iBook G4 flashing question mark

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by megrussell, Dec 7, 2010.

  1. megrussell macrumors newbie

    Jun 16, 2009
    I bought it refurbished almost two years ago. For several months it has been occasionally showing the flashing question mark on start up. Usually I will restart it in safeboot and then restart and it's fine. This has gone on for a while. I wasn't sure what that was about and have not been successful in finding information about if that was common and what to do about it. (I have two babies so not a lot of time to spend searching for answers when things aren't dire) It usually seemed that if a disc was left in the notebook and/or the top shut without being properly shutdown before hand, this would happen.

    Well just a bit ago it was froze on a spinning wheel and I force quit the program it was stuck on and not long after shut it down. Now it won't get past the flashing question mark. I thought it was a startup issue. Now I'm worried it might be a hard-drive issue. My second child's birth video is on there! I know, I should have backed up. I tried Shift on start up and that didn't work. I tried Command+V on start up and that did nothing. I don't have another Mac to hook it up to, just my old trusty PC :p

    My main concern is the files like photos, music, and videos on the hard drive. My husband is not working at the moment so we can't spend a lot of money on it and the nearest Mac Genius bar is over an hour away. Looking for some good advice!
  2. d88co88 macrumors 6502


    Dec 8, 2009
    Unfortunately, that would most likely be the hard drive. Leave it off for a few days and try booting it up, that sometimes made my old TiBook boot up for a while.
  3. OrangeSVTguy macrumors 601


    Sep 16, 2007
    Northeastern Ohio
    Yes it's a hard drive issue. It means it can't find a bootable OS. I don't want to scare you but it may be possible the hard drive is dead. Is it making any kind of weird noises? It could also be corrupted system files from all those hard reboots.

    Do you have a firewire cable and know someone else that has a Mac with a Firewire port?

    You could put your iBook into Target disc mode by booting it and holding the "T" key. Hopefully your hard drive will show up on the other Mac's desktop and you can just copy the important files onto it. Once that's done you can do a system reinstall on the iBook.

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