Stuck on grey screen after boot, Disk Utility says HD is OK

Today my 2010 Macbook Pro 13" running Lion suddenly stopped booting up and remained stuck on the Apple logo and spinning wheel indefinitely. It does not even go to the login screen (but does in certain circumstances as I will detail below)

Here is a list of things I have tried already!

Hold Shift to boot into safe mode:

The progress bar goes about halfway and then stops and goes back to the spinning wheel again.

Hold Cmd and R to go to Disk Utility:

In the Disk Utility I repaired and verified permissions and the disk and the results come up as OK.

Hold Option to select drive:

When I do this, and select Macintosh HD, it takes me to the login screen and I can enter my password, however upon doing so it brings me to a crashed Chrome, which gives me the option to Restore previous tabs. Nothing else loads and a grey screen remains in the background. No dock or desktop or Finder appears or works. I can get into System Preferences, however I can't connect to my Wifi network even though it is detected. I can connect to Wifi when I am in the Cmd and R Disk Utility mode though.

Resetting PRAM/NVRAM and SMC:

I have tried these and none of them make any difference to the problem.

I would appreciate it if anyone else has any ideas I could try.

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PROBLEM SOLVED!

My new Hard Drive Cable complete with IR sensor arrived this morning, I installed it and it worked right away, anyone reading this, save yourself the heartache and just replace your HDD Cable! Thanks for all your help Dan.

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Groove Q - You should post your own question as your system is very different that this one.

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You'll need to boot under your recover DVD in order to run disk utility again from the DVD to fix the boot sectors and any format corruptions.

Do you have a good backup? if not get an external HD of equal or bigger size than your internal (firewire is best) and after booting from the DVD you should be able to copy your current files from your HD over to the external HD (do a full copy by dragging the HD icon over to the external HD). Once your backup'ed you could try reformatting the internal HD and then install a new copy of OS-X on the HD then copy back your files using the migration tool to restore from the external HD backup.

Don't forget to run 'Software Update' before recovering your files so all of the security updates are on your system first. As of late Mac has been hit with some malware attacks, it's now time to start being more aggressive running anti-virus (malware) software. Make sure you are and your files are OK.

At this point you should be OK

You still may have problems with Chrome after restoring as it appears it's files are corrupted. Delete the App library files under the user account and you may also need to re-install the app it's self.

I would recommend creating a few different user accounts, use one everyday and one just in case (admin) just make sure this one has a password that you won't forget. Use this admin account when you get into trouble.

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Thanks, this post was really helpful.

So here's where I'm at, I don't have a recover DVD as I got Lion online, but I tried to download the Lion Recovery Assistant on another iMac to add it to a USB and try go from there, but because this iMac runs Leopard, the installer won't even run. I obviously can't run it from my MBP, or make a bootable USB/DVD, because my MBP doesn't work.

On the iMac I downloaded the install app for Lion.

I captured the .dmg file from the install Lion.app, and put this on a USB and tried to boot with that to do a clean install. It seems to work up to a point...then I get an error that it can't install additional components needed.

I'm certain this isn't a network issue, I'm connected to Wifi fine. In other searches for my issue, people suggested removing 2gb of the RAM from the motherboard, which supossedly makes it install without the additional components error, but this doesn't appear to help me.

At a bit of a loss now...

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Ouch!

Can you create a bootable disk (CD or DVD) from the other system's Leopard OS-X so you can run disk utility from it (the older version will do the job).

The other option here take your external drive to an Apple Store (if you can) and making a Lion bootable external HD. When you get back home boot up under the external HD to make repairs on your internal and while your there make a bootable Lion DVD.

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Ok I'm really at my wits end now!

So I ordered a new hard drive thinking this could solve my problem...my MBP did not even recognise it. Looking at other peoples problems in this area and after checking both new and old hard drive in other machines in an external enclosure, this leads me to believe the hard drive cable is the culprit, so I've ordered a new one of those too....

HOWEVER!

I got my friend to install Lion on an external hard drive so I can just boot off that in the meantime, BUT, the MBP doesn't even recognise that drive, even though it's nothing to do with bad internal HDD or cable, as it is plugged in via USB. Disk Utility in Mac OS X Utilities recogises a 4GB USB stick plugged in, yet not the external bootable Lion disk, or indeed the blank new hard drive! Please, please, please, help me get what I want! This is crazy for a 2 year old MacBook Pro!

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To further clarify, the 4GB USB has Lion Recovery Assistant, I can only get into the Utilities booting with this. I tried booting with just this and not the external Lion disk...and THEN in Disk Utility if I plug the external in, it shows up...when I then choose to Restart with this as the Startup Disk...nothing. Grey screen.

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Sorry to hear things haven't gotten better ;-{ What Mac does your friend have? Is it possible the external HD he prepped for you is missing what your system needs? In the OS install you can click a arrow widget to get to additional drivers did he not click it or maybe in his installation he did so, so his OS it's missing these needed files? I suspect this is also true with the recovery USB drive. Can you go back to your other iMac (Snow Leopard) and copy it's OS to the external HD (drag copy) and then test it on this iMac to see if it will startup under it. If you can get that far on the SL iMac copy over the SL disk utility to the ext HD and then get your MBP to boot up under the ext HD and then use the SL disk utility to check your HD out. Don't forget to make a copy of your files as you may loose some in the repair process or may need to do a full reformat of the internal HD.

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