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iMac dead?


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#1 +Frank B.

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 16:35

I have a major issue with my iMac (20", C2D 2.0 GHz, bought in January 2008).

All it will display is the grey screen of death. No Apple logo, nothing. What I've tried so far:
  • Zapping PRAM and SMC
  • Booting from DVD, trying to run the Apple Hardware Diagnostics
  • Booting with only one of the two RAM modules installed. (2 modules a 2 GB each).
  • Booting in single user mode
All of the above methods didn't get me any further. I see the grey screen, but nothing else.

Have I missed any possible repair option, or is it safe to say the Mac has snuffed it? Thankfully I have all of my data backed up. Still, this is a major pain in the arse.


#2 mps69

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 19:45

If you have access to another Mac, you could try boot in target mode. It's been a while since I've done this, but it might give you some idea what's going on.
Good luck

#3 Glassed Silver

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 00:00

Have you ever had any other issues with it?
Does it give you beeps?
Did you call Apple? They are not allowed to help you outside of AppleCare unless you pay a fee, but some support guys actually give you some additional hints for free if you beg them or they'll do it themselves.
Try that route, possibly a couple of times.
At the very least they'd inform you whether there is a out-of-warranty repair on offer (either for free (common problem) or for less than normal maybe).

Just give it a try.

Did you properly unplug the Mac from the outlet (and any attached HDDs, etc...)?

Good luck!

Glassed Silver:mac

#4 theh0g

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 00:24

I had the same thing on my MPB twice in 4 years, both time harddrive died. Ask around for some local repair service or just take it to Apple, it shouldn't cost much.

#5 Elliott

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 00:35

I had the same thing on my MPB twice in 4 years, both time harddrive died. Ask around for some local repair service or just take it to Apple, it shouldn't cost much.


This. I've seen this behavior in 2008 iMacs (I help run IT for a school that has a whole lab of 'em). Basically, when the hard drive dies, it's impossible to get past the gray screen. Stupid, I know.

#6 Glassed Silver

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 00:37

I had the same thing on my MPB twice in 4 years, both time harddrive died. Ask around for some local repair service or just take it to Apple, it shouldn't cost much.

HDD is a good call, however I think that it'd be cheaper to repair it yourself.

It's just a guess, but the repair might be well more expensive than you'll like.
So depending on whether you like to mess with it, this might be a good thing to do.

Remember though, that your Mac model is indeed one of the more complicated to take apart and watch it: don't let the dust get behind the glass.

Best of luck if you decide to go that route.
I did with my '06 iMac and albeit my Mac got significantly louder after that (probably did some mistake) I must say that it was okay for me.

It's all up to you whether you like the gambling of fixing it yourself or taking it in for a repair.
Latter might be even a good idea seeing you don't know for sure.

I did get HDD clicking before it died on me, so I knew where it came from.

Not even being able to boot the setup DVD is a little weird though.

Glassed Silver:mac

#7 Elliott

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 00:39

HDD is a good call, however I think that it'd be cheaper to repair it yourself.

It's just a guess, but the repair might be well more expensive than you'll like.
So depending on whether you like to mess with it, this might be a good thing to do.

Remember though, that your Mac model is indeed one of the more complicated to take apart and watch it: don't let the dust get behind the glass.

Best of luck if you decide to go that route.
I did with my '06 iMac and albeit my Mac got significantly louder after that (probably did some mistake) I must say that it was okay for me.

It's all up to you whether you like the gambling of fixing it yourself or taking it in for a repair.
Latter might be even a good idea seeing you don't know for sure.

I did get HDD clicking before it died on me, so I knew where it came from.

Not even being able to boot the setup DVD is a little weird though.

Glassed Silver:mac


Yea, it's not terribly hard to replace to replace on your own, but it's really unnerving to have the LCD exposed to all that dust during the time that you're replacing the HDD.

#8 OP +Frank B.

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 08:21

Have you ever had any other issues with it?
Does it give you beeps?
Did you call Apple? They are not allowed to help you outside of AppleCare unless you pay a fee, but some support guys actually give you some additional hints for free if you beg them or they'll do it themselves.
Try that route, possibly a couple of times.
At the very least they'd inform you whether there is a out-of-warranty repair on offer (either for free (common problem) or for less than normal maybe).

Just give it a try.

Did you properly unplug the Mac from the outlet (and any attached HDDs, etc...)?

Good luck!

Glassed Silver:mac

The only issue I've had lately was OS X disconnecting the USB HDD, then remounting it immediately. This happened infrequently though, and I didn't think it was too dramatic.

The only sound I hear is the normal startup chime. From the sound of it the HDD starts up normally and boots the OS, I just can't see anything because of the grey screen. Same goes for booting from DVD.

Opening it up and replacing parts is out of the question really. Given my mechanical unaptness this would only result in more damage.

I have not yet tried to call Apple, and I don't think it'll get me very far with a machine this old. Which brings me to the next point: Given its age I might as well try and sell it as defect on eBay, then use the proceeds to buy a new computer eventually.

Whether that's going to be a Mac or not is a different question.

#9 OP +Frank B.

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 09:47

Post scriptum: The iMac is now up for sale on eBay. Thanks for the suggestions though.

#10 Glassed Silver

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 14:38

You know... You could have checked whether it was just a screen defect.
(Without opening... If the machine actually boots up fine, log in blindly and try to hit key combinations to operate the mac... play some music, I don't know... Connect an external display or try to VNC into your Mac. (hell, even SSHing would do the job))

This way, the buyer at least knows what's defect and might bid a little higher.

If I may throw in my advice:
I got the 27" iMac now (i7 Sandy Bridge) and I must say, I adore it.
It's fast as hell if you bump it to 16GB (or 8GB will do for most users, too I guess, I just like to be future proofed and I do lots of editing of photos and videos)

Of cause, to replace an old iMac, that might be a little too much if you just want to get your "old experience" back.

You might be in for the base 21.5" model.
Ask cooky, he has one and he adores it.
I switched him over to the Mac and hence he might have some original input to that.

Either way, even if it's not going to be a Mac, best of luck with selling your baby and getting a new one! ;)

Glassed Silver:mac