iMac won't boot! Please help!

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by nicnic77, Oct 30, 2008.

  1. nicnic77 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    #1
    Hi all,

    First I will caveat my post by saying, "Yes, I know I should have backed up!!".

    And now, the problem. I had been using my iMac all night, when all of a sudden the bouncing beach ball appeared and everything became unresponsive, apart from the mouse cursor itself. It might be worth noting that a few hours prior to this, I plugged in an external hard drive to burn off a DVD. This external hard drive has two partitions, the first being a restored image of Leopard; and the second, my out of date backup ("yes, I know").

    I subsequently restarted my machine, enjoyed the chime, pondered the excessively long start up and looked bemused at the Leopard Setup wizard.

    I realised that the restored Leopard partition had booted up instead of the internal disc. So, I unplugged the external drive, pressed reset on the iMac and was immediately greeted first by the reassuring chime, then by the Apple logo and a lingering grey screen and finally by a flashing dark folder icon with a question mark in the centre for eternity.

    I tried rebooting a few more times. Same. I've been frantically Googling but only found the PRAM reset and a very frightening iMac disassembly guide.

    I've tried plugging the external drive back it, but it refuses to boot Leopard from that now.

    What can I do? I feel so helpless on a Mac, on a PC I'd at least be able to open the sucker up before panicking!! I've been working on a client's flash web dev project for months, and not made a back up in about half that time. The website is supposed to be going live tomorrow! Luckily I have the site uploaded, but the entire source code is potentially lost, so in the long term this is a major catastrophe!
     
  2. nicnic77 thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 18, 2007
    #2
    Correction, I can boot into Leopard from the external drive - it just takes a long time. Wondering if there are any boot tools on the disc? I am a total n00b right now...

    EDIT: Just went into Start up disc, and there are two options showing:

    1. Mac OSX (Obvious Leopard partition on the external drive_
    2. Network Startup. This has a question mark icon on top of a disc.

    I expect to see the internal drive here, is it dead??

    Another edit: I went into Disk Utilty and I can see my Macintosh HD. Is it advisable to try verifying or repairing the disk? Won't hurt it more will it?
     
  3. bengal85 macrumors regular

    bengal85

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    Oct 22, 2008
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    USA
    #3
    I dont know what your problem is but a suggestion your system battery might be low dont worry they are cheap and relativly easy to replace
     
  4. Neil321 macrumors 68040

    Neil321

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    Nov 6, 2007
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    #4
    In disk utilities their is a repair function but a flashing ? at start up usually means a failing HDD as it cannot find the boot volume

    EDIT, no repairing & verifying the disk won't hurt anymore

    The only other option i know of would be to use a data recovery tool such as disk warrior 11
     
  5. nicnic77 thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 18, 2007
    #5
    Could you clarify, by failing do you mean at this point it has not been corrupted or died completely?
     
  6. nicnic77 thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 18, 2007
    #6
    Thanks for the reply. Would never have thought of that! Is this symptomatic of a low system battery?
     
  7. nicnic77 thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 18, 2007
    #7
    I would love to know how I could do that! Any ideas on how to get back into the OS? Or recover the data from it? I've got a MacBook is there anyway in?
     
  8. nicnic77 thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 18, 2007
    #8
    I've tried a couple of more things.

    Verbose mode
    No external drive, pressed power on then immediately pressed and held the apple logo + v. Boots to question mark and nothing else.

    Safe mode
    No external drive, pressed power on, waited for the chime, immediately pressed and held shift. Boots to question mark and nothing else.

    Anyone any experience of Archive and Restore? I've not seen it in the Leopard Wizard, but came across it in another form. Would this archive my Home folder and all contents somewhere safe on the disc and install the OS again? I don't care about anything else except for on folder in the Home folder. Everything else is backed up.
     
  9. Neil321 macrumors 68040

    Neil321

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    #9
    Not forgotten you, I'm just trying to ask for advice elsewhere
     
  10. nicnic77 thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 18, 2007
    #10
    Thanks!!
     
  11. chilipie macrumors 6502a

    chilipie

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    May 8, 2006
    Location:
    Englandshire
    #11
    Yup, Neil's dragged me over :D

    I see in your sig you've got a MacBook, so if you have access to that atm you should be okay!

    Here's what to do:
    1. Make sure you disconnect any Firewire devices from both computers.
    2. Make sure that the target computer (your iMac) is turned off.
    3. Use a FireWire cable (6-pin to 6-pin) to connect the target computer to a host computer (your MacBook). The host computer does not need to be turned off.
    4. Start up the target computer and immediately press and hold down the T key until the FireWire icon appears. The hard disk of the target computer should become available to the host computer and will likely appear on desktop.
    5. When you are finished copying files, drag the target computer's hard disk icon to the Trash to eject it.
    6. Press the target computer's power button to turn it off.
    7. Unplug the FireWire cable.

    The above was taken from http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1661
     
  12. nicnic77 thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 18, 2007
    #12
    Managed to boot into Verbose mode by Apple + V with the external drive plugged in.

    It's been sat at the same message for minutes now:

    Still waiting for the root device

    Ok just repeated itself again this second..

    Still waiting for the root device

    Doesn't want to boot to the Leopard partition on the external drive this time?
     
  13. chilipie macrumors 6502a

    chilipie

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    #14
    Beat ya to it ;)

    Let me know how that goes, nicnic77!

    Edit: Oo, very crafty Neil :D
     
  14. nicnic77 thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 18, 2007
    #15
    Extremely helpful reply, BUT no firewire cable arghhh!! Back into the Leopard Install wizard...
     
  15. Neil321 macrumors 68040

    Neil321

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    #16
    Yep i've even been told it's my middle name :cool:
     
  16. chilipie macrumors 6502a

    chilipie

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    #17
    Arghh, that's a bit sucky :( I just read your OP again and noticed the Flash website bit - FWIW, you can get Flash decompilers that might be useful if you need to make little changes before you get a chance to recover your data.
     
  17. nicnic77 thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 18, 2007
    #18
    Thanks man, a decompiler will be the last resort, I tried one a few years ago and the code it produced was ok at but but the tweens and symbols where all a mess :(

    Another update: Noticed I can connect to my Airport network after I have booted into the Install wizard, but as yet I cannot figure out if it is possible to connect to my disc via the Macbook. I've tried Go>Connect on the MB using the ip address obtained by typing ifonfig -a from the Install wizards terminal, but it can't find the server...
     
  18. Neil321 macrumors 68040

    Neil321

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    #19
    Ok guys I've gotta be up for work soon so its off to the land of nod for me,chilipie thanks for helping us out,nicnic77 i hope things work out i'll have alook tomorrow & see if they did
     
  19. nicnic77 thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 18, 2007
    #20
    Cheers Neil, thanks for the tips. I'll try and grab a firewire cable tomorrow, but going to carry on tying in the mean time. Won't sleep till this is resolved.
     
  20. chilipie macrumors 6502a

    chilipie

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    #21
    Nooo, sleep deprivation is bad for computer fixings! My dad managed to completely nacker a HDD a while ago, after shorting out something with a power cable whilst trying to fix it at 3am :eek:
     
  21. Neil321 macrumors 68040

    Neil321

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    #22
    No worries mate wish i could have helped out more, anyway's this forum a great place for asking advice should you ever need it again and even more so with great users like chilipie about

    Oh and take his advice about getting some kip, not having enough sleep is a sure fire way of knackering things up further
     
  22. nicnic77 thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 18, 2007
    #23
    In terminal I just did: diskutil list and got exactly the following:

    TYPE NAME SIZE IDENTIFIER
    /dev/disk0
    0: Apple_partition_scheme 698.6Gi disk0
    1: Apple_partition_map 31.5 Ki disk0s1
    2: Apple_HFS Time Machine 688 Gi disk0s3
    3: Apple_HFS Leopard 9.9 Gi disk0s6

    /dev/disk1
    0: 0.0 B disk1

    /dev/disk2
    0: untitled 467.0 Ki disk2

    /dev/disk3
    0: untitled 467.0 Ki disk3

    /dev/disk4
    0: untitled 95.0 Ki disk4

    /dev/disk5
    0: untitled 95.0 Ki disk5
     
  23. nicnic77 thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 18, 2007
    #24
    I know exactly what you are saying, but I can't do nothing :(
     
  24. chilipie macrumors 6502a

    chilipie

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    #25
    I'm off to bed as well, but good luck! I'll check back tomorrow :)
     

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