repairs?

Thanks in advance for all help. Happy

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by GNJ / December 20, 2009 12:36 PM PST

1. If you have the latest OSX (10.6x), your machine won't run --- it is Intel only. You have OSX 10.5.8, perhaps?

2. There are ***2 different*** 17" PB 1.67GHz PowerBooks --- major differences being different displays, RAM type, 3 different HDs and 2 different CD drives, and one hour difference in rated battery time.

Anyway -- to get to your problem: You have tried the PRAM *and* the PMU resets --- your CD drive is dead, your USB ports are flakey, and your machine is 4-5 years old. The spinning wheel indicates that it is trying (as opposed to a folder with a ? in it--- means it can't find a good OS).

Have you ever replaced your battery? Or tried starting it with the battery removed -- just running off the power cord? (A bad battery can drag your power levels down too far for things to work).

Have you tried a "safe boot" (hold down the shift key while it powers up)? Unplug all external devices before you start up. That will do a some minor cleanup and loads Apple only stuff. It does take considerably longer to start up as it does its thing.

If it does start up, one of the first things you will want to do is check your "about this Mac" --more info. Specifically, look at:
Hardware (is everything there as it should be, including memory amount?)
Diagnostics (passed?)
Power/battery (about 12xxx mV showing). Cycles used? Condition? mAh capacity?

Do your firewire and USB ports show? Is the power load on each under the max (with your stuff plugged in)

Next, check your Hard Drive (with Disk Utility --- how big is it and how full is it? You can get into difficulties when your fill gets over 85-90%. You may need to trash/ uninstall to clean out some space. Look to your music/video/photo/downloads/ email attachment folder/ demo software/ unused games, etc as likely candidates for cleanup.
Check "S.M.A.R.T. Status : Verified" (if it says anything else--you need to backup your files and think about another HD), and run "Verify".

If you can arrange access to another Mac, run your machine in Target mode (Hold the T key as it starts 'til the firewire symbol appears on the screen) then plug a firewire cable into the two machines. Your Mac will appear as another hard drive on the other machine. You can then examine/clean/install/ run repair utilities on your HD from there.

Have you created a bootable backup on an external Firewire drive (VERY STRONG HINT--for now and in the future --- especially if you rely on your Machine)? If so, try starting on that.

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Which OS follow-up/ additional Question clarification
by GNJ / December 22, 2009 3:14 AM PST
In reply to: Info??

That (those) PowerBooks shipped with Panther (OSX 10.3x) and Tiger (OSX 10.4x). The latest PPC OS is Leopard (OSX 10.5.8). The Latest OS when you enquired was Snow Leopard (OSX 10.6x ---Intel only).

Soooooo --- which "latest OS" do you have?

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