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Flashing question mark

1497 Views 5 Replies Latest reply: Jun 17, 2012 7:59 PM by rccharles RSS
levelheaded Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Jun 10, 2012 8:26 AM

Hi,maybe some advice please.

I have an imac 20" G5 als.running 10.5.8 The problem is that when I startup it goes to the flashing questionmark mode.I will explain what i have done so far.When this first happened I thought that the drive was playing up,so I attempted to install the system disk OSX but it was having none of it.after trying lots of times it eventually loaded,and I went to disk utillity,but it never saw the hard drive,so I thought that it must be the drive.The diagnostic light inside on the logic board were lit up as they should be.I purchased a new drive,and a battery for the logic board just in case,I installed the battery,and the new drive and started up,but yet again it went to the flashing questionmark.I shut down and started into the startup manager screen where I got a blue screen with a refresh symbol on the left and an arrow on the right but nothing where the drive should be seen.I reset the pram,and tried to start in safe mode which all brought me back to the questionmark .As a last resort I then installed a drive I knew was working because I replaced it for a larger one,and the exact same thing is happening and the system disk refuses to load.Can anyone tell me if I am doing things in the correct order,or I have missed something simple that I could try.I have installed a drives before with no recognition problems.If i get any answers I would be happy.Thanks

iMac, Mac OS X (10.5.8)
  • rccharles Level 5 Level 5 (5,115 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 10, 2012 11:21 AM (in response to levelheaded)

    The question mark means the the startup manager could not find a valid OS.


    Could be a bad disk controller. Jumpers not set correctly. ETC.


    I'd try an external firewire harddrive.  PPC needs firewire to boot an exernal drive. 


    I'd try hardware diagnostics.


    I assume it will run the boot dvd OK.



  • rccharles Level 5 Level 5 (5,115 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 11, 2012 10:05 AM (in response to levelheaded)

    I think if you do an archive & install on the external drive, you will perserver the data on the drive.


    You need to be able to boot from a dvd in order to install software on the external drive.


    I'd say that if you cannot boot from the hd and from a dvd that the machine has more basic problem with the logic board.  Look at capacitor & see if they are distorted.  See Internet !?!






    Sometimes if volumes don't appear in Startup Manager (what you get when you hold down the Option key at startup), you need to reset the Mac's PRAM, NVRAM, and Open Firmware. Shut down the Mac, then power it up, and before the screen lights up, quickly hold down the Command, Option, P, and R keys, until the Mac has chimed twice more after the powerup chime. Then, before the screen lights up, hold down Command-Option-O-F until the Open Firmware screen appears. Then enter these lines, pressing Return after each one:






    "The reset-all command should restart your Mac. If so, you have successfully reset the Open Firmware settings."


    How to eject a cd from the internal cd drive:

    eject cd


    List of devices:



    List of variables:




    ( nvram is the equivalent Mac OS X terminal command. )


    Resetting your Mac's PRAM and NVRAM



    reset the PMU

  • rccharles Level 5 Level 5 (5,115 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 17, 2012 7:59 PM (in response to levelheaded)

    Seems reasonable.  Don't know symptoms.


    There are replacement kits if you are handy with a soldering iron.




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