Start up Disk can't be found?!

mouchoir

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 29, 2004
654
0
London, UK
Hello,

I'm using a G4 running 10.3 and this morning instead of starting up it stuck on a grey screnn and had an image of a folder with a flashing question mark.

I've looked at apple's site and tried starting up from the system disk, but that is causing trouble too.

Has anyone else had this problem and could offer some advice?

We have a lot of work on the machine that I am desperate not to lose!

Many thanks,
M
 

mouchoir

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 29, 2004
654
0
London, UK
yellow said:
1) Boot from the installer CD that came with the computer.
2) You have everything on a backup, correct?
1) That doesn't seem to work

2) You'ld think. Unfortunately, this is my colleagues computer and he hasn't backed up for about a week, which equals a lot of work!
 

darkcurse

macrumors 6502a
Nov 5, 2005
538
0
Sydney
If so why don't you just target firewire disk mode and transfer all the data out? Oh and have you tried holding option down and stuff like that? Just asking :D
 

yellow

Moderator emeritus
Oct 21, 2003
16,033
1
Portland, OR
mouchoir said:
1) That doesn't seem to work
How so? What happens? You're using the correct CDs, right? And the keyboard is plugged directly into the CPU (not a a KVM or something), right? Have you zapped the PRAM, etc?
 

mouchoir

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 29, 2004
654
0
London, UK
darkcurse said:
If so why don't you just target firewire disk mode and transfer all the data out? Oh and have you tried holding option down and stuff like that? Just asking :D
Hi there,

How would I do that? I have an external hardrive with firewire, and an old ipod firewire...

What does holding option down do?:eek:
 

mouchoir

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 29, 2004
654
0
London, UK
yellow said:
How so? What happens? You're using the correct CDs, right? And the keyboard is plugged directly into the CPU (not a a KVM or something), right? Have you zapped the PRAM, etc?
Thanks for your help Yellow

I'm using the panther disks used to upgrade from OS9. Restarted holding 'c' and got a window saying 'installer' and select languages.

When I go to 'select startup disk' in the menu, it doesn't find any volumes apart from one called 'network startup' with a '?' on it.

Also tried disk ultility, and it says something in the background didn't start up so quit 'disk utility and start again', but then it won't quit!
 

darkcurse

macrumors 6502a
Nov 5, 2005
538
0
Sydney
Holding down OPTION will give you an option to select the bootable disks on your computer. So, it might just be that OS X has temporarily had amnesia as to which it should boot first lol. Er, to boot up into target firewire disk mode hold down "T" while booting. The only catch is that you need another Mac to access the broken one's hd.
 

mouchoir

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 29, 2004
654
0
London, UK
darkcurse said:
Holding down OPTION will give you an option to select the bootable disks on your computer. So, it might just be that OS X has temporarily had amnesia as to which it should boot first lol. Er, to boot up into target firewire disk mode hold down "T" while booting. The only catch is that you need another Mac to access the broken one's hd.
Aha! Will try holding down option first.

Otherwise, I'll connect my powerbook to the G4 via firewire. Do I leave both on and then restart the G4 holding down 'T'?

Thanks for your advice.
 

mouchoir

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 29, 2004
654
0
London, UK
Holding down option has resulted in a blue screen. To the left is a button with an arrow going in a circle. To the right is a button with an arrow going right.

Nothing else... :eek:
 

yellow

Moderator emeritus
Oct 21, 2003
16,033
1
Portland, OR
Yeah if the startup disk doesn't show in your disk selection, then it's likely the HD has died. You should probably break open the CPU case and make sure all the cables are securely plugged into the HD (and board). Also, start up the computer with the case open and check for noise from the HD. Does it spin up? Click? Make any noise at all? Also, you really need to try and get Disk Utility running to see if it can see/repair the HD. If you're lucky. Beyond that, this is a hardware issue that really needs a professional to look at. Please note, data recovery is VERY expensive.
 

2ndPath

macrumors 6502
Feb 21, 2006
355
0
If you get the blue screen with the two buttons after holding down the option key on start up, try putting the Software installation CD or a Mac OS installation CD into the optical drive and press the button with the circling arrow on it. If a button showing the CD shows up, then you could boot from the CD by selecting it an clicking the other arrow. If it doesn´t I guess you have a problem with the Mac hardware and probably not with the hard disk. Then the data might be saved by removing the hard disc from the G4 and putting it in another machine or an external firewire case to read it out with another mac.
 

mouchoir

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 29, 2004
654
0
London, UK
yellow said:
Yeah if the startup disk doesn't show in your disk selection, then it's likely the HD has died. You should probably break open the CPU case and make sure all the cables are securely plugged into the HD (and board). Also, start up the computer with the case open and check for noise from the HD. Does it spin up? Click? Make any noise at all? Also, you really need to try and get Disk Utility running to see if it can see/repair the HD. If you're lucky. Beyond that, this is a hardware issue that really needs a professional to look at. Please note, data recovery is VERY expensive.
I've just managed to do the firewire hold 'T' thing and got the macintosh hd of the G4 onto my powerbook (and am now backing everythin up!).

I guess that means the hd still works?

So i'm guessing it's the system I have problems with?
 

yellow

Moderator emeritus
Oct 21, 2003
16,033
1
Portland, OR
Now is the time to use Disk Utility on your PB to try and fix the mounted HD, assuming there's something wrong with it.
 

TEG

macrumors 604
Jan 21, 2002
6,570
49
Langley, Washington
This is a common problem with the HFS file structure. A minor error can corrupt the bootable image on the drive preventing startup. A simple reinstalling of the OS (not a clean reinstall) usually fixes it.

It may also be a problem with the NewWorld ROM used on modern PPC machines. The ROM for the system is actually stored on the HD, so if there is a problem with it, even a minor one, you can't really do anything with the system. However, that does not explain the inability to see the HD as a valid startup disk.

I say reinstall the OS, and good luck.

TEG
 

mouchoir

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 29, 2004
654
0
London, UK
I got very lucky I could connect via firewire and backup.

Once it's finished the back up, I will try and use my powerbook disk utility to fix the HD as suggested, and reinstall the OS if not.

Thanks so much for all your help, I would have been very lost indeed without it.:)