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#8423 - 02/16/10 04:10 PM Hard drive won't boot when power button pressed
JoBoy Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
I first tried this on the Apple forum because I thought there might be Apple hardware warranty issues. There were a lot of suggestions, but no cure.

http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=2325720&tstart=0

The essence of the story is that I purchased a 1TB Seagate ST31000528AS Media hard drive (3year warranty) for my main boot drive about 3 months ago. Two months later it suddenly died. I then purchased as a replacement a 1TB Enterprise grade Seagate ST31000340NS Media drive (5 year warranty). Shortly after installation, I began experiencing a problem I've never seen before. Upon pressing the power button, I get a light-gray screen with nothing on it. It will go on indefinitely without booting. I've tried a lot of things to make sure there isn't a software issue. (see the Apple forum link above). I've had the replacement drive three weeks and the problem has been with me from the start. I've had many Seagate drives over the years (the Cheetah was my favorite) without any problems. Suddenly, I've been bitten twice in a row. The drive will boot every time when I press the option key immediately after the power button. The Seagate drive is shown as the option and things boot normally. I've tried several loops of the extended Apple Hardware Test with no problems reported. Disk Utility plus DiskWarrior get me one boot upon pressing the power button and then the gray screen is back for the next boot attempt. There is no problem doing restart from the Apple menu or from the Startup Disk in System preferences. I've offered to swap the new Seagate for an HItachi with the same capacity and warranty, but OWC hasn't replied yet. Does anyone have any idea what is going on with this gray screen problem?


Edited by JoBoy (02/16/10 04:16 PM)
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#8424 - 02/16/10 04:38 PM Re: Hard drive won't boot when power button presse [Re: JoBoy]
MicroMatTech3 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
It seems as if the drive simply has not spun up in time to be recognized as containing the startup volume. Using the Startup Manager may be providing the required additional spin-up time. A restart avoids the issue, because the drive has already spun up.

Try this experiment:

Perform a proper shutdown, and wait a minute or two for the platter to come to rest. Boot, and immediately hold down the Command V key combination to perform a verbose boot. See if any error messages about failure to find the startup volume appear.

Enterprise-grade drives are engineered for long-term reliabilty, and may not offer fast spin-up because that requires higher current draw. In a server with many drives, the higher current draw could pose a problem.
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#8426 - 02/16/10 05:26 PM Re: Hard drive won't boot when power button presse [Re: MicroMatTech3]
JoBoy Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
I did as you suggested. At 10 minutes, a dark gray folder icon appeared in the center of the screen with a flashing white question mark at its center. I let that go for three more minutes and then let go of the command and V keys. Still nothing happened. I shut down. I then did a series of shutdowns to see how long the machine had to be off before it wouldn't boot upon pressing the power button. Early in the series, I found that at 40 seconds, it would not boot, but it would boot at 30 seconds. Then, as I continued, it started booting every time even up to one minute. I don't know what effect the repeated booting had, if any, but I'm just reporting the facts since I don't know what's going on. I'll leave it off for five minutes and see what happens.


Edited by JoBoy (02/16/10 06:06 PM)
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#8431 - 02/17/10 02:36 AM Re: Hard drive won't boot when power button presse [Re: JoBoy]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Sorry if this is embarrassingly obvious, but have you checked /Apps/Sys Prefs>Startup Disk to see what, if anything, is selected?
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#8432 - 02/17/10 04:49 AM Re: Hard drive won't boot when power button presse [Re: artie505]
JoBoy Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Originally Posted By: artie505
Sorry if this is embarrassingly obvious, but have you checked /Apps/Sys Prefs>Startup Disk to see what, if anything, is selected?


Yes. I use it routinely. That is not the problem, but thanks for the suggestion. I went over a lot of this in the Apple forum. A link is in the first post above.


Edited by JoBoy (02/17/10 04:50 AM)
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#8433 - 02/17/10 04:54 AM Re: Hard drive won't boot when power button presse [Re: MicroMatTech3]
JoBoy Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Even after the workout I gave it in accordance with your suggestion, it still doesn't boot this morning, but, when I press the option key and select the drive in question, the response is immediate. Could this be firmware or a driver?
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#8435 - 02/17/10 07:34 AM Re: Hard drive won't boot when power button presse [Re: JoBoy]
MicroMatTech3 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
You could check the Seagate site to see if there is a firmware update for the drive. You might also contact them and see if there are any other reports of this problem from Macintosh users who are using the drive to hold the startup volume.

If you open the system or console log using the Console application (located in /Applications/Utilities) do the attempts to boot that failed show up? I had hoped that a verbose boot would show that the system was waiting for the startup volume, but apparently you do not get any text on your screen when you boot after a shutdown and hold down the Command and V keys immediately after pressing the power button.
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#8447 - 02/17/10 08:13 PM Re: Hard drive won't boot when power button presse [Re: MicroMatTech3]
JoBoy Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
The Seagate site showed that the new drive's firmware is up to date. I left an email case on their website since it was after hours by the time I got around to it. There was no mention of the attempted boots in the Console. I hope Seagate has a solution.

I may give Applecare the links to this thread and the Apple forum thread plus whatever Seagate has to say. They may be willing to swap the logic board if they know of similar problems.


Edited by JoBoy (02/17/10 08:15 PM)
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#8450 - 02/18/10 02:55 AM Re: Hard drive won't boot when power button presse [Re: MicroMatTech3]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Good try! wink
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#8451 - 02/18/10 03:00 AM Re: Hard drive won't boot when power button presse [Re: JoBoy]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Sorry to engage in the obvious again, but have you tried Resetting your Mac's PRAM and NVRAM, the repository of your selected startup disk?
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#8455 - 02/18/10 04:45 AM Re: Hard drive won't boot when power button presse [Re: artie505]
JoBoy Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Originally Posted By: artie505
Sorry to engage in the obvious again, but have you tried Resetting your Mac's PRAM and NVRAM, the repository of your selected startup disk?


Yes. Multiple times without noticeable improvement. Thanks for the suggestions. There may yet be something I have overlooked, but I'm beginning to doubt that. I just started up after having the machine off for four hours. It started right up. Sheesh! This seemingly irregular behavior is a pain.
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#8526 - 02/21/10 03:50 PM Re: Hard drive won't boot when power button presse [Re: JoBoy]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
It's very common for a failed hard drive to stump the boot process right off the bat, to the point where you can't start off ANYTHING until you unplug the offending device. Same can happen for optical drives, though I believe usb/firewire can't block anything but each other. Really annoying to have to say, tear open a macbook and unplug the optical drive to allow the HD to boot. Though sometimes if you're really patient, (several minutes patient) it will finally give up on the internal buses and go hunting other places like firewire/usb, which will get you the flashing folder unless you have something attached.

Bad luck on your part to get bad drives back to back but that's what it sounds like. I don't think you're going to get much satisfaction in the forums looking for some sort of common bug, this looks like just plain ol failed hardware.

I recommend WD Green drives nowadays.
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#8529 - 02/21/10 04:24 PM Re: Hard drive won't boot when power button presse [Re: Virtual1]
JoBoy Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Thank you, Virtual1, I was hoping you'd post on this thread. Last night, I decided to buy an Hitachi 1TB Hard drive that was sold specifically for use in the Mac Pro (mine's an early 2008) from the local Apple Store. It will now be covered by AppleCare for my Mac Pro plus its own warranty. My reasoning was that, if this drive didn't fix the problem, I could go back to Apple and request service under AppleCare with a reasonable expectation that they would not do any finger pointing to the "other people's hard drives." I installed it last night and it has performed perfectly all day. I hope that solves the problem. I'll keep the WD Green drives in mind for the future, but with the enormous downtime I've had by buying cheap drives from OWC, I could have bought the stuff from Apple at their higher price point and dropped the problem on them under AppleCare and saved myself a lot of grief. They've treated me very well in the past and there's a lot of value in that. They even replaced my previous Mac Pro with a new one when a serious problem developed in that previous machine. I used to have a lot of confidence in Seagate in the past. The 10,000 rpm Cheetah for the Mac was my favorite, but I've had nothing but grief from Seagate lately. I won't go there again.
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#8595 - 02/25/10 08:17 PM Re: Hard drive won't boot when power button presse [Re: JoBoy]
JoBoy Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
The new Hitachi hard drive continues to perform flawlessly. PROBLEM SOLVED! Thanks again to all for the help. smile
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Mac Pro dual Quad-Core Intel Xeons Early 2008; 16GB RAM; MacOS X 10.11.6, iOS 9.3.5

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#8709 - 03/03/10 10:33 PM Re: Hard drive won't boot when power button presse [Re: Virtual1]
JoBoy Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Here's a 10-day followup on the failed drive problems. The Hitachi drive I bought from Apple continues to work perfectly. Also, the vendor of the second failed drive agreed to exchange it for a new Hitachi 1TB Ultrastar A7K2000 7200RPM SATA that has a five-year warranty. For the past three days, I have been using it for my boot drive and it performs beautifully. I hate to say this for fear it may cause another problem, but my Mac Pro hasn't performed like this in a very long time. It is a pleasure to use it heavily to catch up on the work I didn't do while struggling with failed drives. Thanks again to all for the advice and support. smile
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#8715 - 03/04/10 09:42 AM Re: Hard drive won't boot when power button presse [Re: JoBoy]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
and on a semi-related note, I'm not too happy with Hitachi as of lately. Less than two years ago I bought a pair of 1tb usb external hitachi.

About two months out of warranty, one started showing slow io on certain ranges of blocks. Sold very cheaply to a friend that was desperate for backup storage. A few months later the other one started doing the same thing. Removed hard drive. Surprisingly, the slow IO corrected itself, and was reproducible when reinstalled in the enclosure. I have no idea how an enclosure causes slow blocks, but this was definitely doing it.

Bought a nice OWC enclosure and placed the hitachi drive in it and used it that way. Then yesterday, unpleasant sounds accompanied trying to read a file off the drive, and IO errors sprang forth.

So they don't seem to be able to make a reliable enclosure or a reliable drive atm. Slowly all my hard drives are morphing into WD's...
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#8722 - 03/04/10 03:53 PM Re: Hard drive won't boot when power button presse [Re: Virtual1]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
> Slowly all my hard drives are morphing into WD's...

Thanks for that; I was on the verge of asking your HD preference...thinking of upsizing my 120Gb G-Tech.

Your vast tech experience certainly throws a mess of weight behind your opinion.
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The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#8739 - 03/06/10 05:20 PM Re: Hard drive won't boot when power button presse [Re: artie505]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
I think I can honestly say I've buried more hard drives than most people will ever own. But is that a good thing?
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#8742 - 03/06/10 08:25 PM Re: Hard drive won't boot when power button presse [Re: Virtual1]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: Virtual1
I think I can honestly say I've buried more hard drives than most people will ever own.

That sounds like an understatement; I suspect "families" would be closer, but maybe still an understatement.

Quote:
But is that a good thing?

It's good in that the body of knowledge you've accumulated makes your statement that your're winding up with all Western Digitals" faaar more of an authoritative recommendation of WDs than pretty much anybody else's experience - real, anecdotal, or combination thereof - makes their recommendations.
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The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#8743 - 03/07/10 02:27 PM Re: Hard drive won't boot when power button presse [Re: Virtual1]
Hal Itosis Offline


Registered: 09/03/09
Loc: 10.6.8 (build 10K549)
Wasn't there a time though when Western Digital had one of the lowest reputations amongst Mac users? [i seem to recall a report/thread at MacInTouch which went on for months.]

Perhaps its former status inspired them to do better.

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#8744 - 03/07/10 02:55 PM Re: Hard drive won't boot when power button presse [Re: Hal Itosis]
JoBoy Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Originally Posted By: Hal Itosis
Wasn't there a time though when Western Digital had one of the lowest reputations amongst Mac users? [i seem to recall a report/thread at MacInTouch which went on for months.]

Perhaps its former status inspired them to do better.

...or perhaps the others have gone to the dogs, thus making WD look better.<wink> Time was when I dumped WD in favor of those nifty Seagate Cheetah 10k internal SCSI drives. How times change. At this time, however, I am perfectly happy with my new 1TB Hitachi internal drives. [with fingers crossed]
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#8745 - 03/07/10 02:57 PM Re: Hard drive won't boot when power button presse [Re: Hal Itosis]
alternaut Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: Hal Itosis
[i seem to recall a report/thread at MacInTouch which went on for months.]

Indeed, and Hard Drives: Western Digital was that thread. tongue
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#8746 - 03/07/10 03:50 PM Re: Hard drive won't boot when power button presse [Re: Hal Itosis]
dkmarsh Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09

Well, I replaced my slot-loading (Summer 2000) iMac's original drive with a Western Digital in, oh, 2004, and it's served as my primary external drive since 2005, and, other than a reluctance to stay spun down during sleep (a phenomenon for which WD drives were noted at the time, although I can't find any general report to that effect), it's performed, um, flawlessly.

My WD My Book Studio Edition, OTOH, tends to go AWOL from time to time if it's connected without any volumes mounted. Nothing an unplug-replug doesn't take care of, but annoying nonetheless, especially given that the PPC non-bootability of said drive was a well-kept secret as far as Western Digital promotional material was concerned.

But, hey! The My Book is an external, and its problems appears to be unrelated to the drive itself. As I recall, one of the reasons I chose a WD as a replacement for the iMac's internal was that crarko—a professional with extensive experience in the field cool —was partial to them at that time.
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