3 Replies Latest reply: Apr 12, 2013 10:49 AM by jaymur
jaymur Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

Hi there,


I recently had an iMac die on me. Upon reboot, the iMac would boot with a folder and a question mark. Assuming the hard-drive ran into problems, I attempted to run Disk Warrior, Disk Utility or several other bootable programs off USB with no luck. Doing such simply led to the iMac booting with a cicle & a slash. Booting in verbose or single-user mode eventually showed the message "waiting for root device" which slowly repeated.


I've since tried to boot the iMac with a new hard-drive and without any attached, whilst having a Snow Leopard USB install stick attached. The iMac still won't boot past the circle with the slash.


The computer is an 17-inch iMac (Intel, Core Duo).


Any advice?




  • Eric Ross Level 6 Level 6 (11,660 points)

    Were you able to see it in disk utility? it sounds like your hard drive has failed, you would need to replaced.

  • CaptH Level 1 Level 1 (55 points)

    Take a look at this article:




    It goes over some of the symptoms of drive problems including what you're seeing. They have a link to a much bigger book too. If you download that book and look at the block diagrams of the systems and data flows, you'll notice that hard drives, USB ports, etc. etc. all feed out of an I/O controller. On the version of the book that I have these are on pages 14 and 15. From what you've said, the unit won't boot off an internal drive, and it sounds like you're also saying it won't boot off a bootable USB flash drive either. The only thing the two have in common is the I/O controller, and if it's failed the system will probably never boot anything.


    I'd go ahead and read some of the stuff in the link above including the resets they mention. Who knows, it might work.


    Good luck and I hope this helped in some way.

  • jaymur Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Sounds like there is an I/O issue with the USB input. I took the iMac to a Genuis Bar where they had the same problem but were able to install Snow Leopard via DVD. I'm guessin' whatever hurt the hard-drive affected the I/O controller as well.


    Thanks all for your help.