Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: more weird startup problems

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Huntington, NY, USA
    Posts
    1

    Default

    Hello, all.

    My first posting here. I'm still struggling with a problem that I've had on and off pretty much since I got my Yosemite G4/400. It sounds like it might be similar to one AnubisRex posted here a few weeks ago. Originally ran OS 8.6, eventually upgraded to OS 9.0.4 (clean install). I've got lots of software installed, so I know that could be a source of trouble. Hardware includes memory (to 320 Mb), 2nd IDE drive, Digidesign AM III card, Formac dual-channel SCSI card, and MOTU PCI 324 card (audio interface host). Can you tell I do a lot of audio?

    Here's the symptom(s) and what I think I've narrowed it down to so far: At various times, after a hang or crash (Yes, they do happen...), on reboot, I'll get a bomb, either before the first extension loads, or while the last extension is loading. Sometimes a single click on the <restart> button will work, sometimes I'll have to click it three times, with delays, before it will restart. The last bomb dialog says "unimplemented trap." The most reliable and efficient way I've found to restore it to normal functioning is to reboot from my OS install CD (This happens so often that I keep the CD in the drive at all time.), trash the System from my boot CD, and copy a clean System file over from a pristene clean-installed system (never run) on my second drive. Usually restarts fine then.

    I suspect that something is corrupting my system file, and yesterday something happened which seemed to confirm this: I ran Norton from the 2nd drive, on the "pristine" system. The next time my boot drive hung up in the usual way, my usual fix didn't work. It took a lot of experimenting and hair pulling to realize that the system file from my second drive must have been corrupted when I booted from that drive. I did a clean install onto drive 2, did my 'copy the system' trick, and I'm up and running again - till next time...

    I thought I'd found various things that triggered the hang: running MS Office, Netscape unexpectedly quitting (happens way too often), an alias that one of my apps writes to the System folder whenever it's run. But judging from this latest experience, it sure seems like it's a hardware thing that's causing the corruption, because none of these apps are installed on drive 2, and all I ran was NUM, which is installed on that drive.

    Thanks for reading this far. Any ideas or suggestions are welcome.

    dave

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    30

    Default

    Dave,
    I just noticed that no one has responded to your inquiry – Not exactly the type of first impression the Gurus try to make. I’m sorry to see that, as frankly this is an EXCELLENT source for Mac related questions. And although I’m not personally qualified to handle your configuration woes, I thought I’d respond to at least your reference to my post a couple weeks back.

    I eventually did get my system back up and running, but I had to revisit the troubleshooting process from square one. It was, embarrassingly, something as simple as unplugging the OEM hard drive. I am almost positive I had tried that configuration before, but I probably tried that change with some other variable change and therefore wasn’t able to isolate the true problem. I had heard of issues running an ATA drive with the Miles2 SCSI adapter on the Beige G3, but had also read of other users doing just this with great success. I’m still not sure exactly what the issue was, as I had both the Miles2 and the ATA drive working together quite well for a few weeks before my problems started; it is working fine, however, now.

    With respect to your specific problem, it sounds to me like you’ve already got a good start on the troubleshooting process. I personally have never used any of the equipment you mentioned, but maybe you could go back to when your computer was most stable and see if you can re-establish that stability. If that means you have to remove a PCI card or two, you’ve at least reduced the field of “possible troublemakers.” You then might be able to find driver/firmware updates at their manufacturer websites.

    Sorry I couldn’t be of more help.
    Good luck to you,
    Christopher

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Posts
    17

    Default

    hm. This used to happen on my old 7100 all the time. I remember going through all the extension-swapping and musical preferences troubleshooting, and eventually, I couldn't narrow down the problem - so I reinstalled the OS. After a week or so of stability, it happened again. And again. And soon, I had narrowed it down to the system file, and I would simply do what you did - copy a clean system file from a stuffit archive over the original one. I lived with this problem for two years, and basically had concluded that there was something wrong with the machine. I shed no tears on that fateful day when I clicked the power key, and heard the "broken glass" sound. It meant that I could buy a new G3 beige I sold the dead 7100's carcass at a garage sale for $100.

    I know a bit more now than I did then, and I'd say now that I would probably sit down with a hex editor on a couple of these occasions and try to find out where the differences are in the two system files. No, actually, I'd probably diff them under OS X
    It makes no sense at all why the system file would be getting corrupt - I mean, it's an executable, it *should* be stable, and the contents should be static. Nothing should ever be writing to it. Unless Apple's doing something funky with resources (which it should otherwise be doing to preference files). Beats me how this could happen. Fortunately, I didn't have that problem on my G3.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Posts
    693

    Default

    Welcome to the forums, davidor. It sounds like a nasty situation, and they usually call for painful troubleshooting.

    I'd begin by assessing how much you use this machine and how long you can afford to have it down for. Another consideration is how you are going to post to the forum if the machine is not booting happily for a while; do you have another net-connected machine to post from?

    If you can handle a two-to-three day downtime and some frustration, please begin by
    1) listing all hardware connected to the mac, all pci cards, all peripherals, etc. I know you already did this, but if there's anything you left out, (XLR8 G4 card?), please include it.

    2) Try to figure out which apps are running when it crashes. It sounds like an app (not necessarily the active app) is doing something weird to the active system folder or RAM and whenever it conflicts with the active app or the system, the machine crashes, corrupting the system folder and necessitating the reinstall.

    3) Consider installing MacsBug, available on the MacGurus ftp site. This utility will trap crashes, allowing you to a) see the active app when it crashes, and b) often allow you to dump the app without crashing the computer, which allows you to restart properly instead of via the turn off/turn on method.

    Lastly, an opinion on how your second system folder could have been corrupted. If you did have hardware problems like AnubisRex did, they could cause all of your woes. All truly weird problems are hardware. (like the vast generalization? :-)

    Check all connections, inside and out. Check seating of RAM and processor cards. Has the problem only occurred since 9.0.4? 9.1 is supposedly more stable. Check extensions, which could be a nightmare with all that extra hardware. Check termination if you haven't already. Remember to check SCSI IDs on devices on each bus for duplicates.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Las Vegas, NV, USA
    Posts
    1,559

    Default

    Anytime you have a system hang, you run a risk of corrupting your System Suitcase, System Preferences, Mac OS Preferences, Finder Preferences or any other file that might have write activity at the time of the crash. A System Error before the extensions load are a good sign of a System Suitcase corruption. At the end of extensions (As Finder loads) is a good sign of the latter files.

    The big problem is determining what exactly is causing the crashes in the first place! A few potential causes leap right to mind. Heat would be my first suspect. Check that all of your fans (be it one or many) are operating correctly. Check that the heatsink is squarely on the surface of your processor chip. Also make sure that there is plenty of clearance behind the power supply to allow proper air flow. If these things fail, try running for awhile with the case open. Perhaps there's just too many hot drives inside for the given ventilation.

    Another potential cause is your SCSI card. Are the devices properly terminated. The last physical device on any SCSI cable should be terminated. If it's an LVD card you should have an active terminator as the last device on any cable.

    [This message has been edited by lasvegas (edited 11 April 2002).]

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Posts
    17

    Default

    I'm having trouble understanding exactly how an executable binary like the system file is being written to - I don't know of any other OS where the system binaries are not static files. Can someone explain this to me? Is this just some basic thing about Mac OS that everyone else knows, but I have somehow missed?

    Seems like poor design, if you ask me (if that's the case) - but then again, I'm running OS X now, so I don't have to worry so much about such cruftiness in classic.

    OS X rocks so much - last night, I tried to run a program from work, a proprietary database front-end, written in Java. It's supported on Windows, Solaris, and Linux, and the team that wrote it laughed with scorn and derision when I asked them about Mac support. So I copied the binaries to my OS X system, and ran the script in terminal, and the damn thing ran. Better yet - it's faster over my VPN connection than it is on my Windows machine at work, on the local LAN. I love OS X. Wish I could run it at work.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Mobius Strip
    Posts
    13,045

    Default

    Use ResEdit to verify the System file. Sometimes there is a minor error in the file length. It does get updated, resources added. NetBarrier even stores the serial number in the system file. Conflict Catcher has the ability to look for corrupt or damaged resources in the System folder (or any folder).

    That was one bug that affected Mac OS 9.0-9.1 (+?) and glad to move on to OS X. having my startup volume on a mirror raid did seem to 'cure' it somewhat, or alert me to rebuild or resync.

    Gregory

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Las Vegas, NV, USA
    Posts
    1,559

    Default

    The System Suitcase is not an "executable binary" More accurately, it is the System Resources; including patches for the ROMs, executable code, sounds, keyboard information, among a great deal of other information. Many of the file's resources will be open and active in memory at all times. Some of them are opened and closed on demand. While it's bad practice, and entirely against Apple's recommended guidelines, writing is often done to the System Suitcase's resources, even, at time's by Apple's code. This file is an antiquated technique of doing things and while Apple made major improvements in it (like removing fonts and DAs from it), it's still a major cause of problems in OS 9, especially if a programmer chooses to open a resource from it in r/w mode risking this very situation.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •