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Thread: MacPro3,1 with Unresponsive Finder, Demanding Reinstall of Operating System

  1. #41
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    Default Amazing. No Kidding?!

    If the computer continues to run reliably, then I will have only one last question on this issue. Sparing the space monkeys, you're saying, seriously, that a bad USB connection on my keyboard or mouse may have caused all this trouble for all these months? (It would have been the connection to the keyboard, because I swapped the mouse for a trackball several times since the trouble began.) I suppose I could envision that. I press a key or click the mouse, the signal travels through a bad connection, and the Finder gets confused while trying to decode the signal -- not that I could say why the Finder, System Information, or About This Mac > Storage are susceptible to such confusion and other applications are not, but perhaps there is a reason. Because the computer is on the floor beside a desk, I am using a USB extension cable. The problem was likely there.

    Sorry to cross examine. This is just so amazing and unexpected that I'm hoping to confirm that I am not trustingly believing a joke that others would easily recognize as such. Anyway, I love an inexpensive solution, and know one more fix for the future.

  2. #42
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    Yes USB can, and does wreak havoc on systems. That's one reason why it's not a preferred connection for serious audio work. Audio forums are loaded with threads on issues with cheap USB audio interfaces.

    I remember going through a few USB/FW cards before I found one that would play nice in my G4 tower, and it eventually went tits up anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by ricks
    Or motorcycle racing.
    Most of the top MotoGP teams have paid the space monkeys to stay away.

  3. #43
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    USB is directly connected to the controlling hardware of the Mac. USB can shutdown, sleep and modify what the CPU is doing. So yeah, I would have thought it more probably a BAD keyboard than a funky connection, but USB has the power to screw things up.
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  4. #44
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    Ooooh, deja post!

  5. #45
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    Default Great USB Cards and Bad Keyboards

    "I remember going through a few USB/FW cards before I found one that would play nice in my G4 tower"

    I only ever bought one, a Ratoc, I think, from MacGurus under the former owner. After that, the ports became stock in new Macs. I remember being mystified when told that, in a Mac, the card would only run USB 1.1; but that, if Apple ever decided to adopt USB 2, the card would support it. (I must not have understood standards at the time.) As anticipated, USB 2 began working shortly thereafter, with a software update. I have not booted that old G4 upgraded G3 266 tower in a year or so, but last I knew, the card worked just fine, good as new.

    I suppose the keyboard in my current tower could be bad, rather than its connection. I'll watch what happens over the next few days and weeks. If the computer beachballs again, you will be the second and third to know!

    Thank you for your help solving this mystery, and all the ongoing mysteries of Macs everywhere. And, just be glad that you aren't fixing Windows!

  6. #46
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    Wish I wasn't fixing Winders. I am trying to flash the firmware on a problem causing eSATA card. For the life of me I cannot create a DOS boot USB stick to get it done on a Mac. I don't own a plain ol PC any longer, Macs usually do a better job of running Winders. GOing to have to enlist someone whose PC can still boot DOS....
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  7. #47
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    No Winblows boxes here either. Last one went tits up, and sent to ewaste.

  8. #48
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    Default Better Engineering for Fewer Problems

    There are many reasons I use Macs. Most importantly, everything about the interface is more intuitive *AND* (no hierarchy here!) they have proven to be more reliable, longer lived, and less expensive (seriously; how many Winders boxes are still more powerful than their owners need, nine years later?). When they do fail, it has either been something legitimate, such as a power supply wearing out from so many years of use, or some retarded thing that was comically hard to identify, but easy to fix, such as this thread's swapping a keyboard or reconnecting a loose cable. Winders, in comparison, seems to have stupid problems stemming from being a kludge of mediocre engineering.

    This message comes to you from my laptop (seven years old and future-proofed by the Gurus, who knew it could accept twice the RAM Apple said it could). Haven't even started the MacPro today (Sunday). So hoping it stays fixed!

  9. #49
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    Default Beachballing Again!

    Did you miss me?

    Apple Menu > About This Mac > Storage

    has cause both About This Mac and the Finder to beachball again!

    By either luck or progress, Saturday and earlier today were the first times in many months that it had worked properly. Today, it worked upon first starting the computer and a little while after, but failed hours later. I'll shut it down and let it cool, to test whether perhaps it beachballs less when it is cold, and more after it is hot hours later. I'll also remove the USB extension chord to the keyboard.

    What after that? Remove more hardware?

    Would the video card in my old G3 tower work in my Intel Mac? If not, suppose I set my MacPro to be a FireWire Disk to my MacBook Pro. Would accessing the Tower via the laptop cause a beachball in the laptop, allowing a reliable diagnosis while bypassing the Tower's video card?

    Mac OS is great. The protected memory works. I am writing this in Chrome while About This Mac and the Finder beachball.

    THOUSAND THANKS.

  10. #50
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    Default P.S. -- The Finder Froze HARD

    Upon shutting down after my previous post, the computer beachballed at the Finder for several minutes. Usually, shut downs do not beachball, and are quick. Eventually, I tried to relaunch the Finder from the Dock, even though that never works. After the second attempt, a Mac OS X splash screen flashed briefly. That could as easily be coincidence as cause-and-effect to my attempt to restart the Finder. Then, the display turned black, except for a few thin, horizontal lines of lines of light near its bottom left, suggestive of a Single User Mode window that was otherwise blank:

    ____
    ____________

    A moment later, a progress wheel appeared. It spun briefly, then the computer shut down. No problem rebooting to send this message.

    I have noticed a stuck colon key in my spare keyboard. Isn't there a way to pop the keys off to clean them? This is not the keyboard I was using when the computer beachballed.

    Beachballed again upon repeating the usual test.

  11. #51
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    Default Diagnosing the USB Bus

    Over the past few years, I have occasionally had trouble with USB, and was never sure whether it was due to a particular port on the computer, a bad port on a monitor, or my imagination. If the USB on the motherboard were the problem causing the current beachballing, might installing, and exclusively using, a USB PCI card bypass the error? Not knowing better, I'd guess that, at least in some cases, a bad, built-in USB bus would cause no problems, so long as it sat unused. This would seem especially true of an intermittent problem, such as the computer has when accessing the hard drives through the Finder.

    I have a 17-year-old Ratoc USB/FireWire PCI card in my G3 266 Tower, purchased from MacGurus under the prior ownership, on the East Coast. Wouldn't that fit, and work, in my 2010 Intel MacPro? It was a special card that the Gurus sold, because it did not require a separate driver. One would think that whatever Apple's current OS has for running USB should also run this card.

  12. #52
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    Nothing from the G3 will install in the MacPro - different kinds of PCI buses.

    Only thing I can think of, and not one I have tried, is use the laptop to remote in and run the MacPro headless without the graphics card or KB/mouse.
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  13. #53
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    I think you may be on to something with the temps. The way these modern boards are made it doesn't take much to cause problems.

    Doubt the GPU has anything to do with it, but then again.... If I was adverse to simply replacing the machine I'd strip it down to stock config, clean install the original OS, and start from there.

    Clean bare bones 3,1s go for around $150-300 around these parts. That's real tempting when it comes to problems like this, and the time/frustration involved. Then you have plenty of spares.

  14. #54
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    Default Remote Connection to a Headless Mac

    "(U)se the laptop to remote in and run the MacPro headless without the graphics card or KB/mouse…"

    Surely worth a try! How do I do that? Reminds me of Apple Remote Access that I used to use, years ago. Equally good to work over the Internet, such as with TeamViewer?

    How would one get the MacPro to accept the connection, if it were missing its graphics card, keyboard, and mouse?

    "Clean bare bones 3,1s go for around $150-300…"

    Yes; promising. I am in rural Maine, and may have trouble finding one at that price. Not many Macs up here, nor plenty of big shops selling old hardware. (Of course, you are in a corn field in Idaho!) PowerMax has them starting at $750!

  15. #55
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    Actually I am about an hour (in light traffic: therein lies the rub) from downtown LA. It's all about supply, and demand.

  16. #56
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    I offered a MacPro 4,1 to a customer for $400 plus shipping. They exist all over the place. Craigslist is best. If this one doesn't sell you are welcome to it. I am not quite in position to have it leave yet and he was fine waiting till end of January.

    Here's a little article on how to set up screen sharing. I do that once in a while with TeamViewer over internet. On a local network I think you can just do screensharing, set it up, shutdown and take parts out of your Tower, start back up and let the other mac run things.

    http://www.howtogeek.com/180953/3-fr...-macs-desktop/

    Rick
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  17. #57
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    Screen sharing looks easy! Every time I need something, my Mac already has it!

    I'm new to headless. Would I enable screen sharing, then shut down the computer and remove its video card; then, reboot and connect? Is the video card not needed in the computer being shared?

    "MacPro 4,1… $400 plus shipping… If this one doesn't sell you are welcome to it."

    Wow; thank you. If I can't fix my computer to run reliably, I'd want that, mainly because, if it came from MacGurus, I'd know it had been well cared for, and that any problems were disclosed. On Craig's List, I'd be on my own to test it, if the seller would allow time with the machine. Trouble is, I've already seen how a Mac that passes every obvious test can still have problems. This one is about an hour from me -- $550 with a 21" ViewSonic monitor:

    https://maine.craigslist.org/sys/5909584750.html

    It's a cruel world. My MacPro is 100% reliable, so long as I do not need to save or access a file, or view statistics about the contents of its hard drives. It's perfectly safe for all Internet-based work, but I need to be able to access local files.

  18. #58
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    I think you have to set it up before you try it headless.



    Nice part with a 4,1 is it is identical to a 5,1. There is even a firmware updater available to make it a 5,1, which means you can install Sierra on it. After the update is applied, you can even install faster memory. I was very tempted to upgrade the firmware and install a 3.47 GHz 12 core in it. Then a AMD 7950 graphics card and it would be a screamer. We ended up having to get a late model MBP with Thunderbolt3 for testing, so this 4,1 is going to be redundant.

    Not all that hard to put a computer through its paces. They boot and run a top end application well, you are pretty good to think it a good machine. I can see a small hidden issue surprising someone, just not all that likely.


    Rick
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  19. #59
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    Default Video Card Apparently Required for Screen Sharing

    Amazing how easy screen sharing is, at least across my own secure network!

    Apparently, the computer being shared needs its video card. After easily controlling the MacPro from the MacBook Pro, I removed the MacPro's video card and all peripherals, restarted, but could not connect as I had before, by clicking the MacPro in the MacBook's Finder. Got a dialog box saying something about how I could not connect, because the computer being sought could not be resolved. Shut down, replaced the video card (but did not connect a monitor, keyboard, or mouse), booted, and screen sharing easily connected me again.

    Earlier tests yesterday and this morning, and prior experience over many months, suggest that if the various typical points of failure work properly immediately after booting, they will nevertheless fail hours later. Expansion with prolonged heat appears to be part of the problem. It would be nice if increasing the speed of the fans could prevent this, but it may not be so easy.

    I have left the computer running headless, albeit with its video card installed. No trouble beachballing upon booting. Will test it again later. Maybe I'll boot from a FireWire drive, too, just because it would be easy.

    Been thinking about that 4,1-come-5,1. That would last a good long time. Would any of the 3,1's parts work as spares? Same power supply? Anything? The 3,1 may be hard to sell locally, and not worth selling to a distant dealer.

  20. #60
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    I have been reconsidering your thought to boot to the MacPro using Target Disk Mode. If your laptop can boot the OS version that is on the MacPro, and you can hook Firewire between them, you can boot the MacPro in TDM and then boot the connected laptop to the internal drives in the MacPro using option boot.

    Rick
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

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