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Model A1138 / 1440x960 screen resolution

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Gradual slow down, now it won't boot--Airport too?

Mfg 10/05, bought used in 5/06, gave it to my wife in 12/08 and it's been working great for years. Upgraded to 10.5.8 last year with no issues. Noticed traveling last year that the Airport range had dropped off significantly. Display hinge had gotten a bit sloppy and I wondered if it was a bad ground or broken wire, but close to a base it worked as fast as ever.

After she upgraded to Thunderbird 3.x a few weeks ago she got a lot of spinning color wheels of death and performance bogging down. Thought it was related to that upgrade and I started to check it out. I cleaned a bunch of photos off the desktop, but symptoms continued to get worse until it was all but unusable. Over about a week it got more and more sluggish and eventually would hang, then boot and hang, then not boot at all, but even that has progressed to worse.

Currently it won't boot from a start-up disk or appear on my 17" in target mode. I'll get the FW symbol on the screen, but no love on my desktop. I've swapped the two 1GB RAM sticks one at a time in both slots (but I didn't reset the PMU in between each try yet, just found that). It won't go into Apple-S, verbose or option key just gives "restart" arrow and "right arrow" but spinning watch doesn't do anything. For a bit I was getting the gray screen with with apple and spinning hash marks in a circle and the apple would eventually turn in to a circle with a diagonal line. It no longer even does that anymore. I can reset the PMU and the PRAM and it makes all the right beeps (I think) then boots to the apple, then circle with line and spinning hash marks. The Caps Lock will light and the disk will eject holding the trackpad button down.

Read in a few posts where a bad Airport card kept a few machines from booting and since I had noticed the loss in range (though not in performance sitting in the same room as the Airport Extreme) I found this site searching for a tear-down tutorial. I pulled the Airport card out, but no change in reported symptoms. My wife has a few important things on that HD that if it is the culprit, I would like to somehow salvage, but as it is now a "legacy machine" I'm afraid of throwing good money at it.

Thanks in advance for the site, the illustrated walk-throughs and the great advice!

Answered! View the answer I have this problem too

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I would remove the hard drive and see if it will start from the CD. This may just be a failing hard drive.

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Thanks, mayer. Update: I bought another used HD and it still won't boot. Assuming the new HD I bought is also bad are you suggesting that removing any HD would allow it to then book from a CD? I'm getting quicker at the tear down process! ;-)


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Yes. I was suggesting booting without the hard drive from the CD. It's really amazing to me how much better you get at this after you've done it a few times. You then look at the teardowns and start making suggestions.


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Put the

questionable HD in an external case. Use TechToolPro (fixes more problems than Disk Utility) to repair the MBD (Master boot directory) of the HD.

Disk Warrior also works well as a recovery tool, and there are several other fine applications but only you will know if it's worth spending hundreds of dollars to maybe retrieve that old data. If there's a bad head, bearing, power supply or physical damage to the disks you won't be able to recover anyway.

If this answer was helpful please remember to mark it accepted.

Good Luck,


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Jamie will be eternally grateful.
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