iBook: flashing question mark folder on startup

saint

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 17, 2002
161
1
Sydney
Big problem with my iBook. When I turn it on, all I get is a flashing question mark/ Mac OS icon, which of course means it can't detect a system folder.

When I startup from a CD, it says the hard disk is unreadable, would I like to initialize it? (NO!! :eek: )

The Apple Hardware Test tells me everything is ok.

I will probably take it to a service centre in the next couple of days, but can anyone tell me if there is a quick fix to this, or anything else I should try?

And do you reckon I will ever see my data again? I hadn't backed anything up.

Please help!!

This is what I look like at the moment --> :(

saint
 

e-coli

macrumors 68000
Jul 27, 2002
1,836
776
Try running Norton Disk doctor on it. It might at least get it to a readable status. (then back up your hard drive, reformat it , and never use norton again; IMHO)

Other than that, you're drive sounds like it's toast. :(
 
OUCH!!

I had that happen to me one time, I lost everything I had in X! All I could get too was OS 9 from its boot CD that was the only data I could save. IF there is alot on that computer try and get someone to get your files off it cause you are going to lose EVEYTHING!!!! When this error happens the only thing you can do is re install OS X so you will lose everything! Call one of these data saving companies it might be the only way.

Some advice: Next time back up monthly or weekly depending on what you do.
 

saint

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 17, 2002
161
1
Sydney
Thanks guys. I will try and find my Norton CD and run that.

I hope this sort of thing is covered by AppleCare.

:(
 

saint

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 17, 2002
161
1
Sydney
OK, the iBook is at the repairs now. I will probably get a new hard drive for free, but they are not optimistic about recovering my data.

So I have 2 pieces of advice for everybody:

1) Always back up your disk. You might think that this will never happen to you. Well that's what I thought too.

2) Get the full AppleCare protection plan. Fortunately I am covered by the 3 year warranty. If I only had the 1 year warranty, it would have expired 4 days ago. Lucky! :)

I wonder, if Apple replaces the drive, maybe they will put in a new 20 Gig drive to replace the 10 Gig one, as they don't have 10 GB hard drives in iBooks now??
 

tk-421

macrumors member
Jan 23, 2002
34
0
Katy, TX
Get Disk Warrior. In cases like this, where the machine can still see the drive, but wants to initialize it, Disk Warrior can most of the time repair the disk directory structure and volume structure and get your drive to mount again. Software diagnostics fixes about 75% of machines that come in.

And of course, software issues aren't covered under warranty.
But Disk Warrior is a wonderful program.

Wanted to add that all the iBook and Powerbook hard drives are still available through service, despite current models not having them. So you'll get the same size if they have to replace it. It's usually only in older powermacs, and some imacs, that the hard drive gets replaced by a newer, and often larger, drive.
 

saint

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 17, 2002
161
1
Sydney
Originally posted by tk-421
Get Disk Warrior. In cases like this, where the machine can still see the drive, but wants to initialize it, Disk Warrior can most of the time repair the disk directory structure and volume structure and get your drive to mount again. Software diagnostics fixes about 75% of machines that come in.
Thanks. Is that better than Norton Disk Doctor? I hope so. When I ran that, I got a "Sorry, a System error occurred" message midway through startup.
On this occasion, I am sure that if it can be recovered, the service guys will do it for me ($$$$ :( :rolleyes: ). But the 75% figure is impressive.


Originally posted by tk-421

Wanted to add that all the iBook and Powerbook hard drives are still available through service, despite current models not having them. So you'll get the same size if they have to replace it. It's usually only in older powermacs, and some imacs, that the hard drive gets replaced by a newer, and often larger, drive.
Ah well.

On the bright side, if the hard drive is indeed toasted, it will make it easier to buy Jaguar and do a clean install.

cheers
 

Balin64

macrumors 6502a
Jul 23, 2002
772
1
In a Mauve Dream
So sorry to hear about the iBook!

I used Disk Warrior on my old and beloved G3 MT when it did the same thing: i was able to start up with its bare-bones OS 9 and copy my files onto borrowed ZIPS from several friends... but Disk Warrior could not fix the drive...

Here is something out of left-field: Do you guys think than when an iBook (or newer Mac) cannot boot on its own if its possible to shut it down, connect it to another Mac via Firewire and use target Disk Mode to at least transfer the files? Just a thought...
 

tk-421

macrumors member
Jan 23, 2002
34
0
Katy, TX
It really depends on the state of the drive....if the drive is in a state where the machine wants to initialize it,or just doesn't see it, it won't work. But if it's just a corrupted system, but the drive and data is readable, (boot off a cd to determine) it should work fine.
 

Gus

macrumors 65816
Jan 1, 2002
1,078
0
Minnesota
Hmmm..

Couldn't you also hold down the option key at startup to boot into OS 9 and then see what was going on? It sounds like a System folder problem, not a HD problem. You could check the HD from a FireWire Target Disk mode to see if the contents of the drive were still intact, and then work from there. Heck, you could even copy the system folder from a good machine to the old to see if that helps.

Gus
 

saint

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 17, 2002
161
1
Sydney
There are no options with the option key on startup.

A friend thought that maybe it was just that the power supply or something had come loose from the drive, but I can hear it spinning when I power it up.
And iBooks are very hard to get open without damaging the casing.
 

GeeYouEye

macrumors 68000
Dec 9, 2001
1,652
4
State of Denial
I know it's too late now, but...

Don't underestimate Disk First Aid. It's just as good as Norton for most things, and will even repair what Norton screws up. I had it happen once with the same set of symptoms, and Disk First Aid fixed it.