Previous 1 2 3 Next 32 Replies Latest reply: May 22, 2012 5:20 AM by rkaufmann87 Branched to a new discussion.
jacqui71 Level 1 (0 points)

Today I turned off the mains power to change a light bulb in a room that has given me some problems with sparking in the past.  Unbeknown to me, my son was using my iMac... (no, I failed to check properly, now I am suffering, believe me..).  After I switched the power on, my son exclaimed "Well, now the computer won't turn on!"  We have a surge protector which would have been on and working, but as the computer - a 17" intel duo core iMac purchased new in mid 2006 is old, and the surge protector is the same age, I am sick with worry wondering what it could be, and there are no repair shops near us open tomorrow, or even in our town!  I have to wait a week, and travel 100kms to the apple service specialists.... This computer is home to all our music (massive amounts my son has on there) and my photos - thousands, a serious hobby.  As well the computer runs Final Cut Pro Studio software, as we do a bit of video editing.  I have backed up no files, always meant to get around to it.....  As the computer is older, the main thing that devastates me at this point is my photos - a life history really, and thousands of hours too, photoshopping, etc.....  I have tried to computer in different power outlets, tried turning on, off, unplugging, all I can find recommended on these kind of sites - but to no avail.  The screen is black, and not a sound can be heard.  Completely dead.  Not one sign of life in the 8 hours since.....  I have been reading about PRAM batteries... this computer has had a massive amount of use, daily and in the house of serious creative insomniacs - for six years now, so almost daily serious use, and as yet just two dead keyboards, no other problems.... I got some extra RAM when it was purchased.  But recently it has not liked shutting down (it hasn't) so it has been pretty much permanently on, with the screensaver up,..... could this suggest a dying PRAM battery?  experts please, this internet reading has done my head in, now I have to wait a week!!!!! to know if our photos and music can be recovered.... if not the computer itself revived....? 


Thank you for any help.  I know, I am SUCH an idiot for not checking all electronic devices were off, but as we know, this MAC hasn't been turning off recently...

iMac, Mac OS X (10.7.4), duo core, running tiger, 06 model
  • rkaufmann87 Level 9 (55,303 points)

    Try resetting both the SMC and PRAM and if you get the machine to start back it up today! There is absolutely no excuse for not backing up, none! You can get an external HD connect it and use Time Machine which is the easiest method of backing up. Here are correct instructions for resetting the SMC and PRAM:




    • Shut down the computer.
    • Unplug the computer's power cord and all peripherals.
    • Press and hold the power button for 5 seconds.
    • Release the power button.
    • Attach the computers power cable.
    • Press the power button to turn on the computer.





    • Shut down the computer.
    • Locate the following keys on the keyboard: Command, Option, P, and R. You will need to hold these keys down simultaneously in step 4.
    • Turn on the computer.
    • Press and hold the Command-Option-P-R keys. You must press this key combination before the gray screen appears.
    • Hold the keys down until the computer restarts and you hear the startup sound for the second time.
    • Release the keys.
  • RRFS Level 5 (4,490 points)

    If the shut down of the power damaged your computer in such a way that it truly won't start up again the harddrive inside can be removed and it is possible that your data (photos, movies, pictures) might still be salvagable by a technician. Sorry to hear about your loss. Good luck with your problem.

  • jacqui71 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thank you, I have already found one of your older posts, and tried this.  As for shutting it down, I can't - as it's effectively dead.  I tried the 5 secs button down, turned off, and 5 secs once turned back on.  I've also tried the four keys simultaneously pushed down.  I know, there's no excuse. I am suffering now,  it is Mother's Day and my son hates me

  • jacqui71 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thank you, it gives me a little hope re the photos.  Is this difficult to do, ie. we are in New Zealand, where apple is still an underdog and the technicians want to sell new stuff over digging too deep - have I likely fried it to death, do you think....

  • Dah•veed Level 7 (33,665 points)

    A 6 year old computer of any make is on the down hill side of the life expectancy of its parts. The power supply may have been on its last leg and even a proper shut down may have been its last. If you have the funds then a new Mac may be in order and a tech may be able to help you retrieve the data off the old drive. You also need to find the funds for a couple of backup drives!


    I figured your were in NZ when you mentioned the "mains" and said that it was already Mother's Day. I have a couple Anglican priest friends on line in Christchurch.

  • rkaufmann87 Level 9 (55,303 points)

    Here is what Apple says to do with an iMac that won't start, it's from the owner's manual.



    1. If your iMac won’t turn on or start up
      •   Make sure the power cord is plugged into your iMac and a functioning power outlet.
      •   Restart your computer while holding down the Command (x) and R keys, until the

        computer restarts. When the Mac OS X Utilities pane appears, select an option to repair your disk, restore your software, or reinstall Mac OS X and Apple applications. For more information, see “Repairing, Restoring, or Reinstalling Mac OS X Software” on page 44.



    42 Chapter 4 Problem, Meet Solution



    •   Press the power button (®) and immediately hold down the Command (x), Option, P, and R keys until you hear the startup sound a second time. This resets the parameter RAM (PRAM).
    •   If you recently installed memory, and your iMac sounds tones every five seconds, make sure that the memory is correctly installed and that it is compatible with your iMac. Check whether removing the memory you installed allows your iMac to start up (see page 38).
    •   Unplug the power cord and wait at least 30 seconds. Plug the power cord in again and press the power button (®) to start up your iMac.
    •   If you still can’t start up your iMac, see “Learning More, Service, and Support” on page 54 for information about contacting Apple for service.


  • jacqui71 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thank you, oh how I need your Anglican priests right now! I just want my data back.....

  • jacqui71 Level 1 (0 points)

    Just checking, that the command key is the apple key next to option? If so, yes I've tried this - this manual info very good thanks, it's nearly 3am here now so I might need to sleep on it, feeling very resigned to the fact I have killed it though.... thank you for your quick help steps

  • rkaufmann87 Level 9 (55,303 points)

    I don't know which keyboard you use but the command key on my keyboards is the one directly to the left and right of the space bar and is clearly marked "Command."

  • Dah•veed Level 7 (33,665 points)

    And may be marked by one of these -

  • jacqui71 Level 1 (0 points)

    Just an apple icon, and another small flower looking icon, I know it as command from FCP tutes, just hoping I might have got it wrong.... and retry the PRAM reset using a different key.  The most worrying aspect is the total silence and blackness.  Others note whirring and grey flashing etc, but not in my case

  • jacqui71 Level 1 (0 points)

    thank you, yes, that's the flowery thing, sadly.  I have tried those 4 keys unsuccessfully, then.... hours ago, re another of Mr Kaufmann's help posts....

  • rkaufmann87 Level 9 (55,303 points)

    If you don't hear anything or see any lights at all then it points the finger at a failed power supply. IMHO your next stop is a AASP to see if it's worth being repaired, that will be your call. If it's only the power supply you can salvage the HD and put it into an enclosure. Once you have the HD in an enclosure once you have replaced the iMac with a new machine then you can recover your data. This time BACK UP however at this point I'm sure you know that now.

  • John Galt Level 8 (45,990 points)

    Hi jacqui, I'm sorry to hear your iMac is not powering on but it is very likely only the power supply is damaged, and that all your photos and other files are perfectly OK. They are just locked away in a computer that won't turn on.


    The power supply itself is not terribly expensive to replace (at least in the US). It's less expensive than replacing a hard disk, which as rkaufmann 87 already said can fail at any time for a variety of reasons.


    Merely turning off the mains power should not have caused this. I am inclined to believe your power supply was on the verge of failing and this event brought about its demise.

    ...  We have a surge protector which would have been on and working, ... and the surge protector is the same age,


    Surge suppressors use components that are life-limited. Their lifespan is limited by the amount of energy they are capable of absorbing. Some have LEDs that indicate whether this protection is still active, some do not.


    A surge suppressor that old is probably in need of replacement. It's fine to use as a power strip, but do not rely upon it any longer to protect your iMac from voltage transients. If you live in an area where power quality is not good you should invest in a UPS. They are not much more expensive than a good surge suppressor and are more effective at equipment protection. I use a UPS for every piece of "expensive" electronics I have.

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