Will boot fine to safe mode, but not regular

MacBook Pro 15" will boot with chimes. Blue screen but no icons, no mouse pointer. Just a blue screen.

However, I can boot to Safe Mode with all icons and mouse pointer. I have done a disk check and a verify permissions check. Nothing really major in the logs.

I tried to boot from DVD, but the drive just spits it out. I will replace the DVD drive. But I'm not able to boot it even with the DVD unplugged.

Any ideas?

Update

Found that the issue was two fold: The new cd drive helped the machine boot properly. I was able to reinstall the OS. Also, it turns out the FireWire port is bad. I did a little search on the intertubes and found that this can be overcome by moving the .kext files out of the Extensions folder. Because this machine is going to be used by my niece and she would have no reason to use FireWire, I went ahead and moved all IOFireWire related .kext files out and the machine is now functioning properly. The only issue I noticed was a problem with a little bit of a "stutter" in the OS behavior. When opening safari, the machine will hang slightly. I've watched for the logs, but find nothing related. I might have fixed it with the upgrade to 10.6.4...

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It's become even curiouser. I cannot boot to target disk mode, and cannot boot from the USB. However, in safe mode, I can see the target disk and I can see the USB disk.

I have reset the PRAM and reset the SMC.

I have removed the ram and replaced.

Holding the option key or the T key do nothing.

I really don't want to invest 700 for a logic board.

Any thoughts?

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Sometimes you need to take it to a pro. It will cost him. Take him some coffee and cookies for the pain you're about to inflict on him. Trust me, I'm a doctors son, coffee and cookies are worth $100 in free work.

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Found that the issue was two fold:

The new cd drive helped the machine boot properly. I was able to reinstall the OS.

Also, it turns out the FireWire port is bad. I did a little search on the intertubes and found that this can be overcome by moving the .kext files out of the Extensions folder.

Because this machine is going to be used by my niece and she would have no reason to use FireWire, I went ahead and moved all IOFireWire related .kext files out and the machine is now functioning properly.

The only issue I noticed was a problem with a little bit of a "stutter" in the OS behavior. When opening safari, the machine will hang slightly. I've watched for the logs, but find nothing related. I might have fixed it with the upgrade to 10.6.4...

by

Can you' please post the above as an update so it will stand out to others with similar problems.

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Deck the Halls
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The fact that it books fine in safe mode probably means it's a software issue. You mentioned you tried to boot from DVD...is this the original restore DVD? If not, I'd try to boot from that, and do a reinstall without wiping the drive. If your optical drive is non-functional, you can put the DVD in another Mac, put that Mac in target mode, and connect it to your laptop via Firewire cable. Then boot your laptop in option mode by powering on holding down the option key, and select the restore DVD to boot from it. Actually, before you bother with that scenario, try booting up in option mode, and see if the restore DVD shows up as a bootable option. Select it, and see if it works.

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+ agreed.. Hold the "C" down when booting from the DVD.

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well, i tried to boot from the original Snow Leopard DVD (retail), but the drive just spit it back out. There's nothing wrong with the disk itself (reads fine).

I will try the target mode option to see if i need to spend the money on a new HD (although I may just buy a 7200RPM disk to swap).

After opening the MacBook Pro, I found that the HD had no "shielding" underneath. Will that effect the way the machine functions? I assume that the previous owner (it's used) replaced the drive but didn't put the other parts back...

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