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Mike
Mike, Mac Support Specialist
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 2186
Experience:  Apple trained Technician, A+ Certified, 20+ years of Mac support, repairs, training, and consulting
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My Mac Power G3 shows only a bliking question mark in the monitor.

Customer Question

My Mac Power G3 shows only a bliking question mark in the monitor. Not desktop, only that. I just moved and when I started the computer I found this problem.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Mac
Expert:  Mike replied 8 years ago.
Hi.

The blinking Question mark indicates the Mac cannot find a hard drive to boot the Operating System from.

Since you indicated you just moved, I would open the G3 up and make sure all the cables look like they are connected firmly.

Also, while you have it open, turn it on and listen to the drive(s). Make sure they are actually spinning up. Your G3 is fairly old and hard drives have a life of around 3-5 years at best. It is very possible your hard drive has died.

While we can go back and forth on trying to see if it is dead or not, let's make sure the cables are tight and the drive is actually powering up.

Let me know,
Mike
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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I really dont know how to do that, I mean, what you said; open the Mac and listening if the drive is spinning. I think other person has to help me with what you are suggesting, but I appreciate your answer. As you say also, maybe something has moved inside, but I checked all cable outside and all are connected.
Expert:  Mike replied 8 years ago.
OK. I can explain better for you.

What G3 type Mac do you have? Is it beige or Blue and White?

If beige, then the hard drive is mounted below the top section. If you checked the cables, it is the silver rectangle on the base of the Mac, next to the logic board. You can turn on the Mac and listen to the drive by putting your ear close to it. If you hear a steady whining noise when you turn it on, then it may be OK and just a System software problem.

If you do not hear any noise, then the drive is most likely dead.

Another thing to listen for... clicking noise from the drive. If it is clicking, it is definitely dead and most likely gone for good.

If you have a blue and white G3, then it is harder to get to it to listen for noise. You should still be able to hear it spin up and then if it is clicking, with the door open you will hear it.

I hope this helps.
Mike
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I have a beige Power G3 and I will try it later what you say, but I am not sure if I have to pay for any time you answer me, and really I dont have money to expend now. But again, ty for your help
Expert:  Mike replied 8 years ago.
I will request a refund if you want.

You should not have Accepted the Answer if you did not want to pay yet.

Mike
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I did what you say and heard a steady sound, nothing bad, but the question mark is ion the monitor and I cant turn off the computer, only disconnecting the cable. I found also a three (3) color cable inside, close to the drive that is loose or not connected to other. I dont know if this is normal, it is close to the silver one
Expert:  Mike replied 8 years ago.
That cable is normal. If you heard the drive spinning then it is connected and starting up.

OK, Do you have a System Startup disk or installer disk for your Mac?

Do you have any Hardware test disk?

What version of System Software is on the hard drive?

Let me know each of these answers.
Mike
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I have only a 9.2.1 disc. That is only I have and my CD drive is nor working, I think. I only use this computer to design a magazine that I do.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
It looks now that my CD drive is working, because I could open it. Do you think I can try to installs again the 9.2.1 disc
Expert:  Mike replied 8 years ago.
This will be a problem to try and fix. If the CD drive is not working, then you will need to get the Mac to a repair shop that does Mac work in your area so they can get the drive out and try to fix it.

Do you have any backups?

Mike
Expert:  Mike replied 8 years ago.
Ok. I just saw your last post. Try to insert the 9.2.1 disk and see if it boots from the disk.

Mike
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

¨The CD drive opened and it looks it is working, but my question is now about what will happen if I installs again the 9.2.1

 

´Will it delete all my file I am afraid that could happen

Expert:  Mike replied 8 years ago.
Lets make sure you can get the installer to run... put the disk in and let it boot up.

Let me know if it does.

Mike
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
The CD is inside but the installer is not running. Maybe a cable is loöse iínside, I told you that lillet 3 color cable that is not attached to any part. I think I need to the repair store
Expert:  Mike replied 8 years ago.
Please try to calm down. I am goingt o have you run a utility not the installer. Your files will be fine if the Hard drive is not damaged.

Did the computer boot up to the Finder?

Can you see the CD on the Desktoip?

Or is it still blinking the ?

Let me know.
Mike
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

It is still blinking and the computer didnt boot up to the Finder¨. I dont know what else to do

Expert:  Mike replied 8 years ago.
OK. You will need to take it in to have it looked at. The CD should boot the Mac to the FInder. In the Fidner we would use Disk First Aid to see if we can find anything wrong with the disk. If it is OK, then we re-install the Operating System, with no loss of your files.

But we NEED that CD drive to work.

Try once more. Turn Mac off by holding in the Power Button until it shuts off. Make sure the OS 9 disk is in the drive.

Turn on the Mac and immediately hold down the C key.

See if the Mac boots up.

Let me know,
Mike
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
We did, what I have now if the 9.2.1 disc with the information to install it . and the little clock is working like telling it have more , I also see the Finder up and the time and the trask on the desktop that has a background with several CD imagines
Expert:  Mike replied 8 years ago.
OK. Open the CD disk icon and look for a folder called Utilities.

In this folder is an application called Disk First Aid.

Open Disk First Aid and see if the Hard Drive shows up to be repaired. If it does, click on it and click on Repair.

Let me know how it works.

Mike
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
The little clock is spinning and it says 7 items up and now it has 5, slowly it has been appearing Now there are 7 items, but I dont know which is the hard drive. One said Drive Setup and the other Drive Setup Guide. Is it Drive Seupt the Hard Drive
Expert:  Mike replied 8 years ago.
No, you want Disk First Aid, in that same window.

Mike
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
It doesnt open yet, it is highlight but not opening maybe not repaired yet
Expert:  Mike replied 8 years ago.
You have to open the application Disk First Aid and then you can try to repair the Hard Drive.

Find the application and open it. At the top of the window there should be icons for the CD, the Hard Drive, and then you click on the Hard Driive and click on the Repair button.

Mike
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
oh, the disk first aid is opened and the Finder and all other information up dissapeared. The only CD I saw is that os Mac 0S 9.2.1 at the top of the window. Do I have to click on it
Expert:  Mike replied 8 years ago.
Is there anything else there? No hard Drive called Macintosh HD next to the CD icon?

Mike
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Nothing, oonly that and the trash down, and suddenly the First Aid quitted and computer sai because an error No. 15 and I clicked again and again is opened but the same, nothing else
Expert:  Mike replied 8 years ago.
OK.

Then the Hard drive is damaged. You will need to take it in to a repair shop to have it looked at.

Sorry I cannot help any further. This drive seems to have gone bad.

Mike
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Ok,ty so much for your help. Hope I didnt lose my files. Do you think my files are lost?
Expert:  Mike replied 8 years ago.
You have two options as far as the files go....

Send the drive to a recovery service like DriveSavers. They can find and copy the files off for you. Downside... very expensive.

Or...

Go to a repair shop that specializes in Mac repair. They should be able to run a recovery program to see what happened to the drive and hopefully recover the files.

I cannot guarantee that your files will ever come back. I can only hope that the drive is just confused and a good tech looking at it can get them for you.

When this is all done, please get a backup drive and copy your files onto it on a regular basis. That way you always have something to go back to if this happens again.

Mike
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Oh, my God!!! Terrible. Hope I can recovere my files, there are 27 years of work there. Well, not with the computer, but my archives of things. Ty so much for your help. God bless you,

 

Belkis