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Snow Leopard Upgrade Begets Gray Screen (of death?)

LavaKnightLavaKnight Registered User regular
edited September 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
Hey everyone,

So my girlfriend just upgraded to Snow Leopard, and a day after using it has received a gray screen on boot-up. Apparently this is the equivalent of Window's Blue Screen? I'm not really a mac person, but she went against my advice to wipe the hard drive and install it fresh, instead upgrading from Tiger.

I've done a little research, and it seems as if this can happen by installing onto a copy of Tiger that has downloaded updates but has yet to install them.

Ok, bummer, but is there anything she can do short of wiping the hard drive to revert back to Tiger, and try again? Try again the proper way, hopefully.

In addition, what is the process for formatting the hard drive when a gray screen pops up? Is it a simple boot from the Snow Leopard disc and choose format? I've never done an OS install on a mac before, so any advice is appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

LavaKnight on

Posts

  • baudattitudebaudattitude Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Turn on the Mac, put the Dvd in, press C to boot from it. When you get to the first screen of the Snow Leopard installer, you'll have a menu bar up top; one of the options will be Disk Utility. You can format/partition/repair disks from there. Good luck.

  • LavaKnightLavaKnight Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Alright. I assume that this is the only option at this point? That things are messed up enough to warrant it?

    Thanks for the instructions!

  • LewishamLewisham Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    LavaKnight wrote: »
    Alright. I assume that this is the only option at this point? That things are messed up enough to warrant it?

    No.

    There are a whole bunch of reasons to gray screen (kernel panic). Mac OS X kernel panics are rare, but not unheard of, most people experience them in their Mac-owning time. One kernel panic is not the end of the world

    Wait until the first point release (10.6.1) before you do anything so drastic. She's running a bleeding-edge OS, if she thinks there won't be problems, she's deluded. A lot of my Mac friends refuse to upgrade until 10.6.1.

  • MonoxideMonoxide Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited September 2009
    Lewisham wrote: »
    LavaKnight wrote: »
    Alright. I assume that this is the only option at this point? That things are messed up enough to warrant it?

    No.

    There are a whole bunch of reasons to gray screen (kernel panic). Mac OS X kernel panics are rare, but not unheard of, most people experience them in their Mac-owning time. One kernel panic is not the end of the world

    Wait until the first point release (10.6.1) before you do anything so drastic. She's running a bleeding-edge OS, if she thinks there won't be problems, she's deluded. A lot of my Mac friends refuse to upgrade until 10.6.1.

    She can't update to 10.6.1 if she can't boot into 10.6.0

    The most immediate easy solution would be a reinstall. The best solution would be trying to fix it, but that depends on how comfortable you are with using the command line to do so.

    Did you see anything abut a solution on the pages that told you that it happens when you've got downloaded updates on Tiger? If you could link some of that info, it might help

  • LewishamLewisham Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Monoxide wrote: »
    She can't update to 10.6.1 if she can't boot into 10.6.0

    You read the OP differently to me. It sounded like this is a one-time deal, not a problem that occurs on every boot.

  • OrganichuOrganichu Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Stupid question but have you tried to hold down the option key during boot up? I don't know what I did to my MacBook but I have to 'remind' it to boot into the Leopard volume, although that's the only one on the HDD.

    XMSODhjrer45.gif
  • LavaKnightLavaKnight Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Well, I'm comfortable with command line operations, but not with mac specific commands. I don't think I'd know where to begin.

    As far as I know, it is a perpetual problem. After installing 10.6.0, it restarted and worked up until the next time she turned it on, where it gave the gray screen. Now she can't get it to boot, and it just goes to the gray screen. Sorry if that wasn't clear.

    When you say "reinstall," Monoxide, do you mean a reinstall without a format? I would imagine that whatever problem came from Tiger would persist without a format. The article I read this in was a TG Daily article that was pretty anti-mac, and it was referring to a bunch of posts in the apple support forum.

    Edit: I'm not sure if she had tried the option key, so I'll double check that wont fix it first before doing anything drastic.

  • MonoxideMonoxide Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited September 2009
    I meant an "Erase & Install" (which includes a format)

    I would say an "Archive and Install" would do the trick, but Snow Leopard's installer now does this by default and then moves over everything to the current system. This is bad because it'll include whatever's breaking it.

    You could try doing an "Archive and Install" with her Tiger discs, so it retains her user data in the "Previous Systems" folder, but I'm not sure Tiger will let you do that to a higher version. Worth a try though. If it does work, you should probably back up her user data before updating to Snow Leopard.

  • LavaKnightLavaKnight Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Alright, provided she can find her Tiger discs, I'll try the Archive and Install with Tiger and then make sure she backs up the user data. It's not like much else can go wrong at this point, so I'm sure it's worth a shot. If that doesn't work, I'll go for the erase.

    Thanks for the help Mono, Lewis, and company!

  • LavaKnightLavaKnight Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    So apparently disc utility isn't even seeing seeing the hard drive. It sees the optical drive and install disc, but not the he'd. Any ideas? I don't think it's failed harware, but I can't rule it out.

  • OrganichuOrganichu Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    LK,

    Does Disk Utility fail to detect your volume or the drive itself? If the drive itself, the problem is almost certainly hardware based.

    XMSODhjrer45.gif
  • LewishamLewisham Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    What exactly are you doing? Are you using Disk Utility from a booted Mac OS X 10.6 DVD?

    Like Organichu said, I can buy that the volume is corrupted, but if you see no HD at all (when booted from a DVD), then it's jacked.

  • OrganichuOrganichu Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Correct. Even should your volume be corrupted or the file system entirely lost (which, in my experience, very rarely happens with a journaled OS X volume), the volume should still be ascertainable. Even if you can't repair it (e.g. you're accessing disk utility from within your bootable drive), it should be viewable.

    If, as Lewisham says, you're using a 10.6 DVD to access Disk Utility- and no drive shows- you're borked.

    XMSODhjrer45.gif
  • LavaKnightLavaKnight Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Hmm, that's odd. It didn't really give any indication of hardware failure before upgrading to 10.6, so I'm loathe to jump there yet. In searching online for this problem, I came across questions similar to yours about "volumes." I wish I could tell you that I knew one way or another, but as long as we're booting from the disc correctly, it is not showing up.

    Basically, when turning on the system with the OS disk in the drive, and booting from the drive ("c" right? sometimes it just goes strait to the OS install screen), it brings up the Snow Leopard install screen and and lists available drives. None are listed. Double checking this in the disk utility shows only the optical drive and OS Install disc.

    So, maybe it is borked. I think she still has Apple Care, though, so hopefully she'll get new hardware out of it.

  • OrganichuOrganichu Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    "Volume" is just another word for, er, an area of containment within a hard drive's file system. The vast majority of folks only have one volume.

    Have you held option upon bootup? If you only see the install DVD doing this, I'm thinking you're fucked. The HDD fires up (and is selectable) much more quickly than a DVD in the optical drive.

    XMSODhjrer45.gif
  • OrganichuOrganichu Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    If you're under Applecare you'll certainly get this replaced, assuming it's not a phantom problem.

    XMSODhjrer45.gif
  • LavaKnightLavaKnight Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Organichu wrote: »
    "Volume" is just another word for, er, an area of containment within a hard drive's file system. The vast majority of folks only have one volume.

    Have you held option upon bootup? If you only see the install DVD doing this, I'm thinking you're fucked. The HDD fires up (and is selectable) much more quickly than a DVD in the optical drive.

    Volume being synonymous with partition, correct? Yeah, not seeing the hdd or any volumes,

  • OrganichuOrganichu Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    LavaKnight wrote: »
    Organichu wrote: »
    "Volume" is just another word for, er, an area of containment within a hard drive's file system. The vast majority of folks only have one volume.

    Have you held option upon bootup? If you only see the install DVD doing this, I'm thinking you're fucked. The HDD fires up (and is selectable) much more quickly than a DVD in the optical drive.

    Volume being synonymous with partition, correct? Yeah, not seeing the hdd or any volumes,

    For all intents and purposes, for the typical user, a volume is a partition, yes. It doesn't really make sense to say "my hard drive has only one partition"... but in terms that matter, yes, sure.

    To review your situation:

    -when booting without a startup DVD, your machine grey screens and hangs
    -when booting with a startup DVD, and holding option (to select a valid system folder on a startup device) returns nothing but the startup DVD
    -when running Disk Utility from within the startup DVD, you do not see any 2.5/3.5" HDDs in the left panel

    Definitely sounds like a borked drive to me.

    XMSODhjrer45.gif
  • LavaKnightLavaKnight Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Alright, thanks for the advice Organ and everyone else. It's a good thing she backed up most of her data before migrating to Snow Leopard, so it's not the end of the world.

    Thanks for going through the process with me!

  • OrganichuOrganichu Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    You're welcome.

    Be sure to be up front and honest with the Apple technician. Especially if you go in store, candidness (rather than forcing again and again "i didn't drop this!") goes a long way. Either way, though, HDD failure is certainly covered by Applecare, so you should have no problems.

    XMSODhjrer45.gif
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