Resolved Recover a mid 2011 27" iMac with flashing folder (with question mark)

christianhg

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 12, 2008
17
1
Hi

I made the mistake of erasing the startup disk on my iMac using Target Disk Mode in order to wipe the machine. Now all I see is a flashing folder with a question mark when I boot it. No matter what startup key combinations I try, I can't escape the flashing folder.

My guess is that the recovery partition is gone which explains why Command+R doesn't work. But shouldn't Target Disk Mode or Startup Manager be available?

I've created a High Sierra* installer drive, but the iMac doesn't recognise it when I hold down the option key on boot (to trigger Startup Manager.) It's recognised by my MBP.

I'm in the possession of the original setup DVD, but unfortunately the SuperDrive died a long time ago. I guess I could get an external DVD drive as a last resort?

Any ideas?

It would be much appreciated.

Best regards Christian

*The iMac is too old to support Mojave
 
Last edited:

mikehalloran

macrumors 68000
Oct 14, 2018
1,600
390
The Sillie Con Valley
Not all recent USB devices work as startup drives. I had this happen with a bunch of USB sticks I bought recently. The process worked and it mounted when done but my iMacs would recognize them. I returned them, bought another brand and they worked perfectly.

If you have an old 8G or larger thumb drive, try that instead.
 

christianhg

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 12, 2008
17
1
Not all recent USB devices work as startup drives. I had this happen with a bunch of USB sticks I bought recently. The process worked and it mounted when done but my iMacs would recognize them. I returned them, bought another brand and they worked perfectly.

If you have an old 8G or larger thumb drive, try that instead.
Thanks for the input. I just tested the drive on my MMP on which it worked.
[doublepost=1542569177][/doublepost]Okay, case closed. I feel almost embarrassed to admit it, but my problem was that the iMac didn't recognise my non-apple USB keyboard. I've pulled out my original, wireless keyboard that came with the iMac and suddenly I can do startup key combinations again.

To the interested: the iMac didn't recognise my installer drive, but it offered to go into Internet Recovery Mode. Now it's in the process of installing Mac OS X Lion :D
 

mikehalloran

macrumors 68000
Oct 14, 2018
1,600
390
The Sillie Con Valley
Good. I was going to suggest that as a last resort if necessary.

You should be able to update directly to High Sierra. If it doesn’t behave on the first try, reformat the drive from Disk Utility in the HS installer.

If the installer gives you an error and won’t run, either re-download it from Purchased in your App Store account or go to the Mac where you downloaded it, zip the file, move it to your 2011 and expand it there.