The black screen of death

I couldn’t believe what happened this past Tuesday. After I woke up I was going to do some work on an assignment for the Advanced Flash night course that I’m taking. When I went to my iMac, the screen was all black, and the little white light was on. I figured that it was just asleep. I moved the mouse around and nothing happened. Then I held the power off button until the white monitor light turned off, then tried to start my computer again, but only the white light turned on (the hard drive whirred a bit) but then nothing else happened.

I tried all the things they suggested in the starter manual, but nothing. I called Apple care and had no wait to connect, but the only thing the support guy could suggest was the old unplug, wait, and replug. When that didn’t work, he said it was a hardware problem and gave me the name of an authorized service place. I went promptly over and dropped off my precious iMac into their hands. It’s still there right now (one day later) and they are not certain what the problem is yet.

Maybe I’m just overly anxious because of recent health issues of my own, but I feel so sad that my iMac is in the shop. I don’t want to doubt the sterling reputation for reliability that Apple has, but I can’t argue with the fact that my own is in the shop. Waiting for a call back from the shop has been like waiting for a call from the hospital. I keep wondering if I would have had the same reaction if this had been my PC rather than my Mac.

Frankly, despite having numerous PC problems over the years, I never had anything like this. I guess that’s the problem with the “closed box” computer: its problems seem much more mysterious. It’s a lot more like the human body: I need to rely on the opinion of an expert because I have no insight into the symptoms. I think if this happened to my PC, I might be tempted to write it off (but if it were still under warranty, I’d probably get it fixed). It might not have been as much of a shock, though. I half expect PCs to fail (especially fail me), but when my iMac stares prettily back at me and refuses to start up, it just seems that much more tragic.

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  1. #1 by jason on August 2, 2007 - 9:50 pm

    i had this problem once after i had my mac on constantly for a few days doing video editing and other heavy harddrive usage things and i completely flipped, i was going to take it in to a apple store but the next day it worked fine and the screen has cut of once (happened when using it, it sounded and looked like the computer just put its self to sleep but couldnt be woekn up)_ since after a lot of use since i have a 24inch imac i dunno maybe its a overheating issue did they tell you what it was if it happenes to mine again ill defo take it in

  2. #2 by alving4 on August 3, 2007 - 3:07 am

    24inch iMac? I’m jealous, Jason. They told me that mine needed a replacement logic board. I’m still waiting for the part. I’m going to post again with some updates on my situation. It’s becoming quite a saga.

  3. #3 by Michelle on March 18, 2008 - 1:14 am

    Hi, the exact same thing has just happened to me. From reading other posts we thought it may be the RAM. However, this doesn’t seem to be the case. Our next thought was the logic board.
    Could you please give an update to the problem? Thanks

  4. #4 by Michelle on March 18, 2008 - 1:18 am

    Didn’t see that your post continued. Sorry!

  5. #5 by alving4 on March 18, 2008 - 2:26 am

    No problem, Michelle. Have you been able to get some support from Apple Care? Will you be able to get your Mac serviced? I hope your saga has a happy ending as well (though hopefully your turnaround will be quicker than mine was).

  6. #6 by stefini200 on March 19, 2008 - 2:51 am

    wow…I am having this problem as of today. Never had any issues and just like this guy- I went to my computer today to check email and the screen is black. and the white light is on. Just like he said. I’m sitting here trying not to cry. I’m out of the 90 days of free tech support but am still within my year of hardware repair etc. New logic board…what? I’m not had the thing a year…but you know…It’s on 24 hours a day. Maybe I need to start turning it off. Please keep us posted. I’m stressed.

  7. #7 by alving4 on March 19, 2008 - 2:57 am

    Hey stefini200,

    I got my iMac back from the shop, but it sure took a while. Read my next two posts for the rest of the story.

    Good luck with yours. I suggest you take your computer to the nearest authorized service shop and get it fixed under warranty.

  8. #8 by alving4 on March 19, 2008 - 3:05 am

    Oh, plus it’s been 6 months now, and I still leave my computer on all the time. I think it’s OK. It’s working great, but I guess I learned that you never know when things can just go kaput without warning.

    • #9 by dev rich on March 14, 2010 - 9:54 pm

      My IMAC is black after you turn it on. The white light goes on but screen still black. I have tried everything. I didn’t use it for a couple of months and then tried it again and turned it on the light when on but all I got is a black screen. What was the cause of the black screen? And how can I get all my pictures and files of my IMAC?

      • #10 by alving4 on March 14, 2010 - 10:09 pm

        For me it was the logic board. It’s not something that I could fix on my own, so I had to go to the Apple care to get it fixed. You should probably call in to Apple Care if you are still covered. If your problem is the same as mine was, your hard drive should be OK, so any way you can access the hard drive without the computer would probably work. In my case, the service people put my hard drive into another mac and I was able to copy my work files off. If your computer has a different cause of the black screen, then everything I’ve just said is irrelevant. It’s difficult to diagnose a problem when the computer won’t turn on. I think you’ll need to get a professional to take a look.

  9. #11 by Elie on May 6, 2010 - 11:54 pm

    Sorry guys But I found out in the hard way what is the problem is one of two the screen cable or the LCD is gone I have changed the logic board from a working Imac then wich is the graphic card is on it but no change I changed the LCD the same I changed the cable worked fine and perfect if you wanna know and you know how to open the Imac all you got to do is unplug the cable from the logic board and see the LCD if all lights up good it mean the cable change it will work fine

  10. #12 by Ed on June 14, 2014 - 12:58 pm

    So with the Blacked out Screen Problem, I suspect it to be screen or video?
    Does anybody know if you could Firewire 2 iMacs & remove the data you need or trouble shoot the bad iMac that way? Mine Died also!

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