A Bad Apple Recovers (Briefly)

G5

The saga of the “bad apple in the bunch” continues. Yesterday, after letting the machine sit for a good part of the day, sans both its PRAM battery and its mains power supply (no battery and unplugged) I attempted to restart it. As expected, it failed to restart. Acting on impulse, after reading articles by some people who said that reseating the video card seemed to have an effect on this problem, I unplugged the monitor and attempted the restart again. It succeeded! The machine fired up with no issues at all. I plugged in the monitor as it booted, and the network connection shortly thereafter and all seemed well.

Alrighty… now why had this worked? Was it just a random event, or was there something to the removal of the monitor? I wasn’t sure, but I wanted to do some testing before I tried restarting it again, lest it not grace me with a clean boot the second time around. I pulled up “About This Mac” and was pleased to see the below:

About This Mac, G5 2.3 GHz w 4.5 GB RAM

The full compliment of 4.5 GB of RAM was showing up, so that was a good sign. I ran System Profiler and went to the Memory “tab”, where I could clearly see that all the RAM sticks were of the correct type and that all were working correctly.

Memory Status, G5 Dual

So, the RAM was not the issue after all. It clearly is good. Something else has been bedeviling the boot process, something which I have not yet uncovered. I will now endeavor not to touch those RAM sticks again! 🙂

Well now, since the machine was up and running, I decided to apply a few of the other “solutions” I had read of, hoping that any one of them might solidify the newfound “cleanly booting” status of the machine. I ran Disk Utility and checked the hard drive, which came back perfectly clean, and then repaired permissions, which also went off without a hitch. Finally, I pulled up OnyX and ran all of the maintenance scripts (monthly, weekly and daily), and as a final step, executed all of its “Cleanup” steps, which flush caches and the like. All actions ran to completion successfully.

With the machine in as clean a state as I could bring it to, I gingerly restarted it, expecting… I wasn’t sure what to expect. Happily, I was greeted by the happiest sound in all of Mac-dom, the start up chime. The machine roared back to life again, and continued to do so on repeated restarts. Finally, being the risk-taking sort, I executed the Shut Down command vs. the Restart command that I had been using up to now, and then started the G5 up again. All was well. The machine seemed 100% solid again, for no known reason.

The PRAM battery was still out of the case and so today, I decided it was time to finish this exercise and put it back in. I powered off the machine, unplugged it, opened it up and put the PRAM battery back. This battery, you will recall, is brand new, having just been taken out of the package and inserted into the machine a day or two ago. I checked the Power Mac G5 specs, to be sure I had the correct type of battery, and I can confirm that I do – it is the regulation CR 2032 coin style battery – and that I had inserted it the right way up in the holder.

I closed the machine back up, having done nothing to it but installing the battery, applied power and restarted it. Of course, it would not boot. Of course! 😡 Interesting… OK, I unplugged it, opened it up again, removed the PRAM battery, closed it up again, plugged it back in and retried the boot. This was identically the state the G5 was in when I started today, so it should work again, correct? Nope! It wasn’t having any of that. It would not boot. I repeated the “remove the monitor” step from above and tried again. Nope. No go.

So, here we are again. The machine did recover itself yesterday, after a long unpowered pause, but is now once more cold and silent after the simple step of re-inserting the PRAM battery.

I have put the PRAM battery back in, and left the machine unplugged. Tomorrow, after another suitable powerless pause, I will try it again. If that doesn’t work, I will remove the PRAM battery as well, allow it to slumber for another day, and then try again. I’ll let you know how this goes.

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