Grey Screen Question Mark Of Death

Discussion in 'iMac' started by seanpholman, Jul 4, 2012.

  1. seanpholman macrumors regular

    Jul 2, 2007
    Huntington Beach, Ca
    Hey guys,

    I have a mid-2007 iMac running the latest version of OSX (10.7.3?) and today it froze up while browsing the net so I did a hard restart and it got stuck on the Apple logo. After an hour on the Apple logo, I restarted again only to get the dreaded flashing question mark/folder.

    I unplugged everything for 20 minutes and restarted, still question mark.
    I tried re-booting in "safe" mode, still question mark.
    I zapped PRAM, still question mark.
    I tried Command-R to do an internet recovery, still question mark.

    I am guessing my hard drive died, which I suppose is not the end of the world since I regularly back things up on TM, but I was hoping this computer would last until the refresh in September.

    Any other helpful hints? Could it be something other than the hard drive, like corrupt permissions or something?

    I do have my Snow Leopard disk, is it possible to attempt a boot from that CD, even though the computer is on Lion? If I was able to re-install Snow Leopard and update it back to Lion, would it be possible to recover from my TM backup?

    Thanks for any help or insight.

  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    It's probably the hard drive and yes, a SL disc should be bootable.
  3. seanpholman thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 2, 2007
    Huntington Beach, Ca
    Okay, I booted from the SL disk and I am guessing that my hard drive has failed. Under Disk Utility, the name of the HD is "Media" and is says "0" for total capacity. Crap.

    So what's the next step? Since I know my system is backed up on TM, I guess my options are to a) get a new HD or b) get a new computer.

    My first hard drive crash ever. How easy is it to transfer everything from Time Machine to a new computer?


  4. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    Actually with your model it isn't that difficult to do a DIY replacement of the hard drive, and they are relatively cheap. Much cheaper than a new iMac. And it's very easy to transfer your stuff from TM: once you get the system software installed just do migration assistant. Or, since it's the same machine, you could restore. Not sure which is fastest.

    Check out; they've got repair instructions.

  5. Luap macrumors 65816


    Jul 5, 2004
    The same thing happened to my 07 iMac about a year ago.
    I replaced the drive myself. It's a little tedious to do, but not too bad if you are at all handy with things like this. But allow yourself an hour or more. And the drive itself was very cheap also (It's your common 3.5" sata HD)
    The original drive in mine was a Western Digital Caviar 320gb (green?) Unknowingly, the replacement I ordered happened to be exactly the same kind, but 500gb.
    I restored it from my TM backup with no issues at all.

    Failed HD's are a good opportunity to upgrade of course. Maybe to an SSD. But like yourself, im looking to get a new iMac whenever new ones happen to be announced. So a regular replacement HD was all my current iMac needed for the time being.
  6. seanpholman thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 2, 2007
    Huntington Beach, Ca
    Yeah, thought about ordering the tools and everything from Looked a bit tedious, but nothing too bad. On a whim I stopped by the local Mac Mall brick and mortar (figured no sense going to Apple if there wasn't a warranty anymore), and got a Seagate Barracuda 500GB (on sale!) to replace the failed WD 320GB. They told me it would only cost $59 for them to replace it, so my out the door cost was $145 and it was done in a little over an hour. Hard to beat that. They even reinstalled Lion to save me the hassle, even though I didn't ask for it. Time Machine is now restoring from backup and I'll be up and running in about an hour. Pretty painless for a HD failure if you ask me.

    Hopefully I can get another year out of it before I upgrade. I don't think that will be a problem. Apple makes a quality machine.

    Thanks for the help everyone.


Share This Page