new 20" iMac problems - won't boot

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by anemone, Oct 3, 2007.

  1. anemone macrumors member

    Jun 5, 2007
    I am the owner of a new 20" 2.4 Ghz aluminum iMac, which I purchased the first week they came out (2nd week of August). I have had no problems with the machine since I got it, until today. I have an extra 1 GB of RAM from OWC installed, but have had no troubles w/ the RAM since I installed it in August. This is my first Mac, so I am not familiar with the range of standard troubleshooting strategies, other than what I'm reading in the Everything Mac book today and in the MacRumors Guides.

    This morning, I woke my iMac up from sleep to find a spinning beachball. Firefox was the application in the foreground. Other open apps were Mail, iCal and iTunes. I used "force quit" on Firefox (took several tries) but that didn't resolve the problem. I still had the spinning beachball. I tried to force quit the other open apps, but the computer stopped responding completely and froze. I shut it down and restarted. At first I had a white screen with a beachball, and then got the flashing folder with the question mark in it.

    I pulled out my "Everything Mac" book and proceeded to try the various steps suggested:
    1. Option+ power button: Tried this, got a blank white screen, then the question mark again
    2. Tried zapping the PRAM - result was the white screen with question mark again
    3. Tried unplugging the machine after shutdown and left it unplugged for a while. No change when I plugged it back in and restarted. White screen with question mark.
    4. I have tried disconnecting all peripherals and repeating the above.

    Would you suggest that I pull out the extra RAM to see if that makes a difference? I have had no signs of RAM-related problems. That is probably my next step. Anything else I should try? Since I cannot even get the computer to boot, I obviously can't try to repair permissions or alter system settings in any way.

    I had planned to go to the Apple store today anyway to attend one of their seminars. If I need to make a Genius bar appt. and take it in, do I need to remove the extra RAM first? Should I try calling Apple Care first?

    Does this sound like a problem that will require a reinstall of OS X? Is there any way I would be able to get my data before a reinstall?

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions for this Mac newbie.
  2. Mac21ND macrumors 6502a


    Jun 6, 2007
    Try rebooting the computer while holding down the shift key. That usually allows the computer to boot into Safe Mode. If you get that far, try running Disk Utility to solve the problem.
  3. anemone thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 5, 2007
    Thanks. Shift key didn't work. It wouldn't boot to safe mode.

    I also removed the extra RAM. Same symptoms. I have left the extra RAM out for now.

    I just got off the phone w/ Apple Care--the guy I was talking to suspects some sort of data corruption. We tried running Disk Utility, and after a short delay, my iMac spits the OSX disc 1 right back out without giving me any options. This caused the Apple guy to seek advice from colleagues. He ultimately told me to take the computer to my local Apple store, so I set up an appt. for this afternoon.

  4. anemone thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 5, 2007
    One other thing...

    Do I need to bring the complete iMac package to the Apple store (keyboard/mouse/remote/manuals/etc.) in case they need to replace it, or just the main unit?
  5. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004
    Just bring the iMac nothing else. They have powercords, keyboards and mice there already.
  6. anemone thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 5, 2007
    bad news

    It was the hard drive. It's gone. When they booted from their firewire drive my hard drive could not be read.

    So...I'm without an iMac for a few days while they replace the hard drive, and I've lost some stuff that wasn't backed up. Fortunately not too much. I wanted them to just give me a new machine, but it had been too long since I bought it, and they wouldn't do that.

    Thanks anyway to those who offered advice. I'm back on my old Dell for the time being, though it's near death. Sigh!

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