Multiple tries to boot up 2009 iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by JeffClineAD, Aug 26, 2014.

  1. JeffClineAD macrumors newbie

    Aug 26, 2014
    I get the gray question mark each time I reboot until the third or fourth try, then I get the Apple icon and my computer boots up. I ran Disk Utility and it shows that my hard drive is fine. Is there any way to correct this problem short of reinstalling Snow Leopard, my current OS? I'm current on my Time Machine backups, by the way.

    Thanks, this is driving me a bit crazy.
  2. eduardrw macrumors 6502

    May 20, 2013
    Looks like your hardisk is failing. Make sure you have at least 2 backups.
    I would recommend to clone your hardisk to an external disk (firewire is fastest - USB is slower).
    This way you can boot in a pinch from your external disk.

    You can boot from the recovery partition and do a repair disk and see if it helps.

    Your hardisk is 5+ years old - so very likely it will fail soon.
    I replaced mine. Apple or apple authorized repair center will do it.
    If you use a apple authorized repair center they can put in a SSD (much faster computer) or a larger spinning disk. Apple only buts the same disk back in.
  3. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    I agree, your hard drive might be on the downward path to failure.
    Typically, you may have other issues, such as lots of the "spinning disk", or just operates a lot slower than you remember.
    Do you experience anything like that?

    Something else to try: Open System Preferences/Startup Disk. Click on your hard drive to make sure it's selected. That can sometimes make a big difference in how quickly your iMac can boot, particularly if you really aren't having any other performance issues...
  4. JeffClineAD thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 26, 2014

    Thanks for the responses. I have selected my hard drive for start up. My computer seems to run fine. It could be a bit slower than when I got it, it's been a very long time, so, it's hard to recall. I've discovered the last couple of days that if I turn it on, let the question mark folder flash for several minutes while I'm off doing other things, then reboot, that if boots up fine. I ran the Disk Utilities and it said my hard drive was good, for what that is worth.
  5. JeffClineAD thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 26, 2014
    Hard Drive Replacement Brand Recs

    Any recommendations for a good hard drive to replace what I currently have in my iMac? I've got the iMac 7, 1 (24", 2.4 GHz model).
  6. eduardrw macrumors 6502

    May 20, 2013
    Did you boot from the recovery partition and do a repair disk?

    Starting in 2009 Apple put the temperature sensors for your Hardisk inside the disk and used special firmware on the disks. Some of the 2009 iMacs still have simple hardisks some have the new ones.
    So you have to check this first.

    If you replace the disk with one which does not have the sensor inside your fans will all spin up to maximum. You can overcome it by :
    - use a compatible hardisk
    - get an external temp sensor from OWC and plug it in the motherboard
    - use software to override the Fan speeds
    regarding compatible replacement disk: go to System Information and find out what disk you have (Manufacturer is important)
    Get same manufacturer data disk - size and speed can be different.
    You can also get a SSD and dramatically improve you iMac's speed!

    Here is a video for HD replacement on a 7,1 iMac - note: this one has an external temperature glued to the HD

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