View Full Version : Blinking query at startup

05-09-2001, 03:18 AM
I use a Seagate Cheetah X15 as a startup disk in my new P.Mac G4/533 running OS 9.1. The Host Adapter is the Atto UL32. Cable and LVD active terminator are Granite type. Every time I turn on the computer I have to wait a long time (about one or two minuts) until the OS icon appears and the system begins to load. During this time a question mark blinks in the blank screen. The Apple support, after a workaround (resetting the ROM, PRAM, ecc.) gave up.
As at AppleStore the built-in ATA disk was replaced with a SCSI disk, I think that every time I turn on the computer it looks for the system in the missing original disk and only in a second time it scans the disk collegated through the SCSI card in the slot. Can this be the cause of the blinking query? Or what?
Thank you.

Giancarlo Gasponi

05-09-2001, 05:12 AM

Take a look here on the 'Gurus page:

There's a note there that those boards will cause a slight delay on booting..


05-09-2001, 06:57 AM
Yes Chris, I read that " the UL3D can prolong boot times in some older machines". But my Mac is the newer G4/533!

05-09-2001, 09:56 AM
Silly question (and my machines do this every so often) - maybe it's looking for a network boot volume or the startup disk panel is confused. check under the ASP to see if it points to a specific start-up volume
Are you on a LAN?.


05-09-2001, 02:48 PM
Do you have a boot volume highlighted in the Startup Disk Control Panel? You should update to Startup Disk Control Panel v 9.2.1. Use your software updater.

05-10-2001, 02:59 PM
Yes, I have the unique "blessed" system folder highlighted in the (just updated) Startup Disk Control Panel 9.2.1.
What does "ASP" mean?
I am not in a LAN.


[This message has been edited by giagas (edited 11 May 2001).]

05-10-2001, 05:32 PM

ASP = Apple System Profiler in the Apple Menu. k

05-11-2001, 11:07 PM
Did the new Startup Disk CP help?

05-12-2001, 09:28 AM
мя No, the new Startup Disk CP didn't help.
мя On advise of the Seagate Support, I initialized the disk using HDT 4.5 and the flashing question mark disappeared. Now I only have a blank screen for about 15 seconds before system loading. It is acceptable, even though I think that there is something wrong somewhere. In DriveSetup 2.0.5 window the Cheetah X15 looks as supported....

мя Moreover, I found that this problem and the frequent freezes have different origins. There is a problem with Update Software CP when installed on a Dual Processors Powermac. I tried to download the new version 1.3.1 but the file (SoftwareUpdate131.dmg) seems to be corrupt. This update is not available on MacFixIt and VersionTracker sites. Do you know other sources?


[This message has been edited by giagas (edited 12 May 2001).]

05-12-2001, 10:11 AM
i am not fsmiliar with the ATTO card, but with my Miles2 LVD card a blank grey screen for 15 seconds or so is normal. It is the card cruising thru the scsi chain looking for all devices.

05-12-2001, 10:33 AM
Grazie, tm311! Probably you are right and it is a real relief for me!
However, I suspect another question: disks like Cheetah X15 take long time to get ready. When the machine looks on them for a system folder they are still in the process of startup. So we have to wait for the next tour!


05-12-2001, 11:04 AM
Thats why if you talk to the guru's here about the cheetahs's...especially magician...you will find that the proper way to run these babies is 24/7...no sleep and no shut down....

05-13-2001, 11:46 AM
".dmg" are OS X disk image files and won't work in 9.1 - in fact downloading in 9.1 (troble with OS X internet connection thought I could use 9.1, download updates, etc... ) doesn't work. They have to be downloaded and used in OS X.

There is a default of how many milliseconds to wait for each SCSI device under OS X that can be modified from the 15 second (15000) to 5 seconds to speed startup. There is also a pin to enable/disable auto-delay.

I'm surprised you are using FWB and not SoftRAID or something - does it look good?


05-13-2001, 01:30 PM
http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gifThanks Gregory, for some help here. Some of us aren't messing around with OS X yet.

05-13-2001, 09:57 PM
giagas: are you running OS X or 9.1?

05-13-2001, 11:55 PM
Ehm.... I am running Mac OS 9.1. No update for SW Update CP! Thanks.

Gregory wrote: " I'm surprised you are using FWB and not SoftRAID or something - does it look good? "
Yes, it does. I think. why I would have to use Softraid if I haven't arrays?


05-14-2001, 01:45 AM
SoftRAID is an excellent driver for single drives as well as arrays. k

05-14-2001, 02:19 AM
it is true that I stopped shutting Macs down a long, long time ago. If you set the Energy Saver settings correctly, there really is no need to shut down your Mac. In fact, I suspect you will actually save more energy sleeping than shutting down and rebooting, if you are using your Mac daily. I certainly think that starting from a cold start is stressful to the hardware. Maybe I'm just being silly, and anthropomorphizing my hardware (there you go, Michael)....

now with X, however, I see even less point in shutting Macs down. OSX is Unix....and anyone who has run Unix servers learns to leave the kernel up, and simply kill processes. As long as you have a mouse or keyboard or other input device that is responding....I see no need to actually shut-down an OSX Mac. And for all my vintage machines....it is kind of reassuring to walk in and see them all dreaming...waiting to wake up and go back to work.


yes, sometimes they talk to me.


05-14-2001, 12:57 PM

If you are using 9.1 you don't need that .dmg file; it's for OS X.

Here's what you need for OS 9.1:

Software Update Control Panel 1.2
Software Update Engine 1.2 (in Extensions Folder)
Software Update Scheduler 1.2 (in Extensions Folder)
Apple Software Restore 2.0.6
Installer Engine 4.5.6
(the last two are in Software Update Folder in the Application Support Folder of the System Folder)

If you are missing any of these pieces, you can extract them from the OS 9.1 CD or 9.1 Update using Tome Viewer. Then, just drop them where they belong and restart.

Tome Viewer is at ftp://ftp.macgurus.com//ftp/apple_stuff/

If you have trouble, we can mail you a piece.

05-15-2001, 01:00 AM
I have all the pieces you listed and, of course, I am running 9.1.
After formatted the HD and installed a fresh system I could not restart (but the finder was not freezed). I pressed the key combination Command-Alt-Esc to force the exit from the Finder but in the window I read: "Do you really want to quit Software Update Engine?" (I translate from italian). Why was it active in that moment (it's an application, not an extension)?
I forced the restart. Just when the system finished to load and appeared the desktop, Finder freezed. In the up right application menu there was the Software Update Engine icon!
Any idea?

05-15-2001, 05:24 AM
no idea why that control panel would be running upon completion of an install.

05-15-2001, 07:33 AM
could be that software update has it's own timetable. so it runs at periodic intervals. i personally have disabled all such apps because of the possibility that they would begin to run a very inappropriate times like in the middle of an audio session.

05-15-2001, 10:37 AM
People are always looking for a way to change partitions. SoftRAID is one tool that at least lets you delete/add partitions - as long as they fit in the available free space. You can't resize a partition, but almost if you have enough storage space.

FWB HDT has somewhat similar. I was surprised that Quantum recommended FWB - when they had not updated in over a year, were not 9.1 compliant, and when I needed a driver specifically for the Quantum ATlas 10k II's I have, they wanted me to ship them the drive!

Glad it works, and you don't need array, something I didn't realize either until I started looking deeper.


There is a really good article on Open Firmware, changes between version 1.0 - 2.0 - 3.0 but it is on NetBSD 1.5 and I can't get to my CD. Explains the boot process in full.

05-15-2001, 07:08 PM

I don't know unless it was set to look for updates just at that time. Reset it to manual.

When you force a restart, the machine will try to put everything back to what was going on before.

You also have to be connected to the internet when you check for updates.

[This message has been edited by Louie (edited 15 May 2001).]