Flashing Question Mark, "New to me" computer

Discussion in 'iMac' started by temjin09, May 21, 2008.

  1. temjin09 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 21, 2008
    #1
    Hello I am new to the forums and new to mac, (although I have always admired them from afar:))
    Anyways, my brother works in an IT department at his school and saved a g4 Imac for me that was going to be dismantled for some reason or another. He said it was fine and just needed an operating system reinstalled. I brought it home and I get the flashing question mark which I have been reading about. I put in a Tiger OS X 10.3 install disc, restarted and held down the C button like I have read. I takes about 20 secs and then spits out the dvd. My friend came over with his discs just to make sure that it just wasnt my disc. Same thing. Is there something I am missing. Please help!

    (My brother does not know a lot about computers although he does work in IT, so he is no help :) he just moves stuff)
     
  2. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #2
    I'll walk through some of the obvious questions.

    1) Do you know which iMac G4 this is? Not all of them have DVD drives... if you have one that only has a CD drive, obviously it is not going to boot off your DVD. ;) You can use this list to help figure out which one you have:

    http://lowendmac.com/imacs/index.shtml

    2) Do you have a black Tiger DVD or a grey one? If it's grey, then it's a system restore disc and it will only work with the computer with which it shipped, and not any other computer (and you also only have a license to use it for that purpose). So you either need the black disc (retail box) or the grey ones that belong to that iMac G4 revision.

    Side note: Tiger is 10.4, not 10.3
     
  3. cal6n macrumors 68000

    cal6n

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2004
    Location:
    Gloucester, UK
    #3
    My first thought is that both the hard disc and the DVD drive have died. The Sony DVD drive in my sister's G4 iMac died recently and a brief tour of the internet revealed that it's a common fault. If it died in a school computer, such as you currently have, it might not be noticed until it was needed to reinstall software, as it would be if the hard disc failed.

    If you have access to another PPC Mac, you could try putting your iMac into firewire target disc mode and booting the Tiger disc (10.4, incidentally) on the other Mac with it connected. This would allow you to run disc utility or even reinstall the software on your acquisition.
     
  4. temjin09 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 21, 2008
    #4
    Thanks for the fast reply. Sorry about, yeah I realized that it wasnt tiger after I reread my post:)

    On the bottem of the computer it says:
    1.25GHz/528Ram/80GB.

    I matched that with a G4, which has a dvd drive. So...I must not be using the right disc then? How would I go about install an operating system then if the computer currently does not have one?
     
  5. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #5
    Okay, right. That Mac should definitely have a DVD player, and it should definitely be able to run either Panther or Tiger, although Panther retail discs may not work, because they're older than that Mac is.

    Well, if your install discs are grey, then you really need to come up with a valid set of discs. Options include eBay, our sales forum, or possibly calling Apple and seeing if you can order replacement restore discs for that iMac (I think they do this for around $15-20). I think Tiger retail discs are not super expensive now.

    What cal6n is a good point too. Firewire target disk mode would at least help you figure out if you have a working drive.
     
  6. temjin09 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 21, 2008
    #6
    hmmm yeah the discs are definatly grey...And I dont want to spend money purchasing disc if I my hard drive is toast (but I guess I would have to purchase them anyways later) I was reading about the firewire connection method, but like I said eariler, I am new to mac, thus I have no other macs (I guess I could ask my friend to come over with this macBook) Can a mac and PC be connected using an ethernet cable? Would that have the same result?
     
  7. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #7
    No... the whole point is to use the other Mac to access the Mac drive on your iMac. It doesn't work over ethernet (for what it's worth), but more importantly, it really wouldn't do you any good unless the other computer were a Mac anyway.

    EDIT: If you don't have any other macs, where did the install discs come from, anyway?
     
  8. temjin09 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 21, 2008
    #8
    In my first post, I mentioned that "my friend came over with his disk" :)
    Anyways thanks for the advice, I didnt expect so many helpful replies so quickly. I really am new to macs and so I appoligize if my questions seem stupid. I'll see if I can get my friend to bring over his laptop. Are there anyother ways to check the HD besides firewire?
     
  9. temjin09 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 21, 2008
    #9
    Well its still not working...
    With the firewire target mode, I can see that I have a hard drive. I tried reformating it, and restoring it using disk utilty. Still nothing. Then I tried carbon copy to create a bootable image of my friends laptop, which finishes about 90% of the way then gives me an error. Any thoughts? (ones that dont involve me purchasing a CD/DVD.)
     

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