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White screen, apple logo, spinning wheel and no boot

When I switch computer on I get the chime and it goes to white screen with apple logo. Boot bar comes on for a minute then is replaced with spinning wheel. Nothing else happens. What's wrong?

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Hey kwgammie, this happens when the os update failed to boot up your mac. I'd recommend that you boot your computer with a CD/USB containing OS X to see if it starts up fine (before it's confirmed that this is a hard drive/hardware issue). If it boots up, then it's a corrupted os and a way to fix that is to put a install OS X software on your CD/USB and update your OS from there (least recommended). I've been in this situation before and if you bring your laptop to the Apple Store, they'll do some tests on the computer and they should be able to update your computer fine (more recommended).

-Let me know how it goes.

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iApple, good answer. What if the OP is not near an Apple store or from a country where there aren't any? Pretend you are the Apple store....:-)


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kwgammie, start of by performing what Apple suggest:"

Simply performing a Safe Boot may resolve this issue.

Shut down your Mac. If necessary, hold your Mac's power button for several seconds to force it to power down.

Start your Mac, then immediately hold the Shift key. This performs a Safe Boot. Advanced tip: If you want to see the status of a Safe Boot as it progresses, you can hold Shift-Command-V during start up (instead of just Shift).

Note: A Safe Boot takes longer than a typical start up because it includes a disk check and other operations.

If your Mac starts up as expected, immediately try restarting.

If the Safe Boot does not work, or the restart after a successful Safe Boot does not work, go to the next section.

Reset the NVRAM / PRAM

Shut down your Mac. If necessary, hold your Mac's power button for several seconds to force it to power down.

Reset the NVRAM / PRAM.

If the gray screen issue persists, go to the next section.

Start from your Mac OS X Install disc; use Disk Utility

Insert your Mac OS X 10.4 or 10.5 installation disc (if you have discs with both versions, use whichever is closest to the Mac OS X version installed on your Mac; do not use a startup disc which came with a different Mac or which contains an earlier version of Mac OS X).

Shut down your Mac. If necessary, hold your Mac's power button for several seconds to force it to power down.

Start up your Mac while holding the C key to start from the disc.

Once started from the disc, choose Disk Utility from the Utility menu.

Note: If the gray screen issue persists and you can't start from the disc, go to the "Disconnect peripheral devices" section.

In Disk Utility, perform a disk repair of your Mac OS X volume; if no issues are found, perform a permissions repair as well. If issues are found during the disk repair, try repairing again.

After the Disk Utility operations are complete, restart without holding any keys.

from here.

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Old turkey 03,

Safe boot worked a treat but when I restart it goes back to white screen with Apple and spinning wheel.

Looks like I will have to do next step which I think is beyond me and I don't have disc.

What has caused this problem?

Can't thank you enough for your excellent support



Somehow your OS became corrupt and you lost access to it. This can be caused by a hard drive failure....


Yea oldturkey03, that is what tends to happen. It's either a corrupt OS or a hard drive issue as stated in my answer.


iApple I agree. What I was going for was that you try and complete your answers. Pretend you are the Apple store. Not everybody in the world has access to it. Not all search engines provide the same route, or the same links. not every country is as uncensored as we are. Always think about the OP. Wonder where they might reside and what resource they might have. Remember that ifixit has a big international following as well. Your answers are good but some need a bit more detail to be complete.


Thank you oldturkey03 for your wise tips :) I'll definitely be more detailed next time.


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kwgammie sarà eternamente grato.
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