6 Replies Latest reply: Mar 19, 2010 10:55 AM by mattnandez
multirob20 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
When I start my intel 20" imac I get the flashing file folder with the question mark. I've tried using the disk utility to repair the hard drive but it does not show up. Are suggestions or is my hard drive toast.

Intel imac, Mac OS X (10.6.2)
  • Jim VanLeeuwen Level 6 Level 6 (18,820 points)
    Possibly, or your Mac may have forgotten what it's startup drive is.

    If your iMac freezes during startup or you see a flashing question mark
    ° Wait a few seconds. If your iMac doesn’t start up after a delay, shut down your iMac by pressing and holding the power (®) button for about 5 seconds, until it shuts down. Then hold down the Option key and press the power (®) button again to start up your computer. Keep holding down the Option key until your iMac starts up, then click the arrow under the icon of the startup disk you want to use.
    °After your iMac starts up, open System Preferences and click Startup Disk. Select a local Mac OS X System folder.
    °If the problem occurs frequently, you may need to reinstall your system software
  • multirob20 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I restarted the computer with the option key pressed. The only thing that came up was the install disk. The hard drive still did not appear. If I try it without the startup disk all I hear is the hard drive starting and stopping like its looking for something but can't find it.
  • laundry bleach Level 5 Level 5 (6,880 points)
    Hi multirob20 and welcome to Apple Discussions!

    The drive is dead and will need to be replaced. Contact Apple for a repair.

    Best of luck.
  • Jay-Bird Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Can you HEAR the hard drive trying to start? Does it sound like a mini-DJ scratching a record - or does it sound clicky...?

    If you HEAR this, the HD is likely toast. Hearing this is a tell-tale sign that the HD has broken, mechanically.

    This happened to me on my G5 desktop. I lost everything that wasn't backed up on dvd or flash drives.

    This is why I now use an external HD and have Time Machine backing up my iMac.
  • multirob20 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    It starts and then stops but makes no clicking or scratching noise.
  • mattnandez Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    This happened to my laptop a few days ago. I had installed a new 500GB HD a week before and it wouldn't show up under disk utility. My old 160GB HD showed up under disk utility but wouldn't boot. After I tried everything and eventually took it to the Genius Bar, they couldn't figure it out and sent it to the repair facility where they replaced the RAM. Not sure how the RAM was responsible for the symptoms, but now everything is working fine.

    Before reinstalling your software and losing all of your work, take your computer to the Apple Store. They have devices that can test whether your hard drives works on their machines.

    If you have any spare RAM laying around, try that. In my case, the RAM was replaced by Apple and my hard drive was not erased. Interestingly, the hard drive wasn't the problem at all. Of course, this is only based on my experience these past few days.

    Good luck.