Question Mark of Death

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by gurokevin, Jan 13, 2013.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Jan 13, 2013
    Ok, yesterday my wife was using her iMac and it was fine until she got a beachball for about 20 minutes. So she decided to turn it off. Then today she went to start it up and got a folder with a question mark on it.

    I have tried flashing the pram which didn't do anything.
    I have tried a whole host of different keyboard settings:
    Holding Option on start up (Nothing happened. just got my mouse curser)
    holding command + R on start up (Just went to the question mark folder)
    holding down shift on start up (Just went to the question mark folder)
    and a few other things.

    Nothing seems to work. All just goes back to the folder, what can I do?

    It is a 2009 24" iMac running Lion

  2. macrumors 6502

    Jan 3, 2012
    the EFI (Mac version of BIOS) can't find an Operating System.

    is it a fairly new one restart holding down the Option key, then go into disk utilities and fix drive /permissions.
    else get the original DVD and do boot from that (Holding down C key)

    It could also be, if you have had the hard-drive out that it's not connected (I had similar 2 days ago, changing some hardware, forgot to plug in the SATA cable when assembling)

    EDIT: just read it's a 2009 model, so put in the restore DVD holding in C-key as I wrote (not the OPT-key)
  3. macrumors 603


    Aug 19, 2008
    The Anthropocene
  4. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 13, 2013
    Never had the hard drive out. And I have tried holding option down and nothing happens. And I don't have an original start up disk either. And now with Lion and Mountain Lion, there is no start up disk.
  5. macrumors 6502

    Jan 3, 2012
    ok, then I have to go with the other poster, it's a dead drive.

    try get a hold of a different mac, then you can:
    Make a bootable disc
    Boot from a USB/External hard drive
    get into disk utility and chekc the drive status.

    but if you still have the original disc you can still use it, just to check the status of the drive.
    doesn't the original disc also contain the hardware test ?
  6. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 13, 2013

    I was hoping no one would say that. I was hoping for someone to give me the "magic" keyboard command. Anyways, I guess I am off to buy a new drive. Thanks for the help. If you think of anything else , let me know.

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