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The Sad Mac

Far more common than Macs that do nothing when you flick on the power are those that show brief signs of life and then grind to a halt, displaying an unfriendly icon on a black screen or sounding an intimidating tone. This icon (termed a Sad Mac) and these error tones (known as the Chimes of Doom) are sent out into the world when some portion of the Mac's startup hardware test fails. Although a Sad Mac or the Chimes of Doom strikes fear into the bosoms of every Mac user, they don't always indicate that your Mac is destined for a trip to the shop. Before fainting dead away, take a gander at these possible causes and solutions for your unhappy Mac.

Bad RAM

If you've read the “Holy Cripes” emergency pages of this book, you know that a Mac that displays an unhappy countenance or sings an ominous tune after you've installed additional memory likely suffers from nothing more than an incompatible RAM module or one you've failed to tuck securely into its slot. (To learn how to install RAM in many Mac models, see Chapter 7.) The obvious way to test that RAM module is to shut down your Mac, remove the offending memory, and start your Mac again. If the Mac boots without complaint, bad or unsecured RAM is your problem. Before picking up the phone and raising holy heck with the company that sold you the RAM, try reseating it.


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