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Help me revive my powerbook after a security update.
June 3, 2006 8:48 AM   Subscribe

After installing the most recent security update for OS X, my PowerBook G4 no longer boots. I've gone through the generic troubleshooting steps on Apple's site, and even paid for the phone support, but couldn't get any better answer than "Archive and Install," which I can't do due to lack of free space. Please help me fix this hopefully simple problem.

Software Update prompted me to install a Security Update, and Quicktime 7.1. I unchecked Quicktime, and just installed the security update. When prompted to shut down or reboot the laptop, I continued working in Firefox for a few minutes.

I tried to open TextEdit, but the dock icon appeared and disappeared. Same with Stickies. When I left the laptop to get some tea, the password-protected screensaver came on, but upon moving the mouse, no password box would appear. I was thus forced to just kill the power to get the laptop to shut down.

I had previously enabled verbose mode booting in the open firmware, so when the box booted, I could see where it hung up. After bringing up the network drivers, a line beginning with the date and ending with "Login window application started" repeated itself every few seconds forever. Normally, this is where the laptop jumps to the GUI. But, now it just hangs there.

I tried resetting the PRAM, which caused the laptop to no longer boot in verbose mode, but now it just hangs at the gray apple spinner screen. If I force Verbose mode by holding Command+V, I still see the repeated line:

Jun 3 11:45:34 farscapetwo /System/Library/CoreServices/loginwindow.app/Contents/MacOS/loginwindow: Login Window Application Started.

That line is repeated every few seconds, with some timestamps being identical, others a few seconds apart.

I tried running disk utility from the OS X Tiger install DVD. The Repair Disk option found a "minor header problem" and fixed it successfully (running a 2nd time finds no errors).

I tried using Terminal from the install DVD to move all of the StartupItems out of their normal folder.

I cannot boot into Safe Mode by holding down the Shift key. I can boot a CD/DVD, and go to Single-User Mode, and get into the Open Firmware.

I don't have another Mac to use firewire target-disk mode.

I went through all of the above before calling (and paying for *shakes fists*) Apple tech support. They were unable to give me any new advice, and suggested an Archive and Install. I do not have enough free space for this - nor do I really think that's a "solution."

Please help, and let me know if I can provide any other details.
posted by odinsdream to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I would love to say for certain, and it would be great if someone could confirm this, but I beleive that somehow your login window application was corrupted.

A while back, I attempted to modify my login window uisng in the directory your timestamp displays, and I received the same results.

My solution was to copy the same folder from my wife's mac over to mine from single user mode.

Based on your symptoms before you shut down, I beleive this could be the answer.
posted by psyward at 9:26 AM on June 3, 2006


psyward: Would you mind zipping up the application folder and sending it my way?
posted by odinsdream at 10:47 AM on June 3, 2006


Are your running any Adobe stuff? There's a problem with Version Cue and this update (version cue is included with all of the graphic and web apps).

From Adobe's site:
After installing the QuickTime 7.1 update your Mac freezes when rebooting

Version Cue, which was installed with the Creative Suite 2, isn't compatible with the QuickTime 7.1 update. Apple has now posted QuickTime 7.1.1 to addrss the problem.

Reboot your Mac in Safe Boot Mode by holding down the shift key when restarting the Mac. Then under the Apple menu go to Software Updates and download and install the QuickTime 7.1.1 update.

Please note that Version Cue isn't supported on Intel-based Macs and you will see the version Cue icon crossed out in the top right corner of the menu bar.
posted by doctor_negative at 10:49 AM on June 3, 2006


doctor_negative: I cannot use safemode, since that tries to start the GUI, which fails. I don't have Version Cue installed, even though I'm using the creative suite. In any case, I've removed all the startup items, and also did not install the Quicktime 7.1 update. My mac isn't an intel one, either. Sorry!
posted by odinsdream at 11:43 AM on June 3, 2006


Sorry, I should have read more closely.
posted by doctor_negative at 2:33 PM on June 3, 2006


@odinsdream - you should have an email from me soon
posted by psyward at 3:04 PM on June 3, 2006


Tried "Repair Permissions" yet? I see you ran Disk Utility, but you didn't mention permissions.

Hey, sometimes it works.

And here's a .zip of loginwindow:

http://www.pbp.net/~jnichols/loginwindow.zip - this is from a G4 with 10.4.6 - hopefully it'll help. Be sure to make a zip file of your own first!
posted by drstein at 7:57 PM on June 3, 2006


drstein; I could be mistaken, but I thought I saw that the Repair Disk automatically checked the permissions. I'll go back and try the permissions by themselves just to be sure. Thanks to both drstein and psyward for the zips.
posted by odinsdream at 9:05 PM on June 3, 2006


Thanks to both of you for the files. I've installed them on the system, and then reran Repair Permissions, which fixed the permissions on these replacement directories. Alas, I'm at the same point as before - the login window application continues executing without actually doing anything.
posted by odinsdream at 12:08 PM on June 4, 2006


Did you do the last two twiddles where corruption is suspected? Reset the PMU, yes .. but the bottom-most level is to reset the NVRAM thru Open Firmware. Afterwards, I always let the PRAM bong like 3 - 4 times. Amazing what that will clear up.

About that Not Enough Space - sounds like you're cutting it pretty tight. Have you ever done an A&I? Without knowing what you know .. well, see if these help, or ask for details. Good luck! You really want a fresh install, even if you do cure this.
posted by zo219 at 9:03 PM on August 11, 2006


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