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Old 01-22-2012, 07:58 PM
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Default iMac mid 2011 mystery

Hi guys,

Here's a teaser for you. Customer leaves his fairly new iMac with us because it doesn't boot - just comes very quickly to the stop sign (circle with line through it). Running 10.7.2. Customer had already tried a reinstall without success before he left it with us.

Here's what's been done: booted into Target disk mode. From there, can access the hard drive no problem. Can see the locked boot.efi file, play music from iTunes library, check it in disk utility (no errors), copy the enitre home folder to another drive. Changed RAM, tried booting even with only one of each of the original modules in each of the slots. Same error all times. Tried reinstalling Lion from a USB, and from Apple's servers - each time stops with an error. "An error occured - please try again", or the equivalent in Swedish. Tried installing on a known good drive, the installer hung with 17 minutes remaining. I have changed the SATA cable. Same error. Ran Disk Warrior on the drive - no errors. Even tried with a good logic board - same problem.

When I left work on Friday, Apple Service Diagnostics had been running for four hours without detecting any errors. Wonder what it'll say when I arrive tomorrow morning.

Any suggestions?
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Old 01-22-2012, 09:39 PM
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Do you have the original installers for the machine (if there are any)? What version of OSX did you try installing? Did you try installing from the 10.7 recovery partition?

Also, I'm assuming this machine is still under Applecare so why not let an AASP handle it?
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Last edited by anonymous Mac Tech; 01-22-2012 at 09:41 PM.
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Old 01-22-2012, 09:44 PM
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The machine came pre-installed without media. The customer tried to re-install himself from the recovery partition. I used 10.7.1 from USB, and I'm assuming the netboot from Apple's servers apply 10.7.2?
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Old 01-22-2012, 09:56 PM
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You say you've tried a good logic board, ram, and hard drive?
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Old 01-22-2012, 09:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tintern Tech View Post
The machine came pre-installed without media. The customer tried to re-install himself from the recovery partition. I used 10.7.1 from USB, and I'm assuming the netboot from Apple's servers apply 10.7.2?
It really seems like a software thing. Are you sure you have whatever came with the machine? If you have GSX access you can see exactly what build of OSX that machine is supposed to run. If the machine is really new it will likely only run whatever OEM disks that came with the machine, until newer versions of OSX are released. I run into this same issue time and time again with University IT people that just toss aside (or misplace) the installers that come with a machine thinking they are insignificant and try to reimage a machine from an existing image then they think it is a hardware problem when the image won't load. Then time and time time again I prove them wrong by installing from OEM disks for the model they have.

Other than that, some of the iMacs are having problems with 1 TB Seagate drives and Apple is replacing them whether they are failing or not. It could be one of those models? There is a link with Apple where you can run the serial number and it will tell you if that model qualifies.

Here is a public list of OSX builds that may or may not help. Its not exactly what I was taking about above. You'll need GSX access to be sure.
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Old 01-22-2012, 10:21 PM
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Thank you. I'll start from scratch in GSX tomorrow, check the build number, and double-check the versions available. The recovery partition, which was preinstalled out of the box, presumably re-loads the correct build version once the machine is authorised for download, right?
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Old 01-22-2012, 10:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tintern Tech View Post
Thank you. I'll start from scratch in GSX tomorrow, check the build number, and double-check the versions available. The recovery partition, which was preinstalled out of the box, presumably re-loads the correct build version once the machine is authorised for download, right?
Unless the machine came with 10.6.x which it very well could have. In that case there is a disk somewhere. You have to get the customer to understand they need to provide you with the media that came with the machine, if any did? I haven't played around too much with reinstalling 10.7 over the web because I haven't needed to, but I'd imagine if that machine came with a 10.7 recovery partition it will download the correct one. You'll have to make sure there isn't an exiting recovery partition when you try to do it via the app store again. But who knows what the customer did when trying to reinstall. Then trying the usb install probably blew away the existing recovery partition to create a new one.
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Old 01-23-2012, 01:58 PM
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Default reinstall over the web

I have successfully used lion 10.7 reinstall over the web, follow directions on apple site


Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymous Mac Tech View Post
Unless the machine came with 10.6.x which it very well could have. In that case there is a disk somewhere. You have to get the customer to understand they need to provide you with the media that came with the machine, if any did? I haven't played around too much with reinstalling 10.7 over the web because I haven't needed to, but I'd imagine if that machine came with a 10.7 recovery partition it will download the correct one. You'll have to make sure there isn't an exiting recovery partition when you try to do it via the app store again. But who knows what the customer did when trying to reinstall. Then trying the usb install probably blew away the existing recovery partition to create a new one.
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Old 01-23-2012, 09:28 PM
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Hmm if it is a mid 2011 iMac it's still under warranty? Backup the disc and leave it to Apple? And have you tried the built in hardware test?
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Old 01-24-2012, 11:24 AM
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Thanks to anonymous Mac Tech for your conviction that it was a software issue. GSX showed several possible builds for that machine, under both 10.6 and 10.7. So I took the step of first erasing the original drive, before trying the reinstall. Then I reinstalled from the recovery partition. Plain sailing from there. Guess the reinstalls prior to erasing the drive maintained some of the previous files. And quite probably when I tried with alternative hard drives, Lion didn't like them for some reason. Thanks again.
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