New-to-me iMac with display and boot issues.

This machine sat unused for about a year. The previous user had "tried to fix it", but I have no idea what he did or what problems he was trying to fix.

My experience; First boot got to a login screen and there was obviously something wrong with the display. It's hard to describe, but the splash screen showed random flickers and the color/contrast was obviously off. I didn't have the keyboard handy, so only the mouse (from another PC) was plugged in. I have no passwords, but thought that I could get into the guest account. Unfortunately, the only guest account was "guest1" and password protected. I noticed that the machine is running OS X, though I have no idea which version, as I couldn't log in.

After the first 2-3 boots, the machine seemed to run into more problems. Sometimes, after a soft-reset, the machine wouldn't get to the login screen. Instead, I would see a black screen and after approx. 20 seconds, the fan would go to high speed and the machine appeared stuck. Display problems persisted. After getting an Apple wireless keyboard, I tried "zapping the PRAM"and booting into single-user mode to bypass the login (with varying degrees of success, none of which got me to desktop.) I then resigned myself to fixing the display and boot issues.

Using the guides here, I opened the case to check for obvious hardware issues. Employing the typical precautions, I carefully checked for "bad caps" and LED status lights. LED status showed nothing out of sorts and I could find no "bad caps". I ran fsck from a "command t" prompt and the machine reported HD was ok. In my admittedly ignorant assessment, the computer seems physically healthy.

What can I try next?

Thanks in advance.

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Thanks for the reply.

mayer, I did have something like that in mind. I was worried about the fact that the machine can't/won't reliably boot. Fortunately, there is nothing on the HD that I really want or need. Save for the OS, or course.

Can you, or anyone else, provide feedback as to the root of the other problems, specifically the video/display issue? Does this machine seem to be suffering solely from software maladies?

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Call Apple up and get an original system installation disk, $15, have your serial number and a credit card ready when calling. http://support.apple.com/kb/HE57

After you have an install disk you will be able to remove the password and run diagnostics by starting up and holding down the "D" key.

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This model had problems with bad caps (recall now closed) and vertical strips on the screen (which they were still fixing for free this summer).

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Thanks for the reply.

I was able to successfully boot into safe mode, rather easily too. I then went through the new user creation process and got to desktop. Display problems, of course, remain. I will probably be following a guide here to replace capacitors, or at least assess whether or not I'm ready to go that route, as that seems the root of the display issues.

I'll dig around the installed programs to see if there is anything to "fix" the HDD, as I believe there must still be something wrong, before I attempt to boot normally. If all else fails, I'll try the borrowed Diskwarrior DVD.

Apparently, the wireless internet radio is disabled in safe mode, which is making things slightly more difficult. But progress is progress and even this bit should help diagnose the boot issue.

Thanks for the help.

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All you've told us is that you have video issues, no discussion of the actual symptoms.

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Thanks mayer. In my original post, I mentioned the boot issues. I also mentioned that the video issues would be taking a back seat to the boot problem. It's now clear to me that I will have to go elsewhere for a solution to the video/display issue. However, your suggestion of using a disk to diagnose the machine seemed to imply that I wasn't communicating how severe the boot problem was. Should I start a new thread for the boot problem?

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With the system installation disk from Apple, you first boot from it, you can then repair the hard drive or install new system. Is that clear?

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