MacBook Gray Start-up Screen Fix

I’ve had my Macbook since mid 2006, and it’s still hanging tight. It’s been bugging out on me lately though a little bit.

Last night I had a real scare. Photoshop crashed, and I figured I should reboot, but first I decided to fire up Cocktail and run the cron scripts, clean my caches, repair disk permissions and restart when that was done. It was running the weekly script when I got the dreaded multi-lingual kernal panic screen, and I had to manually shut down the little guy by holding down the power button for awhile.

Kernal Panic

I started it back up, heard the startup sound, and made it to the gray Apple screen with the spinning gear. I let it sit for awhile but nothing was happening. I turned it off and tried again. Same thing. I got a terrible sinking feeling, as I remembered Time Machine stopped working after its last update. I then surfed around for ideas on another computer and tried a couple things:

Boot in Safe Mode – still wouldn’t boot.
Reset the SMC – still nothing.
Drank a beer and shut the thing down for a few hours and did some work on my wife’s computer, thank god for Freshbooks.

I finally found an idea that hadn’t crossed my mind, and it worked. This may or may not help anyone out there but after a 3 hour rest I fired up my MacBook and held down the X key throughout the gray startup screen until I hit the blue screen and my cursor showed up. It took awhile longer than usual to boot up but it worked!

Will this work for you? I have no clue. The blog post I found the idea on listed it as one of the attempted but failed fix ideas.

Edit — September, 10, 2009. I have come to realize this doesn’t do a thing. What saved my Mac? A little rest and relaxation I guess. As Don points out in his comment below, holding X was something that I recalled from the early days of OS X, when people were dual booting with OS 9, and not related to Boot Camp at all. I related the boot-up shortcut to distinguishing between a Windows/Unix/Linux install and OS X install when it’s actually an old school way to tell your Mac to start up in OS X instead of OS 9.

About my MacBook:

about_my_macBlack Macbook Core Duo 2GHz

  • 2 gigs RAM
  • 250 gig HD
  • Mac OS X 10.5.6
  • Boot Camp w/Windows XP Pro

Startup Items:

  • Quicksilver
  • Drop Box
  • Scrobbler
  • Google Notifier