ARGH! Please help an iMac Newbie - comp won't start up!

Discussion in 'OS X' started by Catt, Jun 30, 2005.

  1. macrumors member

    May 21, 2003
    London, UK

    My Mum's iMac (one of the swivelling screen ones) has gone wrong (for want of a better word).

    I was just checking something on the internet and the spinning beach ball of death appeared. So I left for a bit and it came up with some error message and all the windows disappeared, the dock was still there but nothing would load and the task bar along the top had disappeared (the 'file' menu etc.). This has happened once or twice before so I thought nothing of it and swictched off and then back on again (which I have done before - no problems)

    But now it starts up to a grey screen with an strange icon of a folder - It has the Mac smiley face on it which flashes, alternating, with a ? mark.

    I have tried pressing the shamrock type key and holding down S at start up to try to get into the Unix disk checker utility but it doesn't work. It still goes to a grey screen and that icon. I have also held down shift during startup to no effect either!

    Has anyone experienced this before and is there anything that can be done? My mum hasn't backed up any of her files so a solution that preserves them is a must!

    Could it be a virus or something?

    Any ideas?

    Any help would be very, very, very much appreciated. Thanks very much in advanced.

  2. macrumors 6502a

    Apr 16, 2004
    Try this

    Put in the cd with disk utilities on it and hold down the 'c' key until happy Mac icon appears. This should boot you off the cd and then, run disk utilities and repair permissions. Sounds like your startup disk preference is not set and its looking for a system. Or try Safe Boot mode by holding down the shift key during startup.
  3. thread starter macrumors member

    May 21, 2003
    London, UK

    Started it up this morning and it just worked, took ages though - think it must have been scanning the hard drive or something. Bit of a relief!
  4. macrumors 6502a

    Mar 19, 2002
    Atlanta, GA
    That's great news, but I would strongly suggest you get yourself down to the Apple Regent Street store (or any electrical shop on Tottenham Court Road), purchase a LaCie external drive, plug it in to your mums iMac and backup her stuff forthwith!


    PS: Also, if she has .Mac membership, I'd download the Backup Application and run that on a regular basis.

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