Flashing question mark and disk utility can't find the harddrive?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by MacUser7787, Sep 28, 2012.

  1. MacUser7787 macrumors newbie

    Sep 28, 2012

    I'm new here but would like some help with my iMac, would be much appreciated.

    So this is my computer:
    iMac Aluminium 20" 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 1GB / 250GB / SuperDrive / AirPort Extreme / Bluetooth / ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT 128MB

    which I bought in end of 2008 so it's quite old already. It's worked we'll until today when I tried to start it and received a message with a blinking question mark in a folder.

    I have been reading other people's responses here and have tried booting the disk, reinstalling my operating system, the PRAM thing and nothing seems to work. I can access disk utility when I insert the reinstallation DVD but it still doesn't find my harddrive so I can't repair it. Does anyone have any other suggestions on what I could try or has my harddrive completely failed?

    I should mention that I've backed up my important stuff so I'm not too fussed about recovering lost files just want the computer to work again.

    So my second question is, if the harddrive has failed is it worth replacing it in a computer 4 yrs old? And if so does anyone have an idea on how much I should expect to pay?

    Thanks so much really appreciate any help!
  2. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    Most likely the HDD is dead.
    Fixing vs buying new depends on what you do with it.
    If you aren't doing anything challenging it might be worth fixing.
    a new HDD isn't that expensive these days.
  3. Rbastid macrumors newbie

    Oct 8, 2012
    I just had the same problem on a 2006 MBP I reballed, don't see how the HDD would have died since it was never taken out of the computer when I did the repair.

    I opened the disc utility from the DVD and it didn't recognize the HDD, but I had the computer open and while booted from the DVD I unplugged the HDD and plugged it back in, the computer reset itself and loaded to my normal desktop with my files showing, but when I tried to eject the DVD I got the rainbow swirl and it wouldn't go away, so I restarted the computer, when I restarted it just ended up loading the DVD again and again it didn't show my HDD.

    Guess you can try what I just explained and I'd gather it would mean your HDD isn't dead, since it can still be accessed with some fussing around.

    I've read something about trying to load with the PRAM battery unplugged, but I've yet to get the chance to do it.
  4. volcomfever macrumors newbie

    Apr 11, 2012

    When OS X boots up to a Blinking or flashing ?, it's basically the OS saying it can't find an operating system to boot too..so it doesn't know what to do, hence the blinking ?

    If you can boot to a known good OS, like reinstallation media or an external HD and your HD isn't mounting, or just isn't showing up at all, 9 times out of 10, you need to replace your HD. They are not expensive these days and you can probably increase the capacity up to 500 or 1 TB for not that much at all. The problem with iMacs is having the confidence to opening it up and replacing the drive. Replacing the HD on most iMacs, even newer ones, is quite easy. Just look for the service guide online and it will guide you through it. The hardest part is getting the screen off, but after that, it's quite easy.
  5. Rbastid macrumors newbie

    Oct 8, 2012
    Yesterday I decided to send away for a new HDD and HDD cable since they're cheap enough and if worse comes to worse could be resold.

    The HDD started up twice, once when I finished balling and put everything back together, but when I did the keyboard came loose so I couldn't power down, so I had to take the battery out and after that I had the problem, so I can see that corrupting a file. The second time I booted from the DVD and when it didn't show up in the device manager I unplugged the HDD and plugged it back in, the computer reset and I was back at the Desktop, but when I tried to eject the DVD it froze. The HDD didn't bootup when installed or in an outside external case, but it is starting up and spinning.

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