Late 2009 iMac Boot Problems. Help!!

Discussion in 'iMac' started by dannywalls76, Aug 1, 2012.

  1. dannywalls76 macrumors newbie

    Jan 23, 2012
    I apologise if this has been dealt with before, but I couldn't find anything in the forum search.

    I have a friend's late 2009 iMac that hasn't been used for a while. It developed a booting problem and, as she has no computer knowledge at all, switched it off and put it in the cellar. I said I would have a look, but I'm completely stumped.

    Basically, all I'm getting when I press the power button is a white screen, the Apple logo and a spinning wheel. Not too uncommon, according to my friend Google, but I can't get it to do anything else.

    The keyboard appears to be paired, going on the LED, and I have put in new batteries, but nothing works. I've tried restarting pressing C and the Option key, but they have no effect whatsoever and I'm left with the same white screen and spinning wheel.

    She knows little about the iMac and I'm not even sure what version of OSX is on it. Although she has told me that she has not updated it. The install disk is in the iMac and I can't get it out.

    I'm determined not to let this beat me, but I really need your help!
  2. forty2j macrumors 68030


    Jul 11, 2008
    These can be nasty to debug..

    Try holding down Shift (for Safe Mode) while booting.

    Also keep in mind that if there's an HDD that needs repairing, sometimes it takes a while (like 30 minutes) just to get the point where it will start putting up a status bar.
  3. dannywalls76 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 23, 2012
  4. crantagonist macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2008
    OP, do you have a wired keyboard/mouse (PC equipment will do)? If so, use that to boot because the wireless keyboard is basically useless for emergencies and press "c" in order to boot from the install disk. After it's booted from the CD, select your language and then wait a little bit for the menu bar to load. Choose "utilities" and then "disk utility" in order to repair permissions and/or the disk. See if that did the trick - or if disk utility will tell you anything about a failed SMART status.
  5. dannywalls76 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 23, 2012
    I don't have one, and I'm not sure anyone I know has either (everyone has a laptop nowadays). I've restarted it, holding Shift, and I'm going to wait to see if a progress bar appears. If not, i'll have to try to source a wired keyboard tomorrow.
  6. dannywalls76 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 23, 2012
    OK, I've made some progress. I discovered that the keyboard was working OK by restarting and holding Shift-Cmd-V to view the progress of Safe Mode and it hung again. Anyway, that told me that the keyboard and iMac were talking to each other.

    I then restarted again, only this time I put in my ML USB and held Option key and got into disk utility that way.

    Long story shirt(ish), it's the hard drive. At first it told me that the disk had errors that were unrepairable and then that vanished but I am unable to verify, erase or anything.

    Thanks for your help, but I'll hand it back to her and give her the bad news.

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