question mark folder at start up (old imac)

Discussion in 'iMac' started by applesandorange, Jun 24, 2007.

  1. applesandorange macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2007
    #1
    They gave me an old iMac and I bought a keyboard for it and I have a pro mouse(the clear ones). At first I read that if the question mark pops up to ensure the mouse and keyboard are plug in. Now I'm thinking my pro mouse is not compatible with my old imac. I also don't know how to reinstall the OS because I don't have a system disk. What should I do to get this thing going? I think it has mac os 8 or maybe 9. I'm also a complete newbie to macs. Thanks.
     
  2. decksnap macrumors 68040

    decksnap

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2003
    #2
    Sounds like the hard drive might be screwed. The folder/question mark means the computer can't find any disk with an OS on it to boot into. You'll probably want to start up from a CD with the OS on it and try to troubleshoot it from there. If the OS is gone anyway, you may just want to try installing Panther on it instead and skip OS 9. Although you probably have a dead hard drive.
     
  3. applesandorange thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 24, 2007
  4. FJ218700 macrumors 68000

    FJ218700

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2007
    Location:
    Blue Dot, Red State
    #4
    Did any CD's come with the iMac? If so, check what operating system is on them. OS 8.5 or 9.1 most likely depending on how old the computer is.

    start up the computer holding the option key, what you get to a blue screen, insert what ever disk you may have. Wait, then you will see the CD icon. Click on it and continue. Best to do a clean install unless there are files you need. If the latter is the case, you can get them off but write back if you need help.

    "Panther" is OS 10.3. Install it if you have it, or 10.2 "Jaguar", could also do 10.4 "tiger" but odds are your computer will run it extremely slow.

    edit: just read that you don't have any disks. You may have to trouble shoot using a second Mac. Search the forums for "target disk mode"
     
  5. decksnap macrumors 68040

    decksnap

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2003
    #5
    Panther is OS X 10.3. OS 9 is now about six years old and is basically completed unsupported and obsolete. I was just saying if you have to go out and get a new OS to install, might as well install Panther instead of OS 9.

    However, your first step is figuring out what's wrong with the hard drive. This is an extremely old computer. The drive may just be dead.

    I don't know who 'they' is that gave this to you, but perhaps they can help troubleshoot it for you.
     
  6. applesandorange thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 24, 2007
    #6
    no it didn't came with a cd. I tried holding the option key and nothing happens, then question mark comes up every time.
     
  7. FJ218700 macrumors 68000

    FJ218700

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2007
    Location:
    Blue Dot, Red State
    #7
    make sure you're holding the key before you push the power button and keep it pressed until you see the blue scree. Buty without any disks, going this route is pointeses anyway.

    Try the same startup routine holding down the "T" key, see if a firewire symbol appears with a blue background. If this "target disk" mode is working, you can connect the iMac to another Mac via a firewire cable. The iMac HD should appear on the desktop of the second computer. you can use disk utility on the second computer to see what is on the iMac's drive. If you don't know if there is a functional operating system or not. go to the "startup disk" icon in the system prefs on the second mac, and see if the iMac appears as an option.
     
  8. applesandorange thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 24, 2007
    #8
  9. FJ218700 macrumors 68000

    FJ218700

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2007
    Location:
    Blue Dot, Red State
    #9
    I would get a cheap 80-120 Gb hard drive (3.5''). The boards on those iMac don't support drives larger than 112 Gb. I like Seagate and Western Digital drives. Be careful though, I don't know about those iMacs, but the eMac which came out subsequently required a thinner drive. They were made by Maxtor, and while still 3.5'', they were about half as deep as others. I would call Apple to be sure, or just measure the dimensions of the one you currently have.

    I'm assuming the CPU is between 300 and 400 MHz. Tiger (10.4) will run, but very slow. Even if you max out the RAM to 640 or 786. Perhaps Pather (10.3) is the way to go, but as another poster pointed out, Panther is largely unsupported.
     
  10. applesandorange thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 24, 2007
    #10
    I've heard that a 7200 hard drive won't run and I need a 5200.
     
  11. brop52 macrumors 68000

    brop52

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Location:
    Michigan
    #11
    Is this a slot loading or tray loading iMac? Does the CD drive have a tray?
     
  12. FJ218700 macrumors 68000

    FJ218700

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2007
    Location:
    Blue Dot, Red State
    #12
    I'm not sure, but with that processor, you won't notice a difference between 5400 and 7200.
     

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