Panther: Still not waking from sleep

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
April 14th, 2004 • 10:22 pm

A few days ago, I wrote about this glitch in my Mac OS X 10.3 environment that sometimes prevents my computer displays from waking from sleep.

At the time, I indicated that I suspected a problem with Mail and my AirPort Base Station getting disconnected from the Internet (I am on a dial-up connection) while the displays were asleep. However, the problem occurred again last night, and this time I was able to verify from my PowerBook G4 that the AirPort Base Station was still connected to the Internet and that there wasn’t any problem with the connection.

I also tried to ping my computer from the PowerBook, and did get a proper response. Yet no matter what I tried, I wasn’t able to revive the computer, either remotely or locally. I tried logging in using ssh on the PowerBook, but wouldn’t get a response. (Remote login is activated on the computer.) I tried disconnecting USB and FireWire devices, in case that would wake the computer. I tried everything.

I ended up doing a hard reset, yet again.

This is turning into a real problem, and I am nowhere near identifying the source. I am trying to think of what software I might have installed recently that might be contributing to the problem. The only suspicious stuff that I can find is this “DejaVu” backup software that was included as part of the Roxio Toast 6 package and that I only installed recently (although I haven’t had a chance to try and use it yet). I keep seeing the following lines in my system log:

Apr 15 09:07:00 DualG4 Toast This: pluginFactory 
Apr 15 09:07:00 DualG4 Toast This: queryInterface 
Apr 15 09:07:00 DualG4 Toast This: examineContext: null 

but I don’t know if they have anything to do with anything. I disabled DejaVu in the control pane (in System Preferences) last night, but these lines still appeared in my system log this morning, as you can see from the date/time above.

The other thing I noticed last night when the computer wouldn’t wake up is that my PowerMate’s blue LED was still pulsating, indicating that it still thought the computer was sleep (rather than frozen, say). Not sure if that means anything.

What this all means is that I having to restart (through a hard reset) my computer almost every 48 hours these days. It’s quite irritating. In addition, for whatever reason, after a hard reset, Safari’s history is not remembering anything beyond the past 24 hours or so. This aggravates the irritation, obviously, because I can’t always remember what web pages I had open in Safari waiting to be read. Some of them might have been loaded more than 24 hours ago. They are not there in Safari’s history.


37 Responses to “Panther: Still not waking from sleep”

  1. dida says:

    I do have the same problem. But in my case it does not jsut prevent the computer to wake up. It also freezes my mouse several times everyday :
    Thje log says :
    “May 17 17:17:20 localhost kernel: USBF: 794.493 IOUSBDevice[0x19da000]: Error (0xe0004002) getting device device descriptor”
    Do you have such problem ?

  2. Pierre Igot says:

    Interesting. For the last incident, my log says:

    May 15 09:50:09 G4 openinfo[400]: WRONG COMM VERSION, missing # 

    That’s the last thing that appears before freeze time. No idea whether either this or your message means anything!

  3. Pierre Igot says:

    No, I do not have uControl on my machine. After some pretty extensive troubleshooting, I have to conclude, like you, that no third-party software is involved. This is a bug in the OS itself.

    That being said, I haven’t experienced the problem once since turning off the option to ask for the password when waking from sleep. It’s not that important for my G4. It’s another story for a PowerBook, of course. (FWIW, my PowerBook G4/450 has never had the problem.)

  4. welch says:

    i’ve had exactly this problem ever since getting a new 17″ powerbook in march 2004. i close the lid to sleep, return later, open the lid, and the machine display stays black although the machine has awakened. this happens about 20% of the time that i sleep the machine by closing the lid, and the amount of sleep time seems not relevant. oh, and i cannot ever reproduce the problem on demand — just when i’m not thinking about it. i’ve had an open ticket with apple for awhile.

    some random things i’ve noticed:

    the machine really is awake after opening — sleep light on the latch turns off, caps-lock key light can be toggled, keyboard backlighting fires up in low light, and i can even hear the ding sound when new mail arrives (airport connection). screen is black though, and no cure for it but to power cycle. clicking the power button briefly hoping for that restart/reboot screen does no good — screen stays dark. you’ve gotta hold the power button down long enough to actually shut the thing down.

    i do not have deja vu software. the only possibly suspicious software i have is ucontrol, which is a kernel extension that does capslock key remapping. is this on your machine? i’ve seen no sleep-related reports about it, but could not live without it. it’s been with us since the early os x days, so i’m not *that* suspicious of it.

  5. Tony says:

    I’ve had the same problem (I think). About 5-10% of the time when my G4 Powerbook goes to sleep, I can’t “wake” it other than doing a forced restart. It looks and sounds like it’s awake, but the screen stays black. Incredibly irritating… And I have all basic software, nothing wierd installed. If anyone finds a solution or an answer from Apple, I’d love to hear about it!

  6. welch says:

    nope, that’s never worked for me.

  7. Rich says:

    I think I have the solution to Tony’s problem, although Tony’s might not be the same problem that Pierre has. And, the solution is a real head slapper (although I’ve only had one chance to try it since I thought it up about ten minutes ago).

    Verify that the machine is really awake (hit the volume keys for example). Then close the lid to put the machine back to sleep. Now reopen, and (hopefully) voila, a non-blank screen.

    Like I said, worked for my Powerbook the one time I’ve tried it so far.

  8. Michael says:

    I have the same problem,

    I have a G4 powerbook 15′ with 10.4 installed normal software.

    I have file volt securty on and user name log in on wake up.

    First I close and lid putting it to sleep.
    second I open the lid and it wakes up.
    Third the unlock log in screen pops up, so I log in.
    fourth the log in is successful but the screen is blank with only the mouse point visible.
    Fifth have to shut down, by hard reset or lucky key pressing to soft shutdown.

    How do we all report this to apple and get it fixed as it is a really bad problem if any of you have a open ticket with them post the number then the rest of us can report it and ref the number.

  9. welch says:

    new behavior this time: on wake from sleep, the password pane appears, and i give it the password, am returned to my desktop, but only for a fraction of a second before the screen goes black just like above. all the way black, no backlight. tried the close-again-sleep-again trick which doesn’t work (screen remains black). finally, something inspired me to try the screen brightness button on my keyboard — and it brought everything back. i’m waiting till the problem occurs again to verify that this really solves the problem. let me know if this works for any of you.

    i’ve reported this on their developer bug reporting system (registration required), it’s bug number 3681649 if you want to reference it in your own.

  10. Michael says:

    I have had tried the close-again-sleep-again trick which if I remember may have worked once but that is about it. same goes for the screen brightness trick only worked the once and never again as far as I can remember. What is going on!

    Remember if you end up with the blank screen hit the power button once and then enter and it will hopefully shutdown with out having to do a hard reboot which will be a little safer.

  11. Patterson says:

    Just thought I’d add that I’ve got a 17″ Al PowerBook which has been giving me the same kind of black screen after waking from sleep. I don’t recall ever hearing any system beeps, but then I often mute the sound on this machine. I can definitely hear the hard drive spinning. I have not managed to ssh into the machine from my desktop when this occurs, and find myself obliged, as you all are, to hold the power button for five seconds until it does a hard reset. I have also submitted a bug to (number 3692071).

  12. Jagdeep Gill says:

    I have the same problems with my Powerbook G4, and it’s getting a bit annoying. At first I thought it was the extra ram I installed. Then I thought it was the OS getting a bit corrupt. I re-installed OS X, and also used the combo patch to update the OS, but I still get the same thing. Does anybody have any sort of solution? It’s a real pain when I’m going to Uni and back, and loeses the “Mac’s always work” feel.

  13. welch says:

    i take it all back about the screen brightness button. the problem has occurred three times since then, and the button has had no effect.

  14. Jose Cuevas says:

    Same behavior here, have any of you guys taken th pb for service check the PMU?

  15. welch says:

    nope, i’ve been through the resetting-the-power-manager drill and also the archive-and-reinstall-os drills long ago. save yourself some time, neither has any effect. applecare seems to be handing these out as a default “we have no clue, try this to keep you busy for awhile” solution to this problem

  16. Michael says:

    I found this at, on the apple support website in the discussions area for powerbooks and displays. I have tried it, started yesterday, but I am not sure if it has worked but I have not had the problem in the last 24 hours but it is still early days.

    Spoke to a Apple Care representative last night and he gave me the following recipe that seems to have solved my problem at least for now. Will post again if problem arises.

    1. If you have Bluetooth on, turn it off.

    2. Under the Energy Saver settings in the System Preferences. Go to the Options tab. Under this tab un-check:

    A) Wake when the modem detects a ring
    B) Wake for Ethernet network administrator access
    C) Restart automatically after pwer failure

    3. Under the System Folder Prefs, go to System Configuration and Trash the

    4. Turn Off computer. While off Press the SHIFT, CTRL, OPTION and POWER Button simultaneously.

    Hope this helps.

    P.S On the phone to apple support yesterday when this problem tried to loss all my research work and first they did not know how to report a bug second they did not know how to look up a bug and third if it was a software bug they wanted me to pay 35 quid before they would do anything. Now paying for help with a product is ‘ok’ but paying for a bug that they put into the product and is causing me problems and loss of time seams a bit backwards to me. I just refused to give them my credit card number and got as mch out of them as possible any one else think this is a little ‘shit’ or what?


  17. Tony says:

    So… yeah… I’ve tried all these fixes and nothing has changed… What do I do? Return the laptop?

  18. Michael says:

    Well The fix’s above have corrected the problem it has been quite some days and it has not happened once.

    Hope this works for some of you as well.


  19. Grant says:

    I recently bought a new PB 1.5 15″ – after my old PB 867 was stolen off my nightstand while i was sleeping – and have experienced this same problem.

    Symptoms: 3 seperate times over the last two week (i have had is for 1+ month now) the computer would not wake from sleep. All times the lid was open. I was eventually able to wake it from its slumber by a bit of shouting, unplugging an re plugging the power cord, and closing opening the lid a couple times. One of the times as soon as i unplugged the power cord it woke right up but can’t say for sure that did the trick the other two times.

    Environment: I think two out of the three times my computer either was very close to no battery life left or had auto-shut down. I believe i had just installed new software on two of the occasions. Had Mail/Safari/Word/Bluetooth/Airport/iChat going at the time.

    Seems like the common thread is that all the PB’s with this problem are 1-3 months old.

    I was just started to take to looks of the new AlPB when this started happening and now I am once again longing for my TiBook again!

    Will try the fix discussed and report back.

    Thanks, Grant

  20. Ken says:

    My 17 inch power book apeered to not wake up from sleep. Shining a bright light on the screen revealed that the computer had woken up and my desk top was slightly visable but the backlight was not on.

    I was able to log out and shut down properly. The backlight came on normaly when I turned the computer back on.

    Perhaps unrelated: I had just gotten my powerbook back from Apple because they had to replace my logic board for another problem. I don’t know why but,while Apple repair had my computer they replaced my Jaguar with Panther.

  21. Michael says:

    Please people try the fixs I have listed above and let me know, and everyone else, if they help fix the problem then maybe apple or someone can fix this for all MACOSX

  22. welch says:

    like i said, i’ve already been through all these things. they did not fix the problem. no surprises there — if applecare says they have no documentation on the problem, how on earth could they claim the above steps will “fix” it?

  23. Michael says:

    I think applecare just put it out there as a idea. All I know it that the basic steps helped fix the problem on my computer and as the problems are all so very simlare there must be a common area that we must be able to find.

    I may have done a disk check and stuff, plus move every thing out of the trash can and rename it.

    then restart as stated.

    Try that see if it helps.

    p.s. do you reeally care if apple fixs this as long as some one does!

  24. Dave Teatro says:

    I’ve come across your previous entry on the freezes several times when searching Google for lines from my system.log file, more specifically ” localhost Toast This: examineContext: null “, but because my freezes have been much more random (I can be doing anything and it will go) I never paid much attention to your problem (and final solution?). Now that I’ve read it all, I think our problems are one in the same. I can pinpoint when my freezes started and i’m positive it was the day I installed the Roxio Toast 6 pack. I am elated to think that this could do the trick, as my computer has frozen on me what has to be 15 times today (gone up a considerable amount from what is usually once or twice a day).

    Deja Vu is disabled and I will keep you updated.

  25. Pierre Igot says:

    Well, I completely removed Deja Vu a while ago and that didn’t completely eliminate the freezes. But it might have helped. I seem to have achieved more stability in recent weeks, especially now… It’s been 8 days since my last restart, and that restart wasn’t due to a freeze. If this keeps up, I’ll definitely have to incriminate Parliant‘s PhoneValet, which is the main thing that I still have off.

  26. mark says:

    Well, I have a brand new G4 dual 1.25 and started getting freezes right after I installed Toast. I only use OS9 so I’m using Toast 5.2.1 sometimes I have to do a hard restart 4 or 5 times just to be able to move the mouse. Sometimes the monitor doesn’t wake back up after shutting down. I haven’t owned this thing 2 weeks yet, buy I’ve erased the HD twice and reinstalled the OS then my software and both times only after reinstalling Toast, the problems start.

    What a Pain!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  27. Pierre Igot says:

    Christian: Definitely sounds like a drained battery to me :). I’ve had it happen to me a couple of times (because the cord was not plugged in properly, when I thought it was). When the battery charge becomes dangerously low while you are using the computer, you get a warning. But when it happens while the machine is asleep, obviously there is no warning and a few moments later, the battery becomes completely drained (sleep mode still uses some juice) and the computer becomes completely unresponsive until you plug it in properly again.

    Be glad your problem was so simple :).

  28. Christian says:

    Well, at least I know I’m not alone.

    However, I can’t get the bl**dy thing to reboot either! It just has the light going on and off. That is all. Lifeless otherwise.

    It seems that there is a real problem – and Apple aren’t doing anything about it. What a disgrace! I’ve been a lifelong Mac supporter. But my livelyhood depends on the laptop – and it seems knackered.

    So, if I can’t even restart the thing, how could I even do a clean re-install?

    I’m hopping mad (and so is my client who is waiting for the job to be done).

    PS: I’ve done no new installs or anything. This is not a software problem on it’s own, I’m sure.

  29. Christian says:


    Panic over. I’d started up my laptop with the power cord plugged in – but not pugged in at the socket. After xxx amount of attempts to reboot, I noticed my error and plugged it into the socket. After that, when I preesed for reboot the screen came to life.

    So, if there is a clue as to what might be the root cause (since software down’t seem to be the problem) is that is can get confused as to where the power comes from. In my case pretty obvious, but in others, it may well be a battery problem etc

    Good luck guys – I’m over the moon!

  30. welch says:

    a possible solution that is making the rounds is to change a power manager setting. from a terminal, type:

    sudo pmset -a lidwake 0

    This tells the powerbook not to wake up when the lid is opened, and instead wait until you hit a key. the theory is that a closed lid still has enough wiggle room that it may be triggering a wake from sleep when the powerbook is moved, getting into a wedged state as it bounces up and down. it’s too early to tell if this has really solved my problem, but so far so good. (saying that seems to be the sure way to bring on the bad luck, like saying “watch this” when throwing a frisbee).

  31. Leo says:

    I did whatl welch recommended and it’s worked so far (a couple days–not long enough).

    A friend told me about this website. Maybe it will help.

  32. Sam says:

    I am using a G4 dual 800 + Panther and experiencing the same problem of the screen not waking.

    I haven’t tried the solutions suggested here, but will and appreciate them being posted.

  33. welch says:

    the pmset command mentioned above worked for awhile, but things eventually went to hell either after one of the os updates or after getting airtunes/airport express. can’t say who to blame.

    i now avoid the problem by stopping itunes (a single key chord using sizzlingkeys4itunes from yellowmug software) and then manually putting the laptop to sleep with cmd-opt-eject before closing the lid. having a single-key-chord way to sleep makes things much less onerous (is this documented? i can’t remember how i learned about it, but have a hard time locating mention of it anywhere).

  34. Jose Cuevas says:

    I have to agree with welch. My problem actually happened when closing the lid and moving from place to place. In my case i started using a pad to protect the screen form the keys it so happens that the lid closes tight enough so there is no wiggle. For the past two months it have carried my pb from work to my home, to meetings and it wakes up fine. I’ll try the pmset trick.

  35. iPearX says:

    I have been having the “freeze on wake from sleep” issue on my 17″ 1.33Ghz powerbook. The machine sounds like it wakes up, the screen and backlight do not become active, and the caps lock/num lock lights still come on. I have done a complete reinstall of 10.3, and updated to the latest system version.

    After quite a bit of testing with my powerbook, I’m pretty confident the problem is the Airport connection. I can reliably cause the “not wake on sleep” by unplugging our wireless access point while the machine is in sleep. I suspect, if the computer looses the airport connection while the machine sleeps, it will not wake. Can anyone else confirm that the same thing happens?

    This would explain the randomness of the problem, although I’m not sure it *always* freezes when it looses connection, as I know I have changed locations and not had any problems when re-waking my machine (although it does freeze usually).

    I do have the following items running most of the time:
    Airport Express (set to “extend this network”)
    Little Snitch
    USB Overdrive
    Net Monitor
    Note that SideTrack is created by the author of uControl mentioned in some comments.

  36. varjak says:

    I have a powerbook 12” 867mhz and I’ve had this not-waking-up screen problem forever.
    The computer was sent twice back to Apple and because this problem is random, and they didn’t actually witness it, they never figured what was the problem.
    I changed battery and it didn’t help, although it got less frequent after that.
    I tried to set the power to never go to sleep or to frequently go to sleep but that doesn’t change much.
    It’s happening when I close the lid, but also when the computer is open and the system goes to sleep, or even when it’s awake but I move the computer. About 20 to 30% of the time.
    I never installed the Toast or DejaVu softwares so it can’t be that.
    I got to think that it might be a hardware failure and that Apple just doesn’t want to replace the entire computer when there’s this problem…

  37. Pierre Igot says:

    I think there have been too many reports by people with different machines… I suspect it’s a low-level bug in Mac OS X myself. (I had the problem on a desktop computer, not a laptop.) I also suspect it’s related to the login window — because ever since I disabled the logging-in requirement when waking up from sleep, I have not experienced the problem once. Of course, this is not really a solution for laptop owners or even for desktop owners in insecure environments…

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