Troubleshoot Mac Startup Problems

Most of you might probably think that your Mac is trouble-free and would even work day after day without complaint. Of course, it is proven that many of them are lucky enough to go for years without running into any problems that keep our Mac from starting up. Nevertheless, as time rolls on even your everlasting Mac machines would refuse to finish booting! It can be a disaster, especially if it happens when you are working against a deadline.

Here in this page we have gathered some of the best tips for getting your Mac working again. Some of the tips address specific types of problems; some are more general in nature. And some tips, are designed to help you prepare for problems in advance, rather than actually diagnose them. Read further to know those ways / tips to troubleshoot your Mac startup problems.

Note: Before starting the troubleshooting process, you will have to take the backup of your data.

Check for corrupt peripherals:

Sometimes you might encounter gray screen problem as soon as you start or restart your Mac. The problem is characterized by the display changing from blue screen that occurs at power up to a gray screen. One of the main reasons for this is the presence of corrupt peripherals.

To fix these gray screen problems, first disconnect All External Peripherals on your Mac; Start the process by turning your Mac off. You will need to press and hold your Mac's power button and force shut down your Mac. Disconnect all of your Mac's peripherals, except the keyboard, mouse, and display. Be sure to disconnect any Ethernet cable, audio in or out cables, headphones, etc. and then start your Mac. If it starts successfully then it’s the problem with the peripherals, change the one that is corrupt.

Try to Safe Boot your Mac

The Safe Boot option is one of the most commonly used methods for diagnosing problems. It basically forces the Mac to start using the fewest possible system extensions, fonts, and other startup items. It also checks your startup drive to ensure that it's in good shape, or at least bootable. To start the Safe boot operations follow;

  • Restart your Mac
  • Immediately after the startup ring, just press and hold the Shift key
  • Once the gray Apple symbol and progress indicator appear, release the Shift key
  • Startup might take noticeably longer than the normal one
  • In Mac OS 10.4 or later, you will have to login to your account, even if it normally does so automatically

To return to a normal boot, simply restart your Mac without holding any keys. Generally, since the directory check occurs during the gray startup screen, you can reboot immediately after logging in.

The Mac's Blue Screen of Death

It’s not really the same blue screen of death that the one faced by Windows users, but it's not exactly a proper start up, either.

If your Mac shows the blue screen, you can actually make out the possible problems behind this. To get the blue screen, your Mac has to power up, run its basic self-test and perform check to ensure that the expected startup drive is available. Then it starts to load data from the startup drive. This is where it got stuck, which means your Mac is in good condition overall, but your startup drive may have some problems. To get rid of these you can try removing or replacing the startup drive. If this doesn’t work then consider taking the startup drive to the professional to repair it.

Resetting PRAM

When all the above mentioned steps or tips don’t work you can reset the PRAM and fix the issues. To do these just follow these steps:

  • Turn off your laptop completely. Press and hold the power button until you receive a command prompt
  • Then quickly press and hold the four keys: "Command”, "Option", "P" and "R" simultaneously
  • Press and hold these keys until you see a gray screen
  • Finally, when you hear the second startup chime release all the keys
  • Now, your Mac will finish the startup process

Once your Mac finishes starting, you can use the System Preferences to set the time zone, select the startup volume, set the date and time, and configure any display options you wish to use.

Try Using the Disk Utility:

  • You can start the process with Recovery System or Internet Recovery process (for Mac OS X Lion and Mountain Lion). If your Mac has the Install disk then insert the disk and restart your Mac holding the key “C
  • If you are using Recovery partition or Internet Recovery (OS X Lion and later): When your computer finishes starting up, then from the “Utilities” window -> choose “Disk Utility”. If you use Instillation disc: Choose “Disk Utility” from the “Installer” menu

Note: If you are using the disc, do not click “Continue” in the first screen of the Installer. If you do, you must start from the disc again to access Disk Utility.

  • Click the “First Aid” tab and then hit the Disclosure triangle that is to the left of the hard drive icon, this displays the names of your hard disk Volumes and partitions
  • Now select your OS X Volume and click “Repair
  • Disk Utility checks the disk  and repairs it

Tip: With Mac OS X v10.6 and earlier, always start up your Mac machine from an Install or Restore disc when using Disk Utility to verify or repair your startup volume. Otherwise, you might see some disk error messages.

These are the basic an important tips to be performed while troubleshooting the Mac startup issues. Actually resetting the PRAM will bring back your Mac to its initial condition. That is all the settings and your data will be erased completely. Even the Startup drive repair will erase your data. In such cases if you lose your data from Mac just make use of the Remo Recover Mac software and get them back. This software is the best one in order to perform Macintosh file recovery. However, be careful while selecting any option in the process of fixing the issues.

Troubleshoot Mac Startup Problems was last modified: September 14th, 2016 by Tony Landry

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