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Ashik, Mac Technician
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 10821
Experience:  Bachelor of Computer Application (BCA), 9+ Years of Experience in troubleshooting Macs, iPhone, iPad, iPod etc
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I have an 20" iMac computer that boots to the apple logo screen

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I have an 20" iMac computer that boots to the apple logo screen with the loading circle. It then goes to a blue screen with nothing. Model A1174
Hi and Welcome. My Name is XXXXX XXXXX I look forward to assisting you today with your question.

This usually happens if your Mac is trying to load the OS X and it can't. First, we need to find out the OS X version, so we can move to the right direction.

Since you don't know the version number, I've few questions.

When did you purchased your Mac ? Does any discs came with your Mac ?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

purchased second hand. I'll have to see if I can find any discs.


I got the following info from the model #, not sure if that helps any.


X 10.4.4 (8G1165)X 10.6.8*
Hi Steve, It helped. Thank You. Your Mac must have the version upto only 10.6 Snow Leopard. Since you don't have the discs handy, we can try some basic troubleshooting steps and see if that works or not. First reset the PRAM and NVRAM of your Mac.

  1. Shut down your Mac
  2. Locate the following keys on the keyboard: Command (Apple), Option, P, and R.
  3. Turn on the computer.
  4. Press and hold the Command-Option-P-R keys. You must press this key combination before the gray screen appears and before the chime sound.
  5. Hold the keys down until the computer restarts and you hear the startup sound for three times.
  6. Release the keys and let the Mac bootup.

If that didn't work, then boot your Mac into Safe Mode. Turn off your Mac. Turn it back on and immediately hold down the Shift key on your Keyboard. Release the Shift key when you see the gray Apple and progress indicator. Let the Mac boot up to Safe Mode.

Please let me know how it goes.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Reset pram resulted in same blue screen.


I started into safe mode, however, the screen has been on the apple logo loading screen for almost 10 minutes now. Not sure how long it should take.

It will take max of 30 minutes to boot into Safe Mode. Did you find the discs ?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

OK, I'll leave it running. And I'll keep looking for those discs.

If Safe Mode didn’t work, then we can run Disk Utility from Single User Mode. Follow the steps below to run Disk Utility in Single User Mode.

Turn your Mac off. Turn it back on and this time hold down the Command (Apple) key and the S keys at the same time. This will boot your Mac into Single User Mode (black screen with white letters). Then type the following commands...

/sbin/fsck -fy (note the space between fsck and -fy)

If you can't run /sbin/fsck -fy then type only fsk - fy

Hit return and the disk utility should run and let it finish. When it finishes and there is no error, then type reboot and hit return. Let the Mac boot up. If you got any errors from Disk Utility, please let me know.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Safe boot did not work (after 3 hrs).


Single User Mode came back with a folder with question mark. I could hear the hard drive reading for a while and then the icon appeared on the screen.


I haven't found cd's yet, but I've got one more spot to look.

Hi Steve,

Folder with question mark ?!! That is bad. The folder with Question mark indicates that your Mac can't find the startup disk, i.e the hard drive to boot the OS X. I know you are not going to like my answer, but I've to be honest with you. It usually happens if the hard drive is failing. But it possible that system files are corrupted too. In both cases it will show the folder with question mark.

We need the discs to continue further. If you get the disc, just put the OS X disc 1 on your Mac. Restart and hold down the C key on the Keyboard. This will boot into the Mac OS X Installation screen. Then follow the onscreen instructions to reinstall your Mac OS X. If you are unable to install OS X, then click on Utilities menu in there and select Disk Utility.

Can you see your hard disk in Disk Utility, in left column ?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Can't find cd's so I'll have to pick some up. Can I get any version of Snow Leopard to work with this iMac? Just let me know what version I need and I'll buy it and try it out. I guess I'll need it either way- to repair the hard drive or reinstall OS onto a new one.

Not all version of Snow Leopard will work, but only the Retail version or the Restore discs for the exact model of your iMac will work. Snow Leopard discs for other Macs won't work. You can buy the 10.6 Snow Leopard Retail discs from here :

You can also buy the Snow Leopard Retail Disc from eBay or Amazon too

If you are unable to install Snow Leopard, then try to erase the hard drive with Disk Utility by booting into the disc. If that didn't work too, then you will have to replace the hard drive.

If you have any questions or need help further, please don't hesitate to let me know.

Best Regards,
Ashik and 3 other Mac Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I downloaded Snow Leopard 10.6.3. Is there a way to put it on a usb drive and boot from there? I know there are some programs to burn dmg in windows, but it can sometimes be buggy.

Hi Steve,
I'm very sorry for the delay. No, USB won't work properly. You have to burn them to the disc. If you have access to other Mac, then you can burn the DMG file to the DVD with Disk Utility application. Let me know if you need help with that.

Best Regards,
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I got a Snow Leopard disc. 10.6.3 I hold down "C" to boot from cd, but the screen is just white for a while.


I then get the "no" symbol with a status bar below.


The disc was burned on a DL DVD, will the mac read a DL disc? I'm assuming it will since the program itself is around 5.5gb.


Will it recognize a usb dvd drive? I can try that in case the drive inside the mac is faulty.


Anything else to try?

Hi Steve,
Yes, Mac can read DL discs. It seems like your Mac can't read that particular disc since it was not original. But it is supposed to work. Try this. Put the disc to your Mac and turn it off. Turn it back on and immediately hold down Option key on your Keyboard. This will bring Startup Manager. From there, select Mac OS X Install disc and press return.

The Mac OS X Install disc will appear only if your Mac recognizes it. If it didn't recognize it, try burning the Snow Leopard to different brand discs

I didn't try to put Snow Leopard on USB yet, but I've found this :

Its worth a try. Let me know how it goes Steve.

Best Regards,
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I used TransMac to create a bootable usb stick. I used the option key, but eventually get the "no" symbol again.


Even if it doesn't recognize one drive, shouldn't it at least display the drives I can boot from? Should I try an earlier version of Snow Leopard?


If the hard drive is bad, would this stuff still work or will I have to replace the drive first?

No, it won't show the drives unless there is no boot files in it. It seems like your Mac is not recognizing the files inside the drive. Even if the hard drive is bad, you will be atleast able to boot into the installation screen. Then open Disk Utility and if you can't see your hard drive there, then it is bad. So you will have to replace the hard drive.

Isn't there any way to get the Original disc of Snow Leopard ?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I have a Snow Leopard install that works now.


My next issue is that at installation, I get a warning sign that states OS cannot be installed b/c the partition is not correct for mac.


I used Disk Utility to erase the volume and set as Mac OS Extended. I restarted install and I get same warning message.


How do I format this drive to be able to use on mac? Are not all sata drives compatible?

Hi Steve,
In Disk Utility, select the main hard drive (not the partition under it). Then erase it as Mac OS X Extended.

Did you purchased new hard drive ?

You need to buy the 3.5" SATA Drive for your Mac

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

This drive is a used one pulled from a windows desktop. It's a good drive (tested with crystal disk info).


I go through the steps to erase the drive, but still get error message.

That is supposed to work and your drive is being recognized. Goto Partition tab, select Partition 1 and select Mac OS X Extended there and click Apply. Any change ?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No luck. I used the partition tab and I still got error message upon entering installation.

Are you sure that is a working hard drive ? Any way to try another hard drive ?

Or can you take it out and put it back and make sure connections are OK ?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Something is up with this system.

I've got a used drive that I pulled from another windows computer that I know was good.

After erasing the drive and creating a mac partition, I get the same error about not being able to install on this drive.

Same as the 3 pictures from previous post.

Hi Steve,
Since it is recognizing the hard disk, it must be the partition problem. Goto Disk Utility, select your hard disk in left column, click on Partition tab and select 1 Partition. From the Partition Scheme pop-up menu, choose "GUID Partition Scheme". Erase it and install. Did that work ?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Think I got it.

The GUID Partition Scheme was not in a pop-up menu, but below the white box where partitions are labeled in the button labeled "options".

Once I changed from MBR to GUID, it seems to be installing.

For different version, it is in different places. It is supposed to set as default. Let it complete the installation. Good Luck Steve..
Ashik and 3 other Mac Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

It seems that the power supply was also bad, as it quit powering on.

Here's where I'm at:

I ordered a new power supply and after install the mac booted up. I shutdown, unplugged power, grounded myself and put everything back together. Upon restart, I got the screen with ? folder flashing. I put my install disk back in and booted to it and reinstalled the OS. Install went fine and I was able to use the OS. I shutdown and turned back on- got the folder again. I again booted to install disk and used disk utility. Using verify and repair disk, they both said that drive appears to be ok. Tried to boot into safe mode and either it won't or not recognizing keyboard. The hard drive is new/tested.

When I install the os, I can use it fine. But it's when the unit is powered down and restarted that it cannot boot. Could there be something wrong with a boot order?

Hi Steve, I believe it is related to Logic Board. Turn it off. Turn it back on and immediately hold down the Option key on your Keyboard. Keep it held down until it shows Startup manager screen. Can you see your hard drive there ?

That would tell whether it is a boot order problem or some other problem.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Couldn't get anything to come up that way.

However, I reset the pram (let it cycle twice) and then it booted into os with no problems. I turned it off and back on, and got the ? folder again. Resetting the pram did get the os to come up. Hope that helps figure this out.

Can you take out the RAMs and then reseat them ?

Goto System Preference > Startup Disk and make sure Macintosh HD is selected there.

Best Regards,
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I reseated the ram with the same result.

When I got into system preferences it looked like the network was selected to boot from. Changed to HD and selected restart and it booted back to HD. After power down, however, it started back up to the ? folder. Seems like it's not remembering where to boot from.

Hi Steve, I just don't understad why it is not booting properly. Yes, it is not remembering where to boot from. But it should show the hard drive when you hold down Option key key while startup. Can you put the other HD, format it and install OS X on it and see if that works or not ? That should tell us whether the problem is with your Mac or with the hard drive

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