New to iMac trouble shooting

Networking/Security Forums -> Macintosh

Author: Thrawn717 PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 6:22 pm    Post subject: New to iMac trouble shooting
Hello all,

One of my users asked me if I wouldn't mind looking at their computer because it is totally unresponsive, which I told her that it would be no problem. Well she forgot to mention that it is an iMac running OSX. I have never toubleshot a Mac in my life, and have only played with one at Circuit City, which was really cool by the way.

The problem that I am having is that the Mac boots up, flashes the apple symbol and the OS X screen also, but after that it just sits there, I get a blue screen and the mouse arrow. No icons come up on the screen or tool bar. I let it sit there for about 30 minutes to see if it was just slow to boot but nothing has happened. What do I do from here?

Any help would be GREAT!!! I realize that I may have probably bitten off more than I can chew but I would really like to know how to trouble shoot this type of computer because I am interested in learning more about Macs. This would be a great learning experience for me.


Author: moondoggie PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 6:51 pm    Post subject:
first of all, what kind of imac are you using? is it the g3, which is one solid piece shaped like a big monitor? or the imac g4, which has the dome base and swivel flat panel with the chrome connector? or the imac g5, which is basically a big flat panel monitor? all three are capable of running osX on them and they all have slightly different ways of getting into the system on bootup.

Author: Thrawn717 PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 6:54 pm    Post subject:
it is the one that has the dome base and swivel flat panel. The G4 iMac.

Author: moondoggie PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 9:14 pm    Post subject:
try this:

turn on the computer. at the startup sound, push and hold the command + option + p + r key combo (command = apple key). hold it until it makes a second startup sound then let go. that should reset your imac's pram (equivalent to bios) to factory defaults.

if you end up at a prompt, type the following two commands:


that will restore the entire system to factory defaults. if it still won't boot, then there is probably a deeper hardware issue that it's getting hung up on, or the system volume may be corrupted.

Author: Thrawn717 PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 9:27 pm    Post subject:
Bummer.... It didn't work. Sad

Well thanks for the help Moondoggie!!!

I'll just have to find a way to backup their folders onto a network drive or an external hard drive.

Another question for everyone. Where do those personal documents and picture and stuff live at? I have been able to get it to boot up to cmd line and list directories in root. If you could tell how to do this it would be great!

Thanks Guys and Gals!!!

Author: moondoggie PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 10:45 pm    Post subject:
typically the user profile is located at /home/users/<username>. all the docs, pics, etc live under that path for that user.

Author: Thrawn717 PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2006 2:19 am    Post subject:
How do you set an IP address on an imac from the command line? I am trying to backup this machine and we have no idea how to set the IP address so we can tranfer the data over to my laptop.

Author: moondoggie PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2006 3:03 am    Post subject:
if you're talking an osx terminal window, ifconfig is a good tool. if you don't know how to use it, just do "man ifconfig" (no quotes) at the prompt. i believe the ethernet adapter is usually listed as en0 or en1, depending on your configuration. but really, if you're using osx, just go to system preferences->network, choose the ethernet adapter->tcp/ip and set it to a manual ip address.

Author: Thrawn717 PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2006 3:15 am    Post subject:
We tried all of that and it still won't set up the ethernet card, and the it is also telling me that the man ifconfig file does not exsist.

I'm done with this thing! I'll just tell her that it is hosed and she needs to find someone who really knows macs and have them fix this thing.

Thanks for the help Moondoggie! Very much appreciated!

Author: moondoggie PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2006 5:54 pm    Post subject:
well, you may want to check apple's compatibility charts, but if this computer is worth about $150 to your friend, i would invest in a brand new OS disk at the local apple retailer. i'm pretty sure that imac g4 can handle tiger OS. it would be well worth the investment and the install process is incredibly easy compared to trying to fix the basket case you've got there.

Author: Ex0dusLocation: Down Under PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2006 12:44 pm    Post subject:
from what you have said, the computer is loading the user and locking up. ive actually seen something like that in OSX 10.4. problem was corrupted cache files for the user.

can't recall exactly cos it was a little while ago, but i think i just cleared out 2 cache folders.

a good method to fix this, which ties in with what moondoggie is saying, is get a external drive and link via firewire, then install osx onto it. then you can boot up and clear the folders via that way. or alternativly backup and reinstall.

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