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Macbook only boots in safe boot mode

by saptime29 / April 8, 2012 7:52 AM PDT

My macBook got slower & slower until now it freezes at the apple logo. The only way it boots is in safe boot. I've formatted the drive & reinstalled a fresh OS10.6, zapped the pram, swapped out memory & tried multiple HDDs. I suspect it might be a bad logic board but would a bad logic board allow the macbook to boot up & run properly ( except the usual safe mode functions that are turned off) in safe mode?
I've tried everything I can think of to start up normally, but no luck. I'm really perplexed by the fact that it boots up in safe mode only. There's no third party apps, just what apple gives you with a new install & the fonts check out as normal
Please help....

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Actually, yes
by Jimmy Greystone / April 8, 2012 8:37 AM PDT

Actually, yes, it sounds like a bad GPU, and since that's integrated into the MLB, everything would more or less fit.

However, just to be sure... If you take the HDD out, put it into an external enclosure, and try to boot it that way, what happens? No attempt at safe booting, just booting normally via an external drive.

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external attempt
by saptime29 / April 9, 2012 3:36 AM PDT
In reply to: Actually, yes


No difference with trying to boot from an external enclosure. Thank you for your explanation of the GPU being the culprit. Case closed, thanks again!

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by Jimmy Greystone / April 9, 2012 4:10 AM PDT
In reply to: external attempt

Yep, that definitely is sounding like a bad GPU. That would mean a bad MLB, and so best case scenario it's about $300 to get it fixed assuming it's out of warranty. It is a little odd that the 10.6 installer would boot, but it might run in a safe boot configuration by default, or just isn't making use of the parts of the GPU giving you problems.

Alternately, you could just use it via safe boot for a time. As long as you're not planning on doing any gaming or that sort of thing, you might barely even notice the difference once it actually boots. Most of the time CPUs are just sitting around twiddling their thumbs anyway.

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Thanks for considering my possible solutions.
by LucJPatenaude / April 10, 2012 7:54 AM PDT
In reply to: external attempt

Disabling the faulty GPU will only slow that MacBook even more. Because it now needs to use one of the main processors as an APU(New core engineering allowing to make computers run even better without an expansion card with its own GPU onto it.).

My desktop uses one of my three main processor cores as an APU and, did slow the machine down quite a bit. But, can not complain about its graphics-video chipset being able to perform marvelously, anyway.

Not sure, but, I think the computer manufacturers, already are, making way smaller form factors such a minitop(half the size of a normal Laptop) with the aging type of computer parts and configuration of a much larger desktop machine such as mine.

Does that MacBook have multiple main processor cores? I hope that you have at least Dual Core Tech. in there. Good Luck with that troubleshooting anyway! Wink

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How old is this MacBook?
by LucJPatenaude / April 8, 2012 9:45 AM PDT

Maybe, it is designed for a much earlier edition of Mac OS? Try to revert to OS 9 or 10.0. Sometimes, all the extra scripting these OS devs of today are meant for really powerful and full size PCs.

Running low on RAM? Below the 4Gb recommended size for OS 10.6(sometime the RAM cards' chipsets, themselves are too slow in bus speeds as they get too old)?

Has nothing to do with the GPU(video/graphics processor chip). Since you can see the logo of Apple at the start of the booting process of your MacBook.

Try answering those questions to yourself before answering this post of mine. You will be surprised to the answers you will uncover with a little effort in researching online.

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That still wouldn't explain
by Jimmy Greystone / April 8, 2012 11:59 AM PDT

That still wouldn't explain why it will boot with safe boot, and if it's capable of running 10.6 at all, that automatically means it's an Intel based system so the maximum age would be around 5 years old for the unit. It would also make running a PPC based version of Mac OS (X) a bit tricky. Also, pretty much every x86 based Mac, should be capable of running 10.6, save the 2011 refreshes and beyond where it starts getting a bit iffy due to hardware support.

One of the things Safe Boot does, is disable hardware acceleration of the video, meaning all the GPU is doing is just passing along the signal the CPU processed for it. Which is roughly equivalent to what it's doing before the GUI loads, when it's using EFI level drawing primitives to paint directly to the screen. However, once the OS loads and starts making use of the 3D functions, as Aqua is essentially a giant OpenGL program, you run into problems.

The 4GB mentioned for OS X, is the amount of HDD space needed for a minimal install, not the RAM.

Finally, the speed of the memory bus would have nothing to do with whether or not the OS would boot. It would affect the speed of booting, but not booting itself. As long as the data can get from one part of the computer to the other, the speed is generally irrelevant. I have no earthly idea where the whole scripting thing came from, so I'm just going to write it off as you having absolutely no concept of how software development actually works, and just leave it at that.

Now before we start in with your usual bit of whining because someone pointed out that you posted a bunch of nonsense, consider that maybe a better use of your time would be actually learning what you're talking about instead of whining because someone pointed out that you posted a bunch of nonsense. It would be one thing if you just had a few minor errors in what you said, but there are several major glaring issues here.

1: The OP said MacBook, automatically making it an x86 unit, since Apple rebranded everything with the switch to x86 CPUs. The PowerBook became the MacBook Pro, and the iBook G4 became the MacBook.

2: Mac OS X 10.6 was the first x86 only release so the only way to get it to run short of a VM would be if the OP had an x86 system, like a MacBook.

3: Mac OS 9 was PPC only, as was Mac OS X 10.0-10.3. Mac OS X 10.4 was the first release capable of running on x86 hardware, though it was only distributed in the form of OEM restore discs. So for all intents and purposes, 10.5 marked the official beginning and end of dual platform support in Mac OS X. Sure, if you were to go rifling through Apple's development servers you might be able to find a copy of 10.3 capable of running on x86, and it was probably used by the system designers for prototype units. Odds are if you ever tried using that version of 10.3, you'd quickly find out why it was never publicly released.

4: Apple stopped supporting Mac OS 9 around the time 10.4 came out, and as pointed out in #3, the unit would have to be a PPC system which would be ruled out by #1

That's just for your first paragraph.

You want to help out, great! However, that means actually knowing what you're talking about, and ideally not wasting the time of people, like myself, who have to come along and point out the numerous and grievous errors you're making lest someone actually are posting something that isn't utter nonsense. So I would suggest that you take all the energy you're building up to post some kind of scathing response for me, and channel that into actually learning a little about computers. Then, maybe the next time you post something, someone such as myself will not be forced to point out the numerous factual errors with what you say, because there won't be any grievous factual errors.

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I hope i'm not too late!
by derekknows / July 8, 2012 9:01 AM PDT

I wouldn't get a new logic board right away. This doesn't sound like much of a GPU problem to me at all. I would think about getting a new top case with keyboard.

Lets think... How do you get into safe-mode manually? You hold shift down when you first boot up your macbook. Are you thinking what I'm thinking yet? Have you recently cleaned your keyboard or took of any of your keys? My guess is one of your shift keys is malfunctioning and whenever the computer is booting up it is reading the shift key as being held down... ergo, booting in safe mode.

This happened to me on a macbook a1181. It was the shift key. It's a pretty common problem and a major design flaw.

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