The question mark folder can mean several thiings. One the hard disk is failing or has failed, or, you Mac can't find a System Folder to boot from. Try starting up while holding down the Option key. That should prompt the Startup Manager window where you can select the startup disk. If that doesn't help, check out this support link > A flashing question mark appears when you start your Mac
(TimeWarnerCable recently upgraded their speed this week but that wouldn't cause this would it?)
Okay, so got home and checked the mouse and keyboard, un and re plugged them in; unplugged the GarageBand controller I had connected and my printer, which has been troublesome lately. Started up and... fine, no problem. Now I just have to hope it doesn't happen again.
I will be updating shortly to Lion (after first updating to SnowLeopard). But if their is a hard disk problem that wouldn't help, would it?
Here's the quite lengthy error report that appeared after I started up and logged in. Perhaps someone can decipher it?
panic(cpu 0 caller 0x001A49CB): Unresolved kernel trap (CPU 0, Type 14=page fault), registers:
CR0: 0x8001003b, CR2: 0x00000000, CR3: 0x00fa1000, CR4: 0x000006e0
EAX: 0x00000000, EBX: 0x039b1500, ECX: 0x00000000, EDX: 0x00000000
CR2: 0x00000000, EBP: 0x25133ef8, ESI: 0x039b1500, EDI: 0x00000000
EFL: 0x00010246, EIP: 0x00848ca6, CS: 0x00000008, DS: 0x00000010
Backtrace, Format - Frame : Return Address (4 potential args on stack)
0x25133ce8 : 0x128d0d (0x3cc65c 0x25133d0c 0x131f95 0x0)
0x25133d28 : 0x1a49cb (0x3d2a94 0x0 0xe 0x3d22b8)
0x25133e38 : 0x19b3a4 (0x25133e50 0x39c6ef0 0x25133e98 0x13597b)
0x25133ef8 : 0x9064e1 (0x39b1500 0x297 0x25133f28 0x907564)
0x25133f28 : 0x909e92 (0x39c0b00 0x39c0ba4 0xaa 0x0)
0x25133f58 : 0x90a268 (0x39c0b00 0x0 0x25133f78 0x19e23a)
0x25133f78 : 0x13d989 (0x39c0b00 0x0 0x19e23a 0x385df5c)
0x25133fc8 : 0x19b21c (0x0 0x0 0x19e0b5 0x385f3b4) Backtrace terminated-invalid frame pointer 0x0
Kernel loadable modules in backtrace (with dependencies):
Darwin Kernel Version 8.11.1: Wed Oct 10 18:23:28 PDT 2007; root:xnu-792.25.20~1/RELEASE_I386
Model: iMac7,1, BootROM IM71.007A.B03, 2 processors, Intel Core 2 Duo, 2.4 GHz, 2 GB
Graphics: ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro, ATI,RadeonHD2600, PCIe, 256 MB
Memory Module: BANK 0/DIMM0, 1 GB, DDR2 SDRAM, 667 MHz
Memory Module: BANK 1/DIMM1, 1 GB, DDR2 SDRAM, 667 MHz
AirPort: spairport_wireless_card_type_airport_extreme (0x14E4, 0x88), Broadcom BCM43xx 1.0 (126.96.36.199)
Bluetooth: Version 1.9.5f4, 2 service, 0 devices, 1 incoming serial ports
Network Service: Built-in Ethernet, Ethernet, en0
Serial ATA Device: WDC WD3200AAJS-40RYA0, 298.09 GB
Parallel ATA Device: MATSHITADVD-R UJ-85J
USB Device: Built-in iSight, Apple Inc., Up to 480 Mb/sec, 500 mA
USB Device: Keyboard Hub, Apple, Inc., Up to 480 Mb/sec, 500 mA
USB Device: Apple Optical USB Mouse, Primax Electronics, Up to 1.5 Mb/sec, 100 mA
USB Device: Apple Keyboard, Apple, Inc, Up to 1.5 Mb/sec, 100 mA
USB Device: IR Receiver, Apple Computer, Inc., Up to 1.5 Mb/sec, 500 mA
USB Device: Bluetooth USB Host Controller, Apple, Inc., Up to 12 Mb/sec, 500 mA
Here's what finally happened, if anyone's interested.
Doing the Apple Hardware Test didn't work, it kept stalling partway thru.
Was FINALLY able to startup from the install disk holding C key (it kept ejecting the disk several times) and did a Repair to the Hard Disk using the Disk Utility, and that seemed to do the trick.