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John T. F.
John T. F., Mac Druid
Category: Mac
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Experience:  20+ years in the computer/Mac industry
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When I turn on my desk top Mac, I get a screen with a flashing

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When I turn on my desk top Mac, I get a screen with a flashing folder with a question mark on it. I have tried turning it off and rebooting but no change. Is there anything else to try or do I need to take it I for repair? Will I lose everything on it ? Thanks
Hello! My name is XXXXX XXXXX self-employed tech, and I'm offering my time in good faith today to provide advice and information.

Do you know what version of OS X is running on this Mac?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX have the installation disc for Leopard available?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I have been looking for the disc but cannot locate it.
Okay, this may limit what we can do as far as troubleshooting. Can you tell me the specific model of iMac or the date of purchase?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I seem to have info on every other Mac I ever purchased except this one. I bought it in Dec 2008/Jan 2009. It is a desk top flat screen.

First turn off the iMac.

Power it back on and as soon as you hear the startup chime, press and hold the following keys:


Hold them until you hear the startup chime a second time and then let go.
See if it will boot normally.

If not:

Shut off the iMac.

Unplug the iMac's power cord.

Wait fifteen seconds.

Attach the iMac's power cord.

Wait five seconds, then press the power button to turn on the iMac.

Let me know if there is any change.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
did get a louder chime but still habeas the flashing folder
Thanks, Cathy.

Prior to this issue occurring, was the iMac behaving oddly in any other way?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
it had trouble reading a DVD, saying it was a blank disc. It did have the flashing folder screen several months ago but I turned it off and it rebooted as usual.
Okay, please turn the iMac off.

Restart it and immediately hold down the OPTION key and you *should* see a boot menu listing any valid, bootable volumes in the computer. Does anything show up on this menu?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
got a cursor on the screen but otherwise blank

Without the Leopard install disc it's very hard to make a definitive diagnosis but this is likely a failure at the hardware level.

There's a chance it could be a software issue, correctable with the install disc, but more than likely it is a defect either in the hard drive itself or the mainboard controller.

In that case, it is not user repairable and would indeed require a trip to the nearest authorized Apple repair center.

If the problem is with the hard drive itself then the data on the drive may be lost. If it is a problem in the mainboard then your data is likely safe on the drive itself and can be recovered.

Unfortunately, I can not be more certain of the above as we were unable to run some standard tests. If you'd like to continue to search for the Leopard disc, we can certainly do so at any time but at this point there is nothing else I can recommend to you.

Hopefully, this info will answer your question. If you continue to have questions on this topic, just reply back to this discussion. I will be more than happy to work with you further.

Thanks and good luck,

NOTE: The site has recently implemented a new rating and feedback system. Please be aware that you are rating my courtesy and service as a professional, and not other factors outside my control (such as hardware failure or lost discs). If you have any questions whatsoever, or there is anything I can clarify for you, please temporarily bypass the rating system by clicking “Continue the Conversation” or "Reply To Expert". Clicking either of the lowest two options reflects poorly on me as a working individual, so please reply to me if there is anything else I can do to help before choosing those options. I appreciate your patience on this matter.

John T. F. and other Mac Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks for your help. I will take it in.
You're welcome! I'm sorry we couldn't get a little further with it but hopefully they can get you squared away rather quickly.