Flashing question Mark

Discussion in 'iMac' started by ZiaButt, Jun 26, 2016.

  1. ZiaButt macrumors newbie

    Jun 26, 2016
    Hi I have imac 24 6.1 starting up with continuous flashing folder with question mark on it? i cant see any other thing on it. i tries some tips by pressing and holding comand+R or comand+option+P+R and shift keys but none of them worked .... still blinking folder. i am using third party keyboard. also is it possible to download apple software from internet and used the downloaded cd to reinstall osx on this mac? regards Zia
  2. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Your hard drive is dead and needs replacing, i recommend a solid state drive as a replacement for an instant speed boost to your old machine.
  3. JohnDS macrumors 65816

    Oct 25, 2015
    Not necessarily. The blinking question mark means the Mac can't find a valid system. This may mean that your hard drive directory is corrupted, but your drive is physically okay.

    Boot into Recovery Mode by booting while holding down command-R. Choose Disk Utility. You will see two items in the top left window. One is your hard drive and the other (probably called Macintosh HD) is the logical volume. You need to try to repair both.

    Click on the hard drive and choose Repair Disk. If you are not using El Capitan, also note what the S.M.A.R.T. status is in the lower right corner of the main window.

    Then click on Macintosh HD and run Repair Disk again.

    If it completes and shows that your drive is repaired, try rebooting normally. Otherwise post back here with the results.
  4. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    The "flashing ?" means that the Mac couldn't find a valid system folder from which to boot.
    This may indicate a problem with the hard drive (hardware), or it may not.

    Just because the computer won't boot, don't automatically assume that the drive is dead or dying.
    Sometimes the software gets corrupted and the system folder is no longer seen as "valid" and bootable.

    In this case, you -might- be able to boot and get running again from an external bootable drive, but I'm going to guess that you don't have one?

    Having said all this, your iMac is 10 years old now. It very well -could be- a failing hard drive.
    It might be time to start thinking about something new (or newer) ...
  5. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Indeed, a flashing ? mark means the OS is not found on the boot device, and could be a number of things causing this, but given the age of the computer, I'd say the odds are high the drive itself has failed.
  6. Benjamin Frost Suspended

    Benjamin Frost

    May 9, 2015
    London, England
    I agree.

    And he's tried Command R which didn't work, so it's likely a dead drive.

    I once had an old iMac that gave me the flashing question mark, but I repaired it using DiskWarrior. Carried on for several years. But my last iMac died and gave me the question mark; drive clicked loudly at about 200 rpm.

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