Hi, Looking for some advice if possible. I'm hoping its helpful to give as many details as I can: I have (or perhaps had...) an iMac - 4.5 years old aluminum, upgraded to 4GB RAM which I bought from OWC. Running on Leopard. It has a 500GB internal hard drive that has been filling up all the way to 496GB. So on Saturday I bought a LaCie 2TB quadra external drive (5400rpm version) and exported all 300GB of my photos onto it. It seemed to be functioning fine and was quieter and faster since I reduced the files on the internal hard drive back down to 200GB. However last night I was watching a video clip when the iMac froze up. That didn't seem unusual so I started to force quit Firefox and clicked on Spaces to look at another window while Firefox reloaded. At that point I got a message that Spaces "could not be launched - 36", and nothing was moving. So I held the button at the back to shut everything down. When I turned the computer back on I got a blinking folder symbol on a white screen with a question mark. (The external drive also seemed to come to life around the time of the freeze). I did some googling (on my ipod) and followed a few steps to try to get the system to refind the hard-drive (I think). I inserted the operating system disk, went into the disk utilities section and tried to repair the disk. However there is no sign of the disk in the list on the left. The 5GB OS disk is there, plus one called 'media' ('0 bytes'). When I reconnected the LaCie external drive it recognized it, but no sign at all of the 200GB internal drive on the Mac. Currently I've got a blinking grey globe on the white background. I left that alone for a while this morning and when I came back it showed a black screen with a flashing horizontal dash in the top left corner (obviously as if its waiting for a command). Obviously, at 4.5 years old this computer is out of warranty, and I really wasn't prepared to pay Apple $49 to speak to someone just before 9ET last night. I suspect that the hard drive may have died, but I don't want to go ahead with replacing it or trying to reload the OS until I hear from someone with better knowledge than I do. I do have almost everything backed up via Time Machine but have never had to resort to using it on a virgin hard drive. For example I don't know if I would need to reinstall all my software like Lightroom, SPSS etc Thanks for reading this tale of woe - any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated.