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Daniel
Daniel, Mac Genius
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 4759
Experience:  Apple certified on desktop and portable, help desk qualified. Have owned and used Macs since 1989.
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Mac desktop will not boot. Just comes up with what seems like

Customer Question

Mac desktop will not boot. Just comes up with what seems like a folder symbol with question? Help......
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mac
Expert:  Daniel replied 1 year ago.
Hello, my name is Dan.
I will do my best to help you, the only stupid question is the unasked one.

What that is telling you is it cannot find a system folder to boot from.
Do you have a USB keyboard, it works best with what I am going to ask you to do.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Has a wireless
Key board, m
Not sure what you mean by a USB keyboard
Expert:  Daniel replied 1 year ago.
A wired keyboard, wireless can work but timing is critical.
What version of OS X is on it?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I do have a USB keyboard. Operating system was upgraded to latest about 3 months ago so should be the latest version. I do not know the name and number.
Expert:  Daniel replied 1 year ago.
Ok, Scott. Plug that keyboard in and do a pram reset, this is the first step.

To do a PRAM reset, you need to restart your machine and hold down these 4 keys all together at the same time.
‘Option’, ‘Command (Cloverleaf or Apple)’, ‘R’ and 'P' all together at the same time.
Keep them down until you hear 4 startup chimes, this is the sound that your computer makes when it starts up, it is like a boonngg. The screen should also cycle from white to black and then back to white along with the chimes.
The sound should also get louder.

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If it is a Windows keyboard then substitute the Control key for the Command keyand Alt for Option, all others stay the same.

This resets all of the system buses on your computer, USB, FireWire, display, ethernet and your keyboard/mouse/trackpad.
This will correct many faults but not necessarily yours.


Try that and let me know. I need to post this as an answer but it may not be the final answer.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Heard the 4 chimes and removed my fingers from the specified keys. Screen did not go from black. To white and is now showing the folder with the question mark again
Expert:  Daniel replied 1 year ago.
Ok, power it off and using that same keyboard hold the Command and R down while starting up.
This should go to Recovery Disk.
This will allow repairs to be made on the hard drive.

Once there connect to your network and when a splash crenn appears it will have some choices, select Utilities.

You want Disk Utility.

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Do that and see if it will boot.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Held the specified keys down until the first chime, nothing is changed, folder with question mark....where did my folder go?


 


Should I have continued to hold the keys down until the splash Crenn appears, whatever that is.

Expert:  Daniel replied 1 year ago.
Yes, keep them pressed until a get screen appears that looks like this.

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Then use Disk Utility.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Kept them pressed and eventually the screen went to its usual, folder with question mark blinking. Will try again.

Expert:  Daniel replied 1 year ago.
You should see the normal startup Apple, this tells you that it is doing what it should be.
Start from off and keep those two keys pressed until that happens.
Command and R.
Then use the utilities, if that fails then let me know.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Held the Command and R on during off position and powered up. The same unfortunate result, no apple and it returns to the blinking folder

Expert:  Daniel replied 1 year ago.
I may not have been clear.
Turn the Mac off using the power button.
Now press and hold Command and R down, use the USB keyboard please, keep them pressed until the Apple appears before letting go.
Did you do that in that order?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Yes....I will repeat again as you ponder this circumstance.

Expert:  Daniel replied 1 year ago.
Ok, on to th next.
Do this as it says please.

  1. Shut down the computer.
  2. Unplug the computer's power cord.
  3. Wait fifteen seconds.
  4. Attach the computer's power cord.
  5. Wait five seconds, then press the power button to turn on the computer.

Then see what it does.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

As specified.....same result.....blinking folder with the question mark....

Expert:  Daniel replied 1 year ago.
How long have you had this iMac? What I am asking is did it come with grey installation disks?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

About 6 or 7 years ago.....I found 2 disks titled "for mac computers Mac OS X install disc 1 and disc 2


 


so I guess yes to the disc question


 

Expert:  Daniel replied 1 year ago.
Ok, now insert disk1 and hold the Option key, this should open the Startup Manager.

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Select the OS X DVD.

To boot from the installation disc and the Mac is on then start at step #1.

If your Mac is off or will not boot from the hard drive then goto step #3.

1. Insert disc #1, it can be the original that came with your Mac or it can be a retail version newer than the original that came with the Mac.

2. If the disc opens then click on the Install OS X icon, if it does not automatically open then double click the disk icon on the desk top and then click Install OS X.
Your Mac will restart using the install disk.

3. If your Mac is on but will not boot up then insert the installation disk and turn it off by pressing and holding the power until it shuts down.
Now press the power to start it and hold the 'Option' key until the startup manager appears.
If your Mac is off then press the power to start it up, immediately press and hold the 'Option' key for the startup manager.
Insert the disc and click the circle with the arrow to refresh and then select the installation disc to boot from.

Once your Mac is booted from the installation disk the next step is to open Disk Utility.
Click continue at the Language screen, the next screen will be the Welcome to OS X.
At the very top of the screen will be a menubar with 'Utilities', from that drop-down menu select 'Disk Utility'.
There will be a list of hard drives and optical drives on the left of the window, if your drive is in that list then click on it once to highlight.
Now click on the First Aid tab, at the bottom of the Disk Utility window you will see a button called Repair Disk.
Select that by clicking on it. It will either return that everything is okay or that some things were wrong and they were repaired or it found something wrong and it can do nothing about it.
If everything checks out okay or if it does the repairs you then want to repair the permissions.
There will be a button close to the list of drives that says Repair Permissions. Click that to selected and give it time.
There may be a long list of permissions that repairs or there may be only a few.
There will also be some that say SUID that will not be repaired if you have 10.5 or above.
Once you have completed this then you can quit Disk Utility and the installer.
Do Not Install Anything.
Simply restart your machine by selecting it from the menu bar.

Try that.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Disc 1 is in and it is the Mac OS X Leopard Installer


 


The beginning instructions were unclear. We may be close can we talk on the phone? I am holding and not hitting the continue button as I think the Leopard will overrite the newest OS X version.

Expert:  Daniel replied 1 year ago.
Click continue at the Language screen then there will be a menu bar with Utilities.

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Do that and when it finishes with the disk repair and permissions then just select quit and restart.
If it does not show a hard drive to do anything with it will require more than I can do from here.

I cannot call you, it is not something that is allowed.
Try that.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I am at "Welcome - Mac OS X Leopard Installer followed by 5 symbols, guessing one is the Utility one but am unable to click on any so I hit continue and next screen is English and I have a Disagree and Agree button....so I Agree and next screen is "Select a Destination" Where do you want to install Mac OS X? I am unable to click on anything but go back......

Expert:  Daniel replied 1 year ago.
You went too far, go back and at the top of the screen is the usual menu bar, there you will find what you see in this image.

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That is what you want.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


That screen never appeared. I will eject Disc 1 and reload.

Expert:  Daniel replied 1 year ago.
OK
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I could not get out of the install process or go forward for that matter and could not eject the disc. So powered off and re booted computer with disc 1 inserted...the Apple has shown up with the wheel spinning below and the computer spinning the disc. The screen turned blue and I get a change your batteries in the mouse message, pictorially, I already changed them, 5 minutes ago, new batteries, so simulated the change again


 


The Mac OS X screen is now up with the first line in the box being "Use English for the main language" with an arrow at the bottom to continue...I fear I will end up in the spot as before...no backwards no screen you would like me to see and not able to move forward....any hints

Expert:  Daniel replied 1 year ago.
Good, now click continue, the next screen will have the menu bar, select Utilities and choose Disk utility.
Repair the hard drive, it will be the top selection in the left windows. Click once on that and then on Repair disk in the lower right corner.
Repair Permission is just to the left, do that after it does the disk repair.

Let me know.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

as I wrote before see the below....that is the next screen...no symbol reacts to a click - I believe the symbols are Utility, Mail, Finder, iChat and a box of four symbols....none of these are executable. This is followed by the message - to quit, choose Quit Installer from the installer menu and click Startup Disk.....which is no where to be seen and then I will be blocked and not even able to eject the disc 1....yikes


 


I am at "Welcome - Mac OS X Leopard Installer followed by 5 symbols, guessing one is the Utility one but am unable to click on any so I hit continue and next screen is English and I have a Disagree and Agree button....so I Agree and next screen is "Select a Destination" Where do you want to install Mac OS X? I am unable to click on anything but go back......

Expert:  Daniel replied 1 year ago.
At the Welcome screen there is a menu bar at the top of the screen, just like there is when the Mac is working correctly.
That is where Utilities will be.
Can you see the images I sent?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Yes finally got the instructions....went to Utilities and Disk Utility but now have only have a message to "select a disk, volume or image with choices in another box Pioneer DVD RE DVR and Mac OS X Install Disc 1

Expert:  Daniel replied 1 year ago.
No hard drive? Then you have few choices.
Take it in for service or get better utilities.
It will run about the same in cost, if you take it in for service I recommend an Apple store or Apple authorized repair place, not Best Buy.

The utilities are $100.00 each, the first has a good possibility of fixing this, not 100%, more like 75%.
The other has a 98% chance of saving your data.

Your best bet is an Apple service for a second opinion.

Best I can do.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Good night.

Expert:  Daniel replied 1 year ago.
Good night and good luck.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Dan,


 


Just received a note from you. Thanks for following up however as far as I can tell from the email chain I read all email responses from you....your last being take it to Apple which is what I am doing.


 


You were persistent, knowledgeable, accurate in your directions but we failed. I am guessing the Just Ask business model must account for failure to solve a clients difficult at times. You cannot always be successful. Your rating was somewhere around the 94 to 95% success or satisfaction. Quite good. So what happens with a failure, I still pay, it must happen at times. Generally in my opinion not good for business, why would I come back with out a refund to my $58. My first experience with Just Ask, your patience and efforts were appreciated but if failure is not an option at times and the client still pays why would I come back or recommend Just Ask to someone looking for help. For my part I would not. I realize everyone needs to be compensated for their efforts, 2 hours on your part but as stated earlier compensation must have some % of percentage of failure embedded for reality. If not Just Ask sets itself up for bad experiences despite the best efforts of expert and client. Oh well.....

Expert:  Daniel replied 1 year ago.
I think that your hard drive has failed in some way, it may be savable, might not be but the tools needed you do not have.
That is why I suggested those utilities, I have them but I cannot share them.
To negotiate I suggest Customer Help | JustAnswer, they is a phone munber that you can call.
I do not do the bookkeeping part. I wish I could have fixed it but hardware is quite difficult long distance.

Thank you for the reply. My rating is higher but sometimes the answer is not what someone wants. It can be the only correct answer but to them it is unacceptable.
I do all I can to help, I can do no less.
WHat you decide to do is up to you, I have no say in that nor do I want one.

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Daniel
Daniel
Mac Expert
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Apple certified on desktop and portable, help desk qualified. Have owned and used Macs since 1989.