Mac startup problems take many forms , but stalling at the gray screen can be one of the most troublesome because there are so many possible causes. In addition, there are many Mac issues that get mistaken for the gray screen startup problem. This is especially true of Macs with built-in Retina displays, such as the Retina iMac models that don't have a power on indicator.
This startup issue is called the gray screen problem because historically, the display would turn gray during the start-up phase when the problem struck. The more recent Retina Mac models have a black or very dark display instead.
The gray screen problem occurs after a Mac is started or restarted. The problem is characterized by the display changing from the blue screen that occurs at power up to a gray screen, though you might not see the blue screen because it tends to go by very fast. It's also possible that your specific Mac model doesn't display the blue screen. Apple has streamlined the startup process, and fewer screens types display during startup.
You might see only the gray screen. It may also include the Apple logo, a spinning gear, a spinning globe, or a prohibitory sign a circle with a slash drawn through it. In all cases, your Mac seems to be stuck. There are no unusual noises, such as disk access, optical drive spin up or down, or excessive fan noise; just a Mac that won't continue to the login screen or the desktop. Another startup problem that's mistaken for the gray screen issue is a gray screen with a folder icon and a flashing question mark.
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That's a separate problem, which is easy to fix with the help of our troubleshooting guide. Disconnect all external peripherals , and keep them removed for the duration of these steps unless otherwise noted.
MBP with OS X 10.6 freezes on boot up. Unable to use USB.
Don't disconnect the keyboard , mouse, or display. If your keyboard or mouse is connected through a USB hub, bypass the hub by plugging the keyboard and mouse directly into your Mac for these tests. One of the most common problems that can cause the gray screen issue is a bad peripheral or peripheral cable.
When a bad peripheral is plugged into your Mac, it can prevent it from continuing the startup sequence, and cause it to stall while it waits for the peripheral to respond to a command. The most common form of this is when a bad peripheral or its cable causes one of the signaling pins on one of Mac's ports to get stuck in one condition set high, set low, or shorted out to ground or positive voltage. Any of these conditions can cause your Mac to freeze during the startup process.
If your Mac starts back up without issue, then you'll know that it's a problem with a peripheral. You'll need to shut your Mac back down, reconnect one peripheral, and then restart your Mac. Continue this process of reconnecting one peripheral at a time and then restarting your Mac until you find the bad peripheral.
Remember that the problem can also be a bad cable, so if you plug a peripheral back in and it causes the gray screen issue, try the peripheral with a new cable before you replace the peripheral. Swap your mouse and keyboard with a known good pair, and then restart your Mac.
Using Built-In Recovery Options
If you don't have spares, just disconnect them and restart by pressing and holding the power key. If your Mac gets to the login screen or desktop, then you'll need to determine whether the problem is the mouse or the keyboard. Try plugging in one at a time and then restarting to confirm. Start your Mac using the Safe Boot process if no peripheral or cable appears to be at fault.
To do that, first disconnect all of the peripherals, except the mouse and keyboard. During the Safe Boot, your Mac performs a directory check of your startup drive.
If the drive directory is intact, the OS continues the startup process by loading only the minimum number of kernel extensions it needs to boot. If your Mac successfully starts up in Safe Boot mode, try restarting your Mac again in normal mode. If your Mac starts and makes it to the login screen or the desktop, then verify that your startup drive is working correctly.
At one time I would have agreed with you about DiskWarrior. I ran TechTool Pro 7 on the same drive and partitions and it did fix the problem s.
When I used DiskWarrior again on the same drives it ran cleanly. I suspect not, but time will tell. By the way, Drive Genius has also had a substantial upgrade just this week. I unplugged it to reset the SMC but was too impatient to disconnect peripherals so it may not have worked properly ; then I reset the PRAM and this did the trick, thankfully. My iMac has had problems before with external drives. Apparently its power settings are rather fragile.
Guess nobody knows whats happening with mail then?
Troubleshoot Your Mac With These Hidden Startup Options
Bring back Apple of the past when things just worked. Force remove any offending kexts. Any non-Apple kext is a suspect, but try one at a time or any for old stuff you no longer use:. I so appreciate your advice! I had tried so many things to try to access to the info of my damaged ssd. Installing OS X on the external drive was just brilliant and fast.