Flashing Question Mark and cannot boot from OSX install disc

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by phstith, Nov 6, 2009.

  1. phstith macrumors newbie

    Nov 6, 2009
    My iBook G4, 1 GHz, 1.2 G RAM white plastic 2 USB purchased 2004 refuses to boot. When I try to use the startup disc, I get the "You need to restart your computer." message. The HD was replaced 2 years ago after a fatal crash. Has it happened again? That repair at an authorized dealer was so expensive I'll be halfway to a new laptop if I go back. I have been able to get it up 3 times since the problem started, so I suspected kernel panics or RAM problems. But not been able to run disc utilities--it just stares at me. Now can't get it to boot at all.

    Thanks for your help.
  2. BlueRevolution macrumors 603


    Jul 26, 2004
    Montreal, QC
    Nope, if you can't boot to the optical drive, the problem isn't with the hard drive. My guess would be that it's a logic board issue.
  3. phstith thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 6, 2009
    Thanks. Just to be certain I'm doing this correctly:
    When I try to boot from the disc, I'm inserting the OS X install disc, starting and holding down "C". Correct?
  4. webgoat macrumors 6502a


    Sep 20, 2007
    Austin, TX
    correct. you could also try holding option key on startup to see if the install disc shows up there as a bootable volume
  5. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    If you have been having problems, and the drive gets fragged ... you will not be able to boot from the DVD.

    If the HD is the active startup disk, it will try to load a file from the drive BEFORE it checks the key to boot from the DVD. If it gets corrupted info from the HD or has problems, it won't go any further.

    Only way around this is to remove the bad HD, put it in a case for repair. And with a laptop or iMac you might as well put in a new HD while you are there.

    With a tower, you remove the bad HD, restart the machine and select another drive to boot from and reinstall the bad HD.


    Note: don't pay someone to replace the drive for you, spend $50-75 and buy one and use the iFixit.com directions to replace it on your own. Plus you'll get a bigger drive than an Apple parts replacement, and no labor charges.
  6. phstith thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 6, 2009
    When I do this I get two boxes, one with a refresh arrow in it and one with a right pointing arrow in it. Clicking on the refresh arrow gives me a whirling watch hand for 30 seconds or so, then nothing. Clicking on the other arrow gives me nothing. What does this mean?
  7. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Looks like your logic board is fried or something :( There isn't much to do
  8. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    Personally, I'd replace the HD myself ... even if it isn't the HD you can probably use the larger drive, or put it in a case for use later.

    $50 for a new HD versus $350 for a do it yourself logic board.

    Hmmm. I'd likely skip replacing the part and look for the cheapest diagnostic solution... aka, put the internal drive in a case and take it to another Mac.


    Plus, the question mark, and the option restart is working ... if the machine also makes the sound while booting. It sounds like the logic board is working, and the HD isn't -- since the HD doesn't appear anywhere as a bootable volume.

    Spending $5-15 on an external IDE notebook USB case for the current drive, and taking it over to another Mac to see if it works is likely the cheapest solution to see what is wrong.


    Remember, a dead HD might work once in 15-20 restart attempts, and either begin booting and succeed or freeze and crash the machine.



    See the iBook G4 12" Troubleshooting Guide .... it mentioning bad HD.

    Installing iBook G4 12" 800 MHz-1.2 GHz Hard Drive Replacement


    Besides simple tools and the possible need for a small torx set, all you will need is a plastic spudger tool (the little plastic tool some people may use to scrape off thermal paste) you should be able to pick up at Radio Shack for a couple few bucks.

Share This Page