Won't power on, get gray screen with spinning wheel

My PowerBook does not start-up. I get a chime, then a gray screen with Apple logo and a spinning wheel. I have reset the PRAm and PMU, checked the RAM, in Target mode Disk Utility says the drive is good and I've repaired it. Also in Target mode I cannot install a new OS. When booting from the Leopard DVD I get a light gray screen, then a blue screen, then a dark gray screen. Have also tried to start up in Safe Boot mode-no good there either. Does anyone have any other ideas?

Thanks for the reply. In my original post I mentioned trying all of your suggestions in regards to booting in Target mode. I have another laptop and will try swapping drives.

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Have you tried to format the hard drive in target mode? If you haven't, that might do it. Another thing to try is run your laptop off of another computer's hard drive via target mode -- this will confirm that your laptop is 100% functional, aside from its hard drive, and this step will save you lots of time if there does happen to be something else wrong with the machine.

Sounds like you've done everything right. If none of the above works, I'd remove the hard drive and put it in an external enclosure, and try to format it again plugged in via firewire, in order to see if the drive is salvageable. If you're able to format it externally, it may be worth giving it a second chance inside the computer, although you may be in for another situation like this down the road.

Sometimes hard drives get temperamental like that and cause the computer to behave in strange ways, and sometimes they will not dismount, causing the computer to hang. Again, after confirming that the laptop works fine running off another machine's drive in target mode, I'd say its time to do surgery and pull the drive out.

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Can't do anything with it

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"The laptop powers on fine now, it just runs very slowly and will not allow a reinstall of the OS, nor any other fix when booted from the drive. what I get then is an apple logo, then a blue screen then a dark gray screen and spinning wheel. I don't know what's wrong now."

So, is it the original, problem drive that's in there when you say this?

Put your second Mac in target mode and boot this one off it. Then download SMART Utility and run it to see if this drive has anything wrong with it (I know it worked in the other computer, but it's worthwhile making sure the drive is truly OK.)

http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/sy...

Depending on what your time is worth, you might just buy a new drive for this. I've begun thinking of hard drives like light bulbs. They'll burn out (typically 3-5 years) eventually and need replacing. Just another consumable, which is a really good argument for good backups.

If the data needs recovering, maybe you can get it off with Target Mode first, or pop it into an external enclosure or using a universal drive adapter.

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I've pulled the drive and put it in another laptop and it works fine. Also put a known working drive in the laptop and it works fine. So, it seems the drive is okay. The laptop powers on fine now, it just runs very slowly and will not allow a reinstall of the OS, nor any other fix when booted from the drive. what I get then is an apple logo, then a blue screen then a dark gray screen and spinning wheel. I don't know what's wrong now.

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will not allow a reinstall of the OS, nor any other fix when booted from the drive. Right. When booted from a drive think of it as a running car engine - you can't work on it while it's running.

No matter what drive is in the laptop, it will not boot up from the Leopard dvd. Is this a Generic Install DVD or one borrowed from another mac?

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How do you choose the DVD from Sys Pref Startup Disk? (if not try that)

Try safe booting from the DVD there may be some intell drivers on the DVD that are hanging and a safe boot could clear them.

Good Luck,

N.

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The drive itself is fine. I swapped in to another PBook and it works fine. Also formatted a new drive and put it in the malfunctioning PBook and get same problem, so it's not the drive. No matter what drive is in the laptop, it will not boot up from the Leopard dvd. I can boot up to latest Disk Warrior but halfway through the rebuild it hangs. What happens when trying to boot from Leopard dvd is I get a gray apple logo, then blue screen then a dark gray screen and spinning wheel.

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Ah. If you remove the internal drive, and boot to something external (a drive or another Mac in Target Mode), does it work ok? How about with no hard drive installed, will it boot ok to the Leopard DVD?

Then maybe there is something wrong with the SATA connector or bus, which is not something I'm very experienced with--it's just suggested by process of elimination. Hopefully one of the other guys will chime in.

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I installed new RAM 2 x 1GB, and the laptop did start-up. After running for a few minutes and attempting to open Safari, it crashed and here's what appeared on the screen: System failure cpu:0, CODE 00000004. Does anyone know what this means?

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I don't know for sure, but that sure looks like a processor (i.e. logic board) problem, see the cpu in the error?

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Funny thing now is it starts up fine and seems to run okay. The start-up chime does not happen though.

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