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Help?! OSX fails to start past the blue screen; applications "quitting unexpectedly"

Hi, I have a problem with my Macbook Pro and I can't seem to find any other threads about this... I hope this isn't too wordy of an explanation, but I'm not very technical, so here it goes!

I had to restart my computer last night because my mouse pad and keyboard froze (a not so uncommon occurance) but when it started back up, I got the standard gray screen with the apple, then it went to a blue screen (the same screen I think you see a second before the desktop appears). A window then popped up saying: The airport extreme base station quit unexpectedly but all other OS X applications were functioning properly. (I don't have an airport base station, by the way) The window had the buttons to ignore, report or restart but clicking the buttons didn't really do anything except give me the colour wheel after awhile and then the windows disappeared. I tried restarting again and got the same message and also another message saying Spotlight quit unexpectedly.

I tried leaving the computer on for awhile after the messages dissapeared to see if OS X would start up, but I didn't want to leave it too long, in case some virus was ravaging my hard drive in the mean time. The blue screen just went to another blue-gray screen with the gray time wheel, then back to the more blue screen with out the wheel, and so on.

Has anyone had this problem? Does anyone have any advice?

Thanks!
Christina
 

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1. There's no such thing as a virus for Mac OS X.

2. It's hard to judge from the scant details you've provided, but you might try an Archive and Install option. If you don't know what that means, have a read up on it. Make sure you have plenty of free space available on the drive. Should take 1/2 hour to an hour depending on your setup.

3. Since you didn't mention it, I'm presuming you don't do any sort of backing up or periodic maintenance on your computer. If that's the case, you really need to rethink that strategy.

Let us know how the A&I goes.
 

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Try starting up and holding down the shift key at start up. This will stop applications from preloading. You should also unplug any hardware that is connected to your mac. It does sound like a kernel panic problem. This is usually some driver that has somehow been corrupted and/or bad code somewhere. Should this work, start plugging in your devices until the problem comes back. Whatever device causes you the problem, reinstall the software that came with the product. Please insure that all firmware updates are applied to your system.
Now it could be with local apps and not your system. The blue screen is an indicator of this. It is going through the last steps of loading the system and presenting the log on screen. Hold down the shift key as soon as you see the apple logo and see if you get the log on pane. Sign onto your account and go to your log in preference in system preference and turn off all of your apps that load on start up. Should the problem clear, the problem is one of the apps that loads on start up. Turn then on one by one to find the culprit and reinstall.
A lot of work, but so is reinstalling your system.
 

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I would be very surprised if an archive and install went in half an hour. For first time types allow a good deal longer.

Once you've done it a couple of times and learned how to not install superfluous languages it will go much faster.
 

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Either the system is corrupted, or the logic board has gone wonky - I'd think a bad logic board is the more likely culprit, perhaps related to the Airport card in the machine, since this is a known problem on many models. If it is under waranty, it is time to back up your data to an external drive or burn to CDs / DVDs - then get it repaired or replaced.

The chance of a virus is very slim, though other malware that is installed via socially engineered websites or downloads from specially prepared torrent or warez sites are not unheard of. However, no known malware attacks on the Mac will provoke a blue screen problem. The only other vector is if you run a dual system with Windoze, especially if you do not take the regular anti-virus precautions with Windoze - but that would manifest itself by the hijacking of Windoze, and possibly some data corruption on the OSX side of things - which would, upon boot, lead to a failed check of the file system, of which it will inform you of the inconsistency and attempt a rebuild.

A failing hard drive that lapses into sleep will cause extended bootup times, however, the system will generally boot after a fashion, though Applications will continually beachball once running.

But i think the chance is 95% that it is a logic board issue, and 5% split among the rest.
 

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I would be very surprised if an archive and install went in half an hour. For first time types allow a good deal longer.

Once you've done it a couple of times and learned how to not install superfluous languages it will go much faster.
Good point -- yeah, I've gotten used to not installing the unneeded printer drives, extra languages and such.

In my defence, I did allow that it could take up to an hour ... :)
 
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