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New hard drive, flashing "?" folder on startup, where do I go from here?

247 Views 4 Replies Latest reply: Feb 7, 2013 12:59 PM by Kappy RSS
CubbyChowder Calculating status...
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Feb 7, 2013 12:44 PM

I just installed a new 2TB hard drive in my early 2009 iMac. I kept my original HD so I could later use Migration Assistant to transfer everything from the old drive to the new one (was told to do so by a friend). He told me to get the newest operation system, which I believe is Mountain Lion and then do the migration assistant. Upon starting the computer up, I got the flashing "?" folder, which I now know is due to lack of an operating system. I don't have any start up disks or anything to install an operating system and the Apple store told me they only sell a downloadable version of the new Mountain Lion system and don't have it in disk form. What do I do?

iMac (20-inch Early 2009), Mac OS X (10.6.8)
  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (221,035 points)

    Drive Preparation


    1. Boot from your OS X Installer Disc. After the installer loads select your language and click on the Continue button.  When the menu bar appears select Disk Utility from the Utilities menu.


    2. After DU loads select your hard drive (this is the entry with the mfgr.'s ID and size) from the left side list. Note the SMART status of the drive in DU's status area.  If it does not say "Verified" then the drive is failing or has failed and will need replacing.  SMART info will not be reported  on external drives. Otherwise, click on the Partition tab in the DU main window.


    3. Under the Volume Scheme heading set the number of partitions from the drop down menu to one. Click on the Options button, set the partition scheme to GUID then click on the OK button. Set the format type to Mac OS Extended (Journaled.) Click on the Partition button and wait until the process has completed.


    4. Select the volume you just created (this is the sub-entry under the drive entry) from the left side list. Click on the Erase tab in the DU main window.


    5. Set the format type to Mac OS Extended (Journaled.) Click on the Security button, check the button for Zero Data and click on OK to return to the Erase window.


    6. Click on the Erase button. The format process can take up to several hours depending upon the drive size.


    7. Upon completion quit DU and return to the installer. Install Snow Leopard.


    8 Download and install Mac OS X 10.6.8 Update Combo v1.1


    You may now use the App Store to purchase and download Mountain Lion.


    Upgrading to Mountain Lion


    To upgrade to Mountain Lion you must have Snow Leopard 10.6.8 or Lion installed. Purchase and download Mountain Lion from the App Store. Sign in using your Apple ID. Mountain Lion is $19.99 plus tax. The file is quite large, over 4 GBs, so allow some time to download. It would be preferable to use Ethernet because it is nearly four times faster than wireless.



         OS X Mountain Lion - System Requirements


           Macs that can be upgraded to OS X Mountain Lion


             1. iMac (Mid 2007 or newer) - Model Identifier 7,1 or later

             2. MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum, or Early 2009 or newer) - Model Identifier 5,1 or later

             3. MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer) - Model Identifier 3,1 or later

             4. MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer) - Model Identifier 2,1 or later

             5. Mac mini (Early 2009 or newer) - Model Identifier 3,1 or later

             6. Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer) - Model Identifier 3,1 or later

             7. Xserve (Early 2009) - Model Identifier 3,1 or later


    To find the model identifier open System Profiler in the Utilities folder. It's displayed in the panel on the right.

         Are my applications compatible?


             See App Compatibility Table - RoaringApps.


         For a complete How-To introduction from Apple see Upgrade to OS X Mountain Lion.

  • rkaufmann87 Level 8 Level 8 (40,615 points)

    You will need to contact Apple to order replacement media. There will be a nominal charge for this,  you will need the serial number and a credit card. You can locate the SN on the bottom of the computer's stand.


    Without install media or without a bootable clone backup you cannot progress so spend the $30 or so to get your media replaced.

  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (221,035 points)

    Purchase Snow Leopard through the Apple Store: Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard - Apple Store (U.S.). The price is $19.99 plus tax. You will be sent physical media by mail after placing your order.


    You can also purchase replacements for your computer's original discs by contacting: Customer Service: Contacting Apple for support and service - this includes international calling numbers.


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