iMac Won't Boot, DVD Stuck in Drive, Please help

Discussion in 'iMac' started by flame3429, Jun 27, 2011.

  1. flame3429 macrumors newbie

    Jun 27, 2011
    Hi I Have A Mid 2010 iMac 27inch 1TB HDD 3.2 Intel i3 4GB Ram OSX 10.6 Snow Leopard, On Sunday Night After Restarting My iMac It Kept Booting A White Screen With a Folder Icon And A "?" In The Folder, My Mouse Won't Respond Nor My Keyboard, I Have Tried Numerous Thing Like Holding The "c" Button At Start-up To Boot The Instalation Disk But That Is Now Stuck In There And Wont Boot Or Eject, I Have Also Tried Holding Shift, Alt, Command, "x", "d"-------

    This Is reeally frustrating for me as i am an accountant and i have loads of client files etc. on my imac plus passwords memos applications....

    I Have my apple warranty intact but the journey to my apple store and i have to book an appointment =( , So I Really Hope Someone From The Community Can Help Me Out, I Would Be Really Greatful, Thanks A Million In Advance!!
  2. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    So as a professional you're clients data is backed up at least twice (once onsite, once offsite) right?
  3. soco macrumors 68030


    Dec 14, 2009
    Yardley, PA
    Backup, backup, backup!

    I hope you have one. Especially being an accountant.
  4. mrfoof82 macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2010
    Lawton, OK
    First, your iMac can't find a bootable partition. Odds are your hard disk has bit the dust. It happens. Heck, you're talking to someone with a new 2011 iMac with the SSD+HDD combo, and the SSD has already given up the ghost.

    Second, you have backups, right? If not, your only option is likely going to be a data recovery service. When you go to the Apple Store (seriously, go) see if they can try to get your data off.

    Regardless, YOU NEED BACKUPS. This is what Time Machine is for. Either get an external hard disk for Time Machine, or a Time Capsule (this will replace your internet router and has a 2TB or 3TB volume for backups and/or other file storage). Also look into getting backups offsite for business continuity purposes -- on-site backups are worthless if your house burns down or someone robs the place. Mozy, Crashplan, BackBlaze, etc. all have very, very, very affordable plans and can be set up in just a few minutes. A hard disk and a safety deposit box also works, but more effort is required on your part.

    You're talking very, very, very low costs for this basic type of disaster recovery planning that you can have set up in a few minutes (Time Machine can be set up in 5 mouse clicks!). Do not try to scrimp at most a few hundred dollars when the alternative is jeopardizing your livelihood.
  5. flame3429, Jun 27, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2011

    flame3429 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 27, 2011

    I Have A Backup Which Was Last Updated End Of May And I Do It At The End Of Every Month, But I Would Never Have Expected This Problem From Such a Expensive Computer Like This And It Has Been Working Perfectly Before That, Plus It Is Really Hard To Backup Over 500gb worth of files And Most of them are Stored On My Virtual Drive Via Parralels Because Some Accountancy And Tax Softwares Won't Load On Windows But Other Than That I Also Have Movies Music Etc..

    But Can Anyone Actually Give Me a Solution Or Help Me Out Plz...........

    BTW I Also Have Offsite Backup But Since I Do Day TO Day Work Its Hard To BAckup Every Single Night
  6. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    The cost of the computer has no impact on the fact that over enough time every hard drive will fail.
  7. flame3429 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 27, 2011
    I Dont understand Why Tho I Have Never Had This Problem With Any Windows System....... Any Other Solutions That Will Let Me Access My Primary Drive Or Atleast Boot With A Safemode Option..??
  8. mrfoof82, Jun 27, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2011

    mrfoof82 macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2010
    Lawton, OK
    Your solution is as follows.

    1. Go to the Apple Store with your iMac for your appointment.
    2. Be told that your hard disk has failed. This is probably what happened. Sorry.
    3. Ask if they can attempt to retrieve the data from your hard disk. You will pay whatever they require to get your data off. If they can get your data, ask what would be involved for them to assist you in getting your recovered data onto your iMac when its hard drive is replaced. If they can't get your data, ask for a recommendation for a data recovery service. Heed my warning now: A data recovery service is NOT cheap, but if that's what's necessary, it's your ONLY choice if you want your data back.
    4. Ask what they recommend for a backup solution with Time Machine.
    5. Have them demonstrate in the store how easy it is to set up Time Machine.
    6. Buy whatever they recommend for you for using Time Machine at home.
    7. Once your iMac has a new hard drive, set up Time Machine at home. Time machine runs EVERY HOUR and backs up changes EVERY HOUR. This limits your data loss exposure to just one hour.
    8. Look into a solution such as Mozy, Crashplan or Backblaze for off-site backups of your most important data. This will backup that super-critical data several times a day. The cost of such a service is less than $100/year.

    Hard drives are very high-precision mechanical parts. They are guaranteed to fail eventually.
  9. flame3429 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 27, 2011

    Thanks Alot But What Are The Percentages Of Me Recovering My Data..??
    Hard drives are mechanical parts.
  10. mrfoof82 macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2010
    Lawton, OK
    Surprisingly good in most cases. However, a data recovery service is a rescue attempt. It is not guaranteed. There are always cases where data cannot be recovered, including cases where no data can be recovered at all. It is impossible to say until a recovery attempt is made.

    Also, I made edits above. Online services such as Mozy, etc are <$100/year, not $100/hour.
  11. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    I find it hard to believe that a professional accountant with 500GB of customer accounting data does not have not one but multiple levels of current backup.

    Any computer, no matter what the price, can potentially have the HDD die in one way or another. Even if it's not the HDD, what about a serious power surge frying the entire system? The iMac is on an UPS, right? So you were ready in case the power dropped, right?

    Any professional who has his business on any computer should have multiple levels of backups. I used Windows computers for over 20 years when I was working and never had an HDD failure, but that is exceptional luck. Other people have had HDDs die within days of buying a computer. 6 years ago when I retired I switched to the Mac, and I've never had an HDD failure, or for that matter any hardware failure. However, I have multiple levels of backup, including offsite, and it's just my checkbook and tax returns and personal pictures and letters.

    If I was working professionally, I would not only have backup disks but a backup computer as well.
  12. flame3429 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 27, 2011
    Well I Live In The Uk So I Think PC World Online Backup Woul dBe Best For Me, And Is There Any Way Which I Could Attempt Or Try A Recover/Repair Or Fix At Home..??
  13. mrfoof82 macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2010
    Lawton, OK
    No. Get your butt to the Apple Store for your appointment and call the professionals if they can't get your data off your failed drive (assuming the drive has failed). There is no easy way out of this. End of subject.
  14. flame3429 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 27, 2011
    Haha Ok Will Do Captain, And Thanks Again To Everyone Who Has Replied And Given Me Sensible Answers, This Trully Is The Best Forumn =)
  15. SundayDuffer macrumors 6502


    Jun 25, 2011
    Not sure if you had try this method..but it doesnt hurt to try eh?

    1. Reboot
    2. Hold apple key + s key down after you hear the chime. (command + s on newer Macs)
    3. When you get text prompt enter in these terminal commands to create a brand new admin account (hitting return after each line):

    mount -uw /
    rm /var/db/.AppleSetupDone
    shutdown -h now

    4. After rebooting you should have a brand new admin account. When you login as the new admin. You then can access your old account. Good Luck.
  16. KarmaBack macrumors newbie

    Jan 10, 2012
    Karma Back

    I am posting this since I want to give Karma Back!

    We had our little old Macs hard drive redone about three months ago. A DVR got stuck in the hard drive. We could hear it working to release it but no go. Went to Gen Bar and it was the box was not aligned properly by the tech staff when they repaired our little old Mac. With finger pressure placed all around to set the seals of the outer parts, the disc popped out. Hope this helps anyone - check how your Mac is put together. Good - I have done my bit. PS We were not charged - heck it was their fault. Hope they learned something!!!
  17. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    "YOU NEED BACKUPS. This is what Time Machine is for"

    Yes, he needs backups, but his problem shows EXACTLY why Time Machine is useless in "moments of extreme need", such as the one he is having right now.

    That is -- he can't boot the computer from the hard drive, and can't even get it to boot from the install DVD. How to start it up?

    If -- IF -- he had had a "bootable clone backup" created with either CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper, he would be up and running in the time it takes to hold down the option key on his keyboard.

    BUT TIME MACHINE BACKUPS ARE NOT BOOTABLE (shouting intentional)!!!

    They are USELESS in a situation like the one he is in now.

    To the original poster:
    Although this doesn't help right at the moment, if you want to prevent something like this from happening again, here is what to do:
    1. First, you need a hard drive on which to create a "bootable clone" of your internal drive.
    2. Get one of these gadgets. They are only about $20-25, and VERY useful:
    (many items shown, they all work the same, just pick one you like that's cheap).
    Then, get a "bare SATA hard drive" from the vendor of your choice
    3. Download the FREE "CarbonCopyCloner" app from:

    Once you have these things, do this:
    a. Put the bare drive into the dock, plug the dock into the Mac, turn it on.
    b. Use Disk Utility to initialize the drive. DO NOT put ANY kind of Windows-type partition on it. The drive should be intended for use with the MAC ONLY.
    c. Once initialized, use CarbonCopyCloner to do a full backup of your main boot drive to the docked drive. When finished, do a "test boot" of the cloned drive to be sure things are as they should be (restart, hold down the option key immediately and keep holding it down, pick drive with mouse pointer).
    d. Once you're satisfied that the cloned drive is good, you can use CCC to do "incremental backups" once a week (or more often).

    With a "cloned copy" of your internal, you now have a SECOND BOOT DRIVE that you can always turn to in a moment of dire need. You WILL NOT be in the situation you're in now, unable to get booted because you don't have enough options to do that.
  18. kpgh554 macrumors regular


    Dec 29, 2011
    iver england
    have you tried starting up when reach folder turn off at mains or pull plug from back of comp wait approx 1 min then put plug in and reboot.this resets efi or mom board. mac should try to auto repair itself on startup. hope this might help. (this has worked for me in past)
  19. Lbernie macrumors newbie

    Mar 30, 2011
    Easy way to remove stuck cd intel Imac

    I had the same problem. I put a cd in that had the wrong os on it and tried to boot to it. I tried all the standard eject procedures and nothing worked.
    I could hear the cd run, and the screen was lit and blank.
    To get it to eject I turned off the computer, inserted a thin metal tool in the cd bay to keep the cd from turning (a butter knife or something similar would work).
    I held down the option key and turned on the computer. In a couple of seconds the cd started to pop out and I quickly removed the tool and the disk came out.
    Keeping the cd from turning shouldn't hurt the drive. I hope this will help.

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