5 Replies Latest reply: Mar 15, 2013 5:07 PM by Eric Root
robatmaxson Level 1 (0 points)

I have what seems like a hard drive read issue, but I'm no hardware expert, so i wanted to explain my situation in the hopes that someone might be able to help out.


A few days ago, when I woke my iMac (21" purchased in 2007), the wait cursor started spinning and I could hear something mechanical spinning inside. There was some friction. This continued for some time--I couldn't force quit or anything--so I shut it down. When I rebooted, I heard the sound again and the screen remained gray.


I unplugged the external hardrive I use for time machine and repeated. This time I also got the gray screen, but on top of it was the blinking icon of a folder with a question mark in its center. Within the machine I could hear that mechanical spinning-with-friction sound. I did another hard reboot and was able to login and use my computer normally. I even plugged in the external hard drive and did a time machine backup.


Since then, I eject the TM HD before I sleep my machine and about half the time it wakes fine. The rest of the time, though, I end up with the never-wait cursor and, after I do a hard reboot, the blinking folder with the question mark. I typically have to reboot 1-3 times until it takes me to the login screen.


This has only been happening a few days, but it seems that it only occurs when my machine has been asleep for quite a while--say, overnight. Since it started out of the blue, I'm worried about things getting worse quickly and want to nip things in the bud if I can.


Does anyone have any ideas what could be going on? My machine and the TM backup have been sitting in the same place for months, so I don't see how they could have been jostled. (This was the first thing that came to mind when I heard that spinning sound.)


Please let me know if you need any additional information or if you have any ideas as to what could be causing this.


Thank you.

iMac, 2.4 GHz