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Old Jun 17th, 2005, 11:54 AM   #1
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Unhappy AHH G4 is seriously messing up!

Hello, here's the situation:

My computer was starting to act a little funny lately (pretty frequent crashes, applications not responding, and even a couple of kernal panics), but I haven't had the time to properly back everything up and do a fresh install (at which point I was planning on moving to Tiger). Finally, just as I was finishing a Flash MX project, my comp froze again. I tought, "Well, Maybe I should just run TechTool Pro 4 to see if it can fix these annoying crashes until I can properly re-install."

No such luck. After running a battery of tests, TTP had fixed some small errors, but said that it couldn't fix some others. I decided to de-frag my HD in the hopes that maybe it would stop SOME of the problems. I should note that all of this was done while booted off of the TTP CD. At the end of de-fragging my HD, the app froze-up, and I was forced to hard reset the comp.

When it had finished booting, I had to type in my log & pass before seeing my desktop, my dock was different, none of my applications were serialised, and my modem icon was missing from the menu bar. This obviously told me something was wrong with my prefs. I opened System Prefs and told it to automatically log me in, and restored some other settings. Upon restarting, I still had to log-in. This rang an alarm bell for me, so I popped in my Tiger DVD, and proceeded to install in on another internal HD.

After Tiger was on my 2nd HD, I STILL had to "login" upon restarting, despite the settings I had in Sys. Prefs. Uh oh... now my fresh OS intall was screwing with me. I restarted into 10.3.9 on my main HD, and continued to trouble-shoot. I trashed all my prefs to no avail.

Now I can't set my startup disk to 10.4 on "Medial Drive" (my 2nd HD). It sees the system folder and allows me to select it, but when I tell it to restart it just beeps at me in defiance.

Short of wiping my entire HD and starting fresh, what can I do? I can't erase everything right now, because Toast won't allow me to enter a SN so that I can backup important info to DVDs, and my other 3 HDs are full with video from an unfinished FCP project.

I feel like I'm stuck in a very nasty place right now. Can anybody help me?

Thanks in advance.
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Old Jun 17th, 2005, 12:45 PM   #2
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Can you transfer the info onto your PB via target mode and a firewire cable?
Have an ipod?
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Old Jun 17th, 2005, 01:38 PM   #3
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Email me since it's easier but if you have a blank drive or partition try this

Do a complete Tiger install on a fresh volume.

Then use the built in transfer to bring your stuff over from the the damaged system.



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Old Jun 18th, 2005, 03:56 PM   #4
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Thanks for the advice!

I ended up borrowing my father's FireWire backup drive, and used CarbonCopyCloner to backup my bad HD. Then I erased and did a fresh Tiger install on my main HD.

The problem of the login window coming up is still here though! I checked my Sys.Prefs. and the option "Automatically login as Ivan" is checked. I even created a 2nd account, restarted, then deleted the 2nd account and restarted again to no avail.

Am I missing something really basic here?

Also, FinalCutPro 4.5 (HD) is no longer working. I can't see any of my video! I upgraded to QT Pro, and downloaded 10.4.1 (a laborious task on dial-up), but still no video. I am currently downloading "Pro Application Support 3.0", "QT 7.0.1", and "Apple Intermediate Codec 1.0.1" in the hopes that this might fix it. Is this all in vein? Do I need to buy FCP 5 in order to run Tiger?

If so, I'll forget this whole upgrade thing and go back to 10.3. Thanks again.
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Last edited by Suite Edit; Jun 18th, 2005 at 03:59 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old Jun 18th, 2005, 04:53 PM   #5
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I heard a dying PRAM battery can cause weird preferences problems. Is your Date and Time affected?
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Old Jun 18th, 2005, 05:49 PM   #6
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When you say fresh - you mean archive and install??

Never mind - you erased.



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Old Jun 18th, 2005, 06:00 PM   #7
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Yeah, not only erased, but a secure erase with TechTool Pro... it wrote "0"s over the whole drive (with no errors)...
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Old Jun 18th, 2005, 06:10 PM   #8
 
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First of all, use DiskWarrior (version 3.0.3 is the most current version) as well as Disk Utility.

Do not use TechTool Pro version 4.0.4 unless you thoroughly read the manual Many users have reported completely losing data as a result of using TechTool Pro. Read more here:
http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/mo...&mode=feedback

DiskWarrior info and feedback:
http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/19441

Question: Did you perform any regular maintenance on your drive by using Disk Utility to "repair permissions" and "repair the drive"?

Second:
You said you were experiencing problems but were waiting until you could do a clean install. You should always at least run Disk Utility to "repair permissions" and "repair the drive" at the first sign of anything acting funny. Waiting can only making something easily repairable turn into something much more complicated.

Third:
You do not need to defragment OS X. Panther and Tiger automatically defragment files you open so long as they are 20MB or less.* If the majority of your files fit this size limit, you will not likely need a third-party optimizer.

"It is important to bear in mind the distinction between defragmentation and optimization. A file as it's created or modified can be broken into pieces when it's written to the disk. Each piece is referred to as a file fragment. Fragmented files can slow system performance by causing the system to have to seek and find each piece of a file when it's loaded. Mac OS 10.3.X will automatically defragment some files in the background.

Optimization of disk performance is different from defragmentation in that optimization moves often-used files to sections of the hard drive which can be accessed faster than other parts. Mac OS 10.3.X does not optimize hard drives, although several 3rd party programs will attempt to perform such optimization. Apple believes that such optimization is not necessary due to improvements in the way files are read from and written to the hard drive."

Fourth:
>so I popped in my Tiger DVD, and proceeded to install in on another internal HD.

I assume you have your "Hard Drive" partitioned into more than one volume and that you do not literally have more than one internal hard drive... am I mistaken? Computers come with one hard drive that can be partitioned into more than one volume - unless you have literally, physically installed a second hard drive inside your computer..

Fifth:
I see no evidence that you used Disk Utility to repair your drive. Do this first by starting up form the Tiger install disk and going to the menu bar and going to Disk Utility instead of launching the Tiger Installer.
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Old Jun 18th, 2005, 06:11 PM   #9
 
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20 Troubleshooting Steps for OS X

So your OS X Mac isn't working quite right. What should you do? Here's a list of 20 basic steps to try.

FIRST AID
01 Restart
02 Check/fix the filesystem
03 Make sure you're not running out of free space on the System volume
04 Repair permissions
05 Create a new user account, and see if the problem persists there
06 Clear system & user caches
07 Disable Application Enhancer, if you're running it
08 Startup in SafeBoot mode, and see if the problem persists there
09 Reset system firmware
10 Unplug all USB, Firewire devices except Apple mouse

MORE SERIOUS TROUBLESHOOTING 11 Reapply the latest combo updater
12 Run the Apple hardware diagnostic CD
13 Check the hard drive for bad blocks
14 Take out 3rd party RAM
15 Unplug 3rd Party PCI cards
16 Reset PMU
17 Archive and reinstall the OS
18 Reinstall the system from scratch
19 Send the machine back to Apple
20 Additional Notes

Read the rest of the hint for more detail on each of these steps...

FIRST AID

01 Restart
If a restart cures the problem, and the problem doesn't reappear, your troubleshooting work is done. Congratulate yourself on a hard task well done. 02 Check/fix the filesystem
There are many different ways to do this. You can boot off the OS X Installation CD, run Disk Utility, and select Repair Disk. If you don't have access to the CD, you can also run the UNIX command fsck from the Terminal in Single User Mode. The specific sequence of how to do this varies depending on what version of OS X you're running. Go to Apple Support for specific instuctions.

Disk Utility will report back whether or not there were any problems, and whether or not it could fix any problems. If it is unable to fix a problem, then you need to get a 3rd party utility, or reformat the disk before doing any other troubleshooting. NOTE: reformatting the disk will erase it, so a 3rd party utility is usually a better idea.

You can also use a 3rd party utility like DiskWarrior or Norton Disk Doctor These 3rd party utilities can fix some kinds of errors that the free Apple tools cannot. (But don't ever install the Norton components on your hard drive - just run the tools by booting off the Norton CD.)

If there were errors that needed to be fixed, and your software reports that they were all successfully fixed, you may have solved your larger problem.

03 Make sure you're not running out of free space on the System volume
When the system is running out of memory, it needs to write swapfiles to your hard drive. If your hard drive is already almost full, then the system will bog down into unusability. Keep tabs on how much free space you have on your boot disk by getting info on that disk in the Finder. Alternatively, you can use the excellent freeware DiskSpace application, which will give you a display of free space on your menubar.

You should have at *least* 500MB to 1GB of free space at all times. Realistically you would want more than that, especially if you plan on burning CD/DVD's. Remember that even if you have more free space than this when you first booted, swapfiles can eat up diskspace quickly - 2GB or more of swapfiles is not unheard of. So it's a good idea to have at least 3GB of free space immediately after booting.

To fix: trash unneeded files and applications off of your System volume to free space. And try to create fewer swapfiles by adding more RAM or running fewer applications simultaneously. Restarting will temporarily get rid of all swapfiles, but they'll come back.

04 Repair permissions
Run this in Disk Utility in your normal login. Open Disk Utility in the Applications/Utilities folder. Select the boot drive (probably "Macintosh HD"), click on the First Aid tab and click the Repair Permissions button. See if this cures the problem.

05 Create a new user account, and see if the problem persists there
You do this by creating a new user in the Accounts tab of System Preferences, logging out of your main account, and logging into the new account. If this makes the problem go away, it means the cause is in your user account.

While it's good that we know approximately where the problem is, unfortunately there's a lot of stuff in the user account to pick through. And now you will have to do some serious troubleshooting. Oftentimes, this will be a preferences file in ~/Library/Preferences/. If you can pinpoint that one bad file, you're done. If you have no idea what's going on you can try the laborious process of keeping that new account you made, and bringing over the files one by one until you find the one that was the problem. Even easier is to ask an expert if it's a frequently seen problem, first letting them know that it was a problem in your user account.

06 Clear system & user caches
Use a third party tool like Cocktail or Jaguar/Panther Cache Cleaner to deep clean all caches. Reboot. See if this cures the problem.

07 Disable Application Enhancer, if you're running it
Haxies from Unsanity. They're great, and they're pretty well programmed, but they're hacking the system in non-standard ways. Unsanity claims that APE will be disabled by holding down the shift key while logging in. However, if you want to be ultra-safe about it, download the APE installer from Unsanity and use the 'uninstaller' option to remove all traces.

08 Startup in SafeBoot mode, and see if the problem persists there
You do this by holding down the shift key during bootup. If this makes the problem disappear, then it is a problem with Extensions or StartupItems. And most likely, those would be 3rd party Extensions or StartupItems. Most of those are kept in /Library/Extensions/ and /Library/StartupItem/. Move those items to the desktop, and see if you can isolate which one was causing the trouble. There are also some 3rd party extensions that are *annoyingly* installed in /System/Library/Extension/, however you must be very very careful mucking around in there, as almost all of those Extensions are supplied by Apple, and your machine will not function without them. Use common sense, and ask the experts.

09 Reset Firmware
Resetting your firmware will reset all firmware settings back to factory defaults. Things like the boot rom, power management, etc. are found in the firmware. To do this hold down the following buttons on your keyboard at boot up: cmd+opt+O+F. Once in open firmware type these commands:
reset-nvram (hit return)
reset-all (hit return once more, the system should reboot)

10 Unplug all USB, Firewire devices except Apple mouse
Reboot with everything unplugged. If this makes the problem go away, then you have a bad external device, bad cable, or bad port on your computer. Try to isolate which one it is. Be especially wary of USB hubs.

MORE SERIOUS TROUBLESHOOTING

11 Reapply the latest combo updater
Download the latest OS X updater from Apple. These updaters come in 2 flavors, an updater which will only update the next most recent version of the OS, and a combo updater, which will update all versions since the last paid update. You want the combo updater. It will be labeled as the combo updater, and it will be much larger than the normal updaters - around 80MB at this time. Find the updater on Apply the updater, even if your system version number is already up to date. See if this cures the problem.

12 Run the Apple hardware diagnostic CD
Boot off the CD by restarting while holding down the C key on the keyboard. See if you get any useful information.

13 Check the hard drive for bad blocks
One way of doing this is to try to re-initialize your drive using Drive Setup from the OS X Installation disk. Unfortunately, this will wipe out all of your data, so back up first, if that's the route you go. If the initialization fails, your disk is worthless garbage and must be replaced.

You can use the TechTool Deluxe CD that came with the Apple Protection Plan to check for bad blocks. Norton Disk Doctor will also allow you to test for bad blocks without erasing your disk using the Check Media option. Other 3rd party disk utilities may allow this as well. Hearing odd noises coming from your drive is a tip-off that this may be your trouble.

14 Take out 3rd party RAM
See if this cures the problem.

15 Unplug 3rd Party PCI cards
If this solves the problem, replace the cards one by one until you identify the problematic card. Contact the manufacturer to see if updated drivers are available.

16 Reset PMU
The PMU's (Power Management Unit's) location, and how to reset it, varies by machine. Go to Apple Support to find out how to do it for your particular machine. See if this cures the problem. Typically this will fix issues when your system will not power on.

Make sure you only hold in the PMU button for a second. DO NOT hold it in for any longer and DO NOT press it more than once. If you do this it could result in corrupting the PMU itself.

17 Archive and Install OS X
This will archive user/network settings and replace your current system folder with a new one. Boot off your OS X cd and run through the install as normal. Once you get to the screen where you select which hard drive you want to put the OS on there should be an options button under the hard drive. Select it and then select the archive and reinstall button. Then proceed through the install as normal. This may or may not fix your problem, and it can save you time from copying back ups back over, resetting user preferences, and reinstalling applications.
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Old Jun 18th, 2005, 06:12 PM   #10
 
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18 Reinstall the system from scratch
This step is annoying and time consuming, which is why we've saved it for second to last. It requires erasing your hard drive, so you'll have to either back up, or lose, all of your data. Apple's instructions for doing this can be found here.

19 Send the machine back to Apple
This step is very annoying, very time-consuming, and if the machine is out of warranty, can be very very expensive. So try a couple of the other steps first. Call Apple Support to arrange a pickup or locate an an Apple Authorized Service Provider by clicking here (for the USA; this article explains what to do in other countries.

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

20 Additional Notes

Uninstall Norton Products if you've installed them
Norton Utilities, Anti-Virus, and SystemWorks are hazardous to the health of your OS X system when installed. It's perfectly safe to run Norton Utilities booted off a CD or OS 9 volume, but you should seriously consider unistalling them if you've installed them on your OS X volume. They're trouble.

As of this time, anti-virus utilities are useless on OS X. There are no known system-wide viruses on OS X. There are indeed viruses that can contaminate documents inside Microsoft Office X, but there are preferences in those applications to protect against this.

Check your error logs
Check your system logs to see if there is anything relevant to your problem listed there. To do so simply go to the apple menu and select about this computer. A window will pop up displaying some basic information about your computer. Click on the more info button at the bottom of the window. This will bring up Apple System Profiler (ASP). The last tab furthest to the right of the ASP will be labled “Logs” click on it and then select console. It should list error messages related to each application you are having problems with.

Start your system in verbose mode
Start up your computer in verbose mode, hold down cmd+V at start up. You will see the a bunch of text scroll down the screen as everything starts up. Look for anything that gives an error message and record it. Try doing google searches, or search forums to see if the problem has already been discussed and a known fix has been established. A lot of times you can find fixes on these forums, they are a great tool.

ESD safety is important when working inside your computer
You do not want to damage any component when removing it. Refer to the manual that came with your computer, or Apple Support on the web.

Acknowlegments
This list was refined with the contributions of many folks on the MacOSXHints Forums. You can see their contributions in this thread; special thanks to tlarkin for his dedicated work.

__________________________________________

Also Zap the PRAM:
During start up hold the
(command)+(option)+(P)+(R) keys down all at once and it should make that start up sound, keep holding them down until you hear the OSX start up chime three times, then let go of the keys.

Care and Feeding of Panther: OS X Drive Maintenance
h**p://www.lafcpug.org/care_feeding_panther.html

Disk Maintenance in OS X Panther
for Desktop Publishing and PrePress

h**p://software-robotics.com/docs/PDF-X-Robot_OS_X_Maintenance.html


How to Deal with Common OSX 10.3 Panther Problems
h**p://www.macattorney.com/panther.html

1. Can't Install OS X 10.3 Panther
2. External Hard Drive Corrupted On Restart
3. FileVault Causes Data Corruption/Can't Mount Disk Image Files
4. Utility Software Doesn't Work Or Causes Unusual Problems/No Applications Will Launch
5. Abnormal Behavior After Updating to Panther or After Installing New Software
6. Kernel Panics Caused By Out Of Spec RAM
7. Video Card Problems
8. Can't Install Panther/Processor Upgrade Card Installed
9. AppleTalk Devices Don't Show Up in Panther
10.External Devices Don't Show Up On The Desktop
11.Faxing Doesn't Work
12.Memory Full Error Message
13.Can't Run "fsck -y" In Single User Mode
14.Macintosh/Palm Syncronization Won't Work
15.Printing Broken/Printer Unsupported In Jaguar
16.Firewall Can't Be Enabled
17.Sleep Problems
18.Quickeys Causes Nasty Problems
19.SCSI Scanner Problems
20.General Wonky Performance After Upgrade Install
21.Epson Scanner Problems
22.Disk Image Files Won't Mount
23.No Modem Found
24.Problems With Panther's Help System
25.Safari Unexpectedly, and Frequently, Quits

Optimizing Disks Is a Waste of Time
http://www.tidbits.com/tb-issues/TidBITS-686.html#lnk3

About disk optimization with Mac OS X
http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=25668
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