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iMac (early 2008) Boot Problems
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<aasteve>
posted
Hi,

I have an early iMac 2008 24" with a 1TB drive which I am trying to bring back to life. It was running Mavericks 10.9.5 successfully, then I tried updating to El Capitan. After installing, I only got as far as a blurry El Cap background on screen but no login accounts came up. That's as far as I can get.

I then reset the NVRAM and I booted to recovery mode, but had no internet connection. I connected to a hardwire connection and retried recovery mode, but then only got the Apple logo with progress bar about 5% complete, then went to grey screen. This behavior is consistent now when I try to boot to recovery mode where I get the 5% progress bar and then a grey screen.

Now, when I try to boot from the internal hard drive, I still get stuck at blurry El Cap screen. Have tried to put the Machine into target disk mode, but command is ignored. I also cannot boot to safe mode. I cannot boot to internet recovery mode (command is ignored) either.

Interestingly, I had an old Snow Leopard install DVD, and booted from it. Here, I can get to the deep space screen but also no log-in accounts come up and I can get no farther. (It seems like the equivalent place I get stopped on the El Cap boot from the internal hard drive)

I also created an El Cap USB installer and tried to boot from it, but the iMac ignores that too.

Any ideas of what can be going on here (and cost to fix if a hardware issue)? I was thinking perhaps a bad hard drive, but the Snow Leopard DVD makes me wonder about that. I have seen some things on-line about the battery for the NVRAM but have no idea if that has merit and how hard it is to fix.
 
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Poobah
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Sounds likes you need to try and install Snow Leopard/10.6 via the Erase and Install method. If that works, then the issue probably isn't Hardware related.

The early 2008 24" iMac model can handle El Capitan/10.11.6 easily. Since this model shipped with 2gb of RAM, it means that install is possible. I would suggest to you bumping the memory up to 4gb for a better experience. 3rd party sources show you can pair a 4gb and 2gb to achieve a total of 6gb of RAM, but I have never found any true advantage in this setup. 10.9 and up have stricter requirements on the memory then older OS's.

If the issue IS Hardware related, I would look at the Hard Drive first, Memory and then the MLB (Main Logic Board) last. This model is on Apple's Obsolete list so service thru an Apple store is not an option. MacProfessionals in Farmington Hills might be a good choice for help still.

Don't put in anything higher than a 1TB HD as the heat produced can cause overheating and shorten the life of the HD. On the back of the iMac, just above where you plug in the power cord, check and see if the vent port there is clogged with debris/dust bunnies. If it is, then your HD may be toast. The vent is for the HD cooling fan to pull in air.

Let us know your results!


Dave McGuire
President - MacGroup Detroit

"What if the Hokey Pokey really IS what it's all about?"
 
Posts: 2101 | Location: Orion Twp, Michigan | Registered: July 25, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
<aasteve>
posted
Hi Dave,

Thanks for the fast and helpful reply. I can rule out a couple of scenarios you've mentioned...

First, the Snow Leopard install DVD doesn't let me get to the installer screen. It hangs with the deep space screen short of anything popping up.

Also, I already have 4 GB of RAM on board, so that should not be a problem with El Cap. And the air vent looks fine.

I wondered about the hard drive going bad, but why would the install of El Cap seemingly bring on that problem when it was not an issue before? I suppose it could be coincidence, but I was thinking that makes the hard drive problem seem less likely.

Given this, would you still think replacing the hard drive it choice #1? Anything else it could possibly be?

Thanks...
--Steve
 
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Poobah
Picture of Dave
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Based on what you have described.... I would suspect the Hard Drive first and foremost. El Capitan did not kill your HD, just bad timing.

Since you can't get Snow Leopard to install or be recognized fully, I believe replacing the HD should get you back up and running.

For everyone else reading this, please realize that this will require sinking $150-200 into an 8 year old computer. I would strongly suggest putting that money towards a new or newer system. It just makes more sense in the long run.


Dave McGuire
President - MacGroup Detroit

"What if the Hokey Pokey really IS what it's all about?"
 
Posts: 2101 | Location: Orion Twp, Michigan | Registered: July 25, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
<aasteve>
posted
Hi,

Thanks -- this was the main struggle that I was having -- that $150-$200 might not be worth it for an 8-year old machine with a bad monitor.

Fortunately, the problem wasn't anything I had mentioned. I took it up to the Apple Store anyway in the hopes of getting a diagnostic to confirm the hard drive trouble, and turns out the machine was totally fine. What was happening was that in the upgrade to El Cap, that an OS default setting had changed and the monitor was which showing was an extended desktop instead of display mirroring to the main screen (which is what I needed given the bad primary monitor). A simple cmd-F1 toogled the screen and took care of it!

Now to figure out how to manage this newfound iMac....probably going to set it up as a OS server, so I might have questions about that for another thread!

Thanks, Dave, for all of the help,
--Steve
 
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