image of folder with question mark

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by it5five, Jun 16, 2006.

  1. it5five macrumors 65816

    it5five

    Joined:
    May 31, 2006
    Location:
    New York
    #1
    Hi. I have a problem with an intel iMac. The computer has been working great until tonight. Something strange was happening. We started it up, and the HD was making a "clunking" sound while using itunes, and then the color wheel came up and we had to restart the computer by holding down the power button. When we started it back up, we hear the "clunking", then the ding, and then we get a grey screen with an image of a file with a question mark. We can't click anything, and it just stays on the gray screen with that blinking image of a folder. A quick response would be greatly appreciated, as it's my girlfriend calling me over the phone about it. Help!!!!!

    EDIT: Okay, we MIGHT still have this problem, so ANY help would be appreciated. I had her put in the disc that came with the iMac, and had her do the hold c key thing. But we didnt really do anything with it. I had her exit the installer because I don't have a Mac in front of me and I didn't want to mess up her computer more. So, we restarted the computer, and it started up okay and we got to the desktop. But if we can have a permanent solution to this it would be awesome. It's her first mac, and I've really built up the whole experience for her, and I'd feel kinda stupid if this iMac turns out to be a lemon. :(
     
  2. Nermal Moderator

    Nermal

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2002
    Location:
    New Zealand
    #2
    Open up Disk Utility and click the drive (eg. Maxtor 6L160....) and make sure it says "SMART Status: Verified" down the bottom.
     
  3. it5five thread starter macrumors 65816

    it5five

    Joined:
    May 31, 2006
    Location:
    New York
    #3
    and we open up disk utility by putting in the installer cd and holding c right? then we choose disk utility from the installer menu? I have to try to explain it over the phone so I want to be as specific as possible. thanks.
     
  4. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #4
    That's right, and while you're there, verify the disk too. :)
     
  5. it5five thread starter macrumors 65816

    it5five

    Joined:
    May 31, 2006
    Location:
    New York
    #5
    I'll go ahead and try it tomorrow when I have the chance. I'll post back with the results. Thanks.
     
  6. gman71882 macrumors 6502

    gman71882

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2005
    Location:
    Houston, Tx
    #6
    Any Clicks, or Clunks shouldnt be taken lightly: Hard Drive's usually begin to fail with this problem.
    The Computer isnt a lemon but the Hard Drive might be. Remember this: Apple Uses other Companies Hard Drives in their Systems (Seagate, Western Digital etc..).When They Fail it has little to do with Apple.
    Apple will replace the Hard drive with no questions if it fails, but its up to you to have your data backed up: Burn CD/DVDs or Write to an external Hard Drive.

    Checking the Smart Status is a good first step.
    Boot from the restore CD and when you get to the first install section Run Disk Utility. It is In the File menu section there under Utilities(i think).
    Verify/Repair the Disk, and check the SMART status. If there are any other problems Call AppleCare and report the problem.
     
  7. Copland macrumors regular

    Copland

    Joined:
    May 26, 2006
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    #7
    I recently had a similar problem, and what was wrong was the ATA cable connecting from the HDD to the Motherboard was not on tightly.

    But, since your drive is also making odd noises, I would guess that the HDD in the process of dying (as others have posted). If OS X loses contact with the main HDD when OS X is running, it will show the rainbow swirl, which is what you've experienced.
     
  8. it5five thread starter macrumors 65816

    it5five

    Joined:
    May 31, 2006
    Location:
    New York
    #8
    Alright, update time. When I started up the computer today the only sounds coming from the computer were regular computer sounds. I went ahead and verified the disk anyway to make sure there weren't any problems. Everything came up okay. So is it safe to assume that the problems were an isolated incident? If it happens again I'm definitely going to call Apple, but as of right now I will wait it out and see if it happens again.

    Thanks everyone for your help.
     
  9. patrick0brien macrumors 68040

    patrick0brien

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2002
    Location:
    The West Loop
    #9
    -it5five

    I wouldn't wait. As a fellow who works for an HD company, if you hear something funky at the same time something funky is happening, the rule of thumb is "get thee a backup, and start looking to replace"

    Modern HDs are designed to fail gradually - usually from the outside of the disk inwards, to give you time to "get thee a backup".

    So it's time. I'd clone it if you could...
     
  10. it5five thread starter macrumors 65816

    it5five

    Joined:
    May 31, 2006
    Location:
    New York
    #10
    Alright. Luckily we already have most of the important stuff backed up. I will do the rest tomorrow.I guess I'll call up Apple and be without the iMac for a couple days :( . But it's better than it messing up really bad later. Thanks
     
  11. myron cope macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2006
    #11
    I don't know if it's appropriate to bump this thread or not, but this is what I believe my problem is. I just ordered a Mac mini, and the first time I started it up, I was presented with the blinking question mark. So, I put in the disk, and went to the Disk Utility. It only presents me with the DVD drive, and the OS X disc in the drive. I imagine that a hard drive is supposed to be listed there. So, I am just guessing that a cable is loose. Is there some way I can fix this on my own? I tried calling tech support, but they aren't there yet. I held down D and ran whatever diagnostic that is, and it didn't find any problems. Holding X at boot doesn't seem to have any effect, and Command + Option + P + R didn't help either, but at least that did something.
     
  12. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #12
    If Disk Utility isn't finding the hard disk on a brand new Mac, then take it back ASAP. Apple should be pretty good about fixing or replacing it. :)
     
  13. myron cope macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2006
    #13
    It is refurbished, but I don't see why that would have anything to do with it. I'm around 45 minutes away from a Mac store, if I went to one could they fix it there? Or should I just send it to them and have it fixed? I hope it doesn't take as long, it feels like I've been waiting forever to get this, and then it doesn't work!
     
  14. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #14
    I don't know how Apple Stores work because we don't have any down here, but I wouldn't try and fix it yourself. It could get messy. :eek:
     
  15. patrick0brien macrumors 68040

    patrick0brien

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2002
    Location:
    The West Loop
    #15
    -myron cope

    There aren't any really easy answers here. The best thing to do is to tak it to the store and talk about it. they'll help. They may replace, or try to repair.

    Either way it is better than the alternative.
     
  16. myron cope macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2006
    #16
    Thanks everyone. I called Apple tech support, and he told me to take it to a repair center. So, I took it to a local CompUSA, and I suppose he's going to replace the hard drive. So now I have to wait until next Monday, but I suppose it will be worth it (at least I hope so)
     
  17. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #17
    Good luck with it, hopefully it'll get sorted. Keep us posted. :)
     

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