A Tale Of Woe (And Lessons Learnt)

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
So, I had today off work and as the weather wasn?t very nice I decided to do some stuff on my Mac. I switched in on, went to make a drink and came back to find it still booting. Odd I thought, but eventually the desktop appeared, so I carried on as normal. A few minutes later I noticed some icons were missing, though the filenames underneath were present, so I decided to reboot to see if this would fix the problem. I went to the Apple menu to restart, but all the menu options were missing, meaning I had to hold in the on/off switch instead. Having switched the machine back on, a blinking question mark appeared, indicating the system folder couldn?t be found. I tried booting into single user mode to repair the start up volume but couldn?t, it stopped at the blinking question mark. I tried booting off the OS X disk supplied with the machine, and a Jaguar disk, but these just allowed me to reinstall the OS. I ran the disk utility which told me the disk needed repairing, but it couldn?t repair it. In the end I erased the volume and reinstalled Jaguar. After the installation a software update was performed taking it to 10.2.1. Having spent some time getting the Finder etc as I like it, I decided to reinstall some applications. The first few went okay, but the Photoshop Elements installer hung and the MOH AA installer failed with an error. In the end I erased the volume again and repeated the entire process, this time installing the applications before performing the software update, which worked.



So, here I am six hours later having learnt the following lessons:



1. Always keep a recent backup of data, but then you do that anyway, don?t you . Before this, I hadn?t experienced any problems with OS X since the public beta.

2. If things start acting strangely, copy your data before attempting to reboot the machine.

3. Try and get a bootable OS X CD. Is this possible? In the good old days you could carry a floppy around with a system, applications and data on it.

4. Reinstall applications and perform software updates in the correct sequence, and don?t customise things until all the applications have successfully installed. The move to Jaguar didn?t break the installers, but the small jump from 10.2 to 10.2.1 seemed to.

5. I hadn?t done anything unusual to cause the problem and had only recently checked the start up volume. Before shutting down the machine the previous day I had set my desktop to randomly change every five seconds, using JPEGs in a folder in my home area. It?s difficult to say if this caused the problem, but I won?t be trying it again.



Windows XP anyone?

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    jimmacjimmac Posts: 11,898member
    [quote]Originally posted by RodUK:

    <strong>So, I had today off work and as the weather wasn?t very nice I decided to do some stuff on my Mac. I switched in on, went to make a drink and came back to find it still booting. Odd I thought, but eventually the desktop appeared, so I carried on as normal. A few minutes later I noticed some icons were missing, though the filenames underneath were present, so I decided to reboot to see if this would fix the problem. I went to the Apple menu to restart, but all the menu options were missing, meaning I had to hold in the on/off switch instead. Having switched the machine back on, a blinking question mark appeared, indicating the system folder couldn?t be found. I tried booting into single user mode to repair the start up volume but couldn?t, it stopped at the blinking question mark. I tried booting off the OS X disk supplied with the machine, and a Jaguar disk, but these just allowed me to reinstall the OS. I ran the disk utility which told me the disk needed repairing, but it couldn?t repair it. In the end I erased the volume and reinstalled Jaguar. After the installation a software update was performed taking it to 10.2.1. Having spent some time getting the Finder etc as I like it, I decided to reinstall some applications. The first few went okay, but the Photoshop Elements installer hung and the MOH AA installer failed with an error. In the end I erased the volume again and repeated the entire process, this time installing the applications before performing the software update, which worked.



    So, here I am six hours later having learnt the following lessons:



    1. Always keep a recent backup of data, but then you do that anyway, don?t you . Before this, I hadn?t experienced any problems with OS X since the public beta.

    2. If things start acting strangely, copy your data before attempting to reboot the machine.

    3. Try and get a bootable OS X CD. Is this possible? In the good old days you could carry a floppy around with a system, applications and data on it.

    4. Reinstall applications and perform software updates in the correct sequence, and don?t customise things until all the applications have successfully installed. The move to Jaguar didn?t break the installers, but the small jump from 10.2 to 10.2.1 seemed to.

    5. I hadn?t done anything unusual to cause the problem and had only recently checked the start up volume. Before shutting down the machine the previous day I had set my desktop to randomly change every five seconds, using JPEGs in a folder in my home area. It?s difficult to say if this caused the problem, but I won?t be trying it again.



    Windows XP anyone?</strong><hr></blockquote>



    RodUK,



    Sorry to hear about your ugly problem ( I've been there before but not with OS X ).



    It's hard to say without knowing more about recent events on your computer what caused the problem. However I used to run my computer with the desktop changing every 5 seconds until I discovered it caused a small hiccup inthe screen saver and in games when it changed. I now have it at 5 minutes. Still I didn't experience anything like what you're talking about.



    Hope it doesn't happen again. I running with a G4 450, Radeon, 1 gig of RAM, 10.2.1
  • Reply 2 of 18
    jlljll Posts: 2,709member
    It seems that the harddisk's directory went bad.
  • Reply 3 of 18
    der kopfder kopf Posts: 2,275member
    More often than not, it's them Cupertino-grown Apples getting thoroughly depressed with your typical UK weather (and belgian, for that matter).



    In the one year that I had my pismo, I had this happen to me twice, though, admittedly, I wasn't running OS X then.



    You should try to get your hands on an app like Drive or Systemworks, which come, if I am not mistaken, with a bootable CD, and will thoroughly clean your disk. (the survival rate is good: systemworks could fix my unbootable HD one of two times when the shit came down.)



    Anyway, looks like you haven't had yourself a nice little holiday, sorry. Wearing a poppy, are you?
  • Reply 4 of 18
    [quote]Originally posted by RodUK:

    <strong>Windows XP anyone?</strong><hr></blockquote>



    No, that won't help. Sorry.
  • Reply 5 of 18
    airslufairsluf Posts: 1,861member
  • Reply 6 of 18
    I have my desktop set to 5 minutes. It only hiccups when I can sctually see the desktop changing. And the more showing, the more it slows. But when I'm fullscreen in games or DVD's or even a window covering the entire desktop, it doesn't hiccup.
  • Reply 7 of 18
    lucaluca Posts: 3,833member
    I am actually in the process of going through a possible HD problem. I restarted in OS 9 to play some UT (I have the OS X patch but it runs better in OS 9). There was an error which led me to try and force quit, which locked up the machine. I restarted, and I got the dreaded Question Mark. So I booted from my OS 9 CD and tried Disk First Aid, which found problems and apparently repaired them. When I next started up, Disk First Aid on startup told me that my HD had irreperable problems and that I should backup my data immediately. That sure scared me. So I whipped out the brand new CDs and decided to use my new burner for the first time. Unfortunately, two coasters in a row made me less confident of my abilities at burning, at least in OS 9. Nervously, I booted into OS X, and everything is working now! I am still shaken, however, and I think I will now instate a new backup plan - instead of selling my 40 GB hard drive and having only the 80 GB one I got to replace it, I'll have both drives in the computer, with the 40 GB one mirroring the 80 GB one (is there a utility to do this?), or at least for keeping my large files like MP3s and disk images.



    I will definitely keep a backup schedule, if only once a month or so (to CDRWs, unless I keep the HD and decide to use that). I don't have a business and my stuff isn't critical to my existence, so I don't feel like spending a ton of money on it, but backing up still seems important to me now. I think it takes something like this to convince you - like how you have to get burned by the stove before you learn not to touch it.
  • Reply 8 of 18
    Oh shit.



    What does it mean if your system settings start randomly and spontaneously re-setting and every time you launch iTunes and Mail it's as if you're launching them for the first time?



    I'm worried. This has happened to me once a day for three days now. It's never happened before. Is this a hardware thing? I have a first iteration TiBook. Should I do some precautionary insuring?



    [ 11-09-2002: Message edited by: Hassan i Sabbah ]</p>
  • Reply 9 of 18
    lucaluca Posts: 3,833member
    I'm not sure what that means, but I would suggest backing up your data. When the sh*t hits the fan, you want to be wearing a poncho.
  • Reply 10 of 18
    [quote]Originally posted by Luca Rescigno:

    <strong>I am actually in the process of going through a possible HD problem. I restarted in OS 9 to play some UT (I have the OS X patch but it runs better in OS 9). There was an error which led me to try and force quit, which locked up the machine. I restarted, and I got the dreaded Question Mark. So I booted from my OS 9 CD and tried Disk First Aid, which found problems and apparently repaired them. When I next started up, Disk First Aid on startup told me that my HD had irreperable problems and that I should backup my data immediately. That sure scared me. So I whipped out the brand new CDs and decided to use my new burner for the first time. Unfortunately, two coasters in a row made me less confident of my abilities at burning, at least in OS 9. Nervously, I booted into OS X, and everything is working now! I am still shaken...</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Watch out, I had something similar happen to me with my iMac DV 400. Couldn't boot into OS 9 at all; it would invariably get the flashing question mark. Ran DiskRepair, TechTools, et al in multiple attempts to repair the problem, all to no avail. I eventually backed-up the entire HDD to CD-R and reformatted the drive. Now it seems to work fine, although I had a Hell of a time getting Jag to install; wouldn't do it if I tried partioning the drive, which is what I wanted to do.



    Anyways, be careful.



    (tig)
  • Reply 11 of 18
    [quote]Originally posted by Hassan i Sabbah:

    <strong>Oh shit.



    What does it mean if your system settings start randomly and spontaneously re-setting and every time you launch iTunes and Mail it's as if you're launching them for the first time?



    I'm worried. This has happened to me once a day for three days now. It's never happened before. Is this a hardware thing? I have a first iteration TiBook. Should I do some precautionary insuring?



    [ 11-09-2002: Message edited by: Hassan i Sabbah ]</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Standard reply: trash the relevant preferences, and try it again. If that doesn't work, then delete offending apps and reinstall them.



    (tig)
  • Reply 12 of 18
    bartobarto Posts: 2,246member
    Some tales of woe of my own:



    I bought a 40GB western digital (BB). It worked for a week, from then on X would freeze after a few minutes (the drive would spin for a few seconds every few minutes).



    I took it back to where I bought it, the next day collected a new drive.



    Put it back, my files are all there! How nice, they duplicated my old disk.



    Hang on, same problem. *checks serial number* DUMBASSES! Gave me back the old disk. Went back and got a really new disk (finally).



    ---------------



    I took my Radeon out of my G4 400 (same machine) to see if the heatsink was big enough to fit a fan I had recently aquired. It wasn't, I placed it back in the machine and booted. Black screen. Take it out, look at the card. Melted. In several places (all around capacitors).



    Always disconnect the motherboard power before fiddling.



    Put Rage 128 in machine. Happy Mac, then a black screen. Mac OS 9 boots, every Mac OS X CD/install does the happy mac then black thang.



    Install Mac OS 9. Reboot, freezes when ATi extensions are loaded. Remove ATi extensions from 9, then later X. Both now work unaccelerated.



    ----------------



    I changed the short-name of my admin account in NetInfo. Knowing more about NetInfo, I would have realised that this would de-admin the account.



    Learn how to use niutil (cli access to netinfo), reboot into single-user mode.



    niutil -createprop . /groups/admin users barto

    niutil -createprop . /users/barto gid 80



    ---------------



    We learn from our mistakes....



    Barto
  • Reply 13 of 18
    [quote]Originally posted by Barto:

    <strong>

    Always disconnect the motherboard power before fiddling.

    </strong><hr></blockquote>



    Might I suggest an ESD (electro-static discharge) strap as well?



    [quote]Originally posted by Barto:

    <strong>

    We learn from our mistakes....

    </strong><hr></blockquote>



    Speak for yourself.



    (tig)



    [ 11-09-2002: Message edited by: The Grimace ]</p>
  • Reply 14 of 18
    bartobarto Posts: 2,246member
    I had grounded myself (touch the PCI slots).



    Barto
  • Reply 15 of 18
    [quote]Originally posted by Barto:

    <strong>I had grounded myself (touch the PCI slots).



    Barto</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Not sure that would do it. Whenever I 'need' to dink around with my PC, if I can't find my strap, I make sure I lean against the case. By touching a PCI slot you may still arc; too much plastic, at least on my mobo. Also, by completeing the circuit with a part of the mobo instead of the case, you risk discharging into the mobo, which could cause damage. 'Course, I ain't no engineer, just a hobbyist (although I have taken a class or two in electronics), so I could be way off.



    (tig)
  • Reply 16 of 18
    bartobarto Posts: 2,246member
    I'm just repeating my trusty (when followed) Apple manual dude.



    Barto
  • Reply 17 of 18
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,038member
    BTW, it's "lesson's LEARNED". Not "Learnt."
  • Reply 18 of 18
    [quote]Originally posted by SDW2001:

    <strong>BTW, it's "lesson's LEARNED". Not "Learnt."</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Sheesh. If you're going to be a pedant, at least look it up:



    <a href="http://www.dictionary.com/search?q=Learnt"; target="_blank">http://www.dictionary.com/search?q=Learnt</a>;



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