Never ending Gray Screen of Death...

Ever shutdown your Mac, then to start it up again at some point later just to have this gray screen that never ends?

Well what to say this is the second time this issue has happened with me on relative new MacBook Pro (2014-model Q1) running Mavericks. The first time this happened I did the following:

  1. Entered single-user-mode and run /sbin/fsck -fy / to check and repair disk permissions. And rebooted the Mac without any luck.
  2. Tried to boot into safe mode, to just see the Mac continue to hang on the gray screen.
  3. Reset’ed PRAM and rebooted again without any more success than before.
  4. After about 1 hour of several restarts it finally did boot up.

However the second time this happened to me was yesterday, after booting up my Mac after a shutdown (last uptime was 44 days). Well so I repeated the same steps 1-4 above without any success.

Some goggling suggested that i should try to boot into recovery mode, so I did. Then went to repair disk permissions and the disk from the disk utility and tried to reboot again without any more success.

A friend suggested that I should reinstall and start from scratch, told him that I had a Time Machine backup and could just do a recovery process. Still I did not want to do that yet only as a las resource. I wanted first to find out why the Mac was not booting as expected. Could it be that some of the kernel extensions (kexts) were not behaving correctly or some other reason(s)? So I did the following:

  1. Entered single-user-mode mode mounted the system, and checked the output from the log files in the /var/log directory. Without any success, in finding any indications on why the mac did not start.

  2. Then I decided to boot my Mac in verbose mode after reading this question on superuser. Well it halted after about a minute without any indication on why, so I decided to let it be there and see if something would show up later. About 5 minutes later it suddenly reacted and decided to boot up.

The whole process waisted about 3 hours of my day yesterday, but for some reason I just speculate should this ever happen again to just do the following two steps:

  1. Enter recovery mode, verify & repair disk and/or disk permissions.
  2. Reboot mac in verbose mode.

[NOTE] I will post an update on this topic should it ever happen again. This post is a note for myself to remember the steps I took that may have solved my issue?

Keyboard shortcuts

  • Start in Recovery Mode cmd + R keys on boot
  • Start in Verbose modeshift + V? keys on boot
  • Start in Safe Mode hold in shift key on boot
  • Start in single user mode cmd + S keys on boot
  • Reset PRAM alt + cmd + P + R keys on boot