Previous 1 2 Next 19 Replies Latest reply: Jun 2, 2006 2:30 PM by Craigwd_2000
Apple Mama Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Hi all-
Please help. I have a Color Classic from days gone by. it worked superb until recently--we had a brown out and there were some storms while i was on vacation--i'm guessing that caused the problem.

Anyway, when i start her, i get the Question mark icon. When i try booting off the disk tools disk or the Install Me First Disk, it starts, but I can't "switch disks." The HD never comes up like it doesn't exist.

Please --any advice. it worked great one week ago! I'm trying to sell it too!
Thanks!

Color Classic & Power Book G4, Mac OS 8.6 or Earlier
  • Denis Eddy Level 4 Level 4 (3,540 points)
    Apple Mama
    Welcome to the Discussions.

    Quizzical Floppy signifies that the system cannot find a valid (blest) System Folder on a startup device from which to start up. The startup device can be an internal or external hard disk drive, floppy drive, CD-ROM, or Zip drive. Usually it is the internal hard drive at SCSI ID=0.

    Do you hear (or feel) the CC's internal drive spin up when you press the soft-power key on the keyboard? Do you have Install floppy disks for the CC? Do you have an external SCSI CD-ROM drive and a retail Install CD? What System is the CC using?

    You need to access the HDD and to mount it on the desktop, repair the HDD (if need be), reformat it, and re-install a disk driver and a working System. (If you are preparing the CC for sale, you do not need to leave more than a functional System on it.) If you wish to rescue existing personal files, there will be a different flavour to the rescue exercise.

    Post back, if you wish, to let us know which of the rescue equipment (above) you have available.
  • Appaloosa mac man Level 5 Level 5 (4,330 points)
    Apple Mama,

    Welcome to the forums.

    Before going too far with other options, try what I call a swift kick and a warm boot.

    Turn the computer on. Wait for the flashing question mark. Then, while holding down the "Command" (Apple key) + "Control" keys, press the soft power key (left triangle power on key) on the top right or center of your keyboard. This should cause the computer to chime and restart without shutting off power to the motherboard and something called a PRAM battery.

    When a PRAM battery dies, key information is lost and the hard drive may not respond in time to be seen as a startup option. The warm boot restart may allow the hard drive enough time to warm up and be recognized the second time around. If this does not work, you probably have lost a file in the system folder that needs to be restored. As Denis indicated you will then need a second hard drive or Apple CD-ROM drive plugged into the back of the computer as a second boot option. A first aid boot floppy should also work.

    Jim
  • Texas Mac Man Level 8 Level 8 (46,535 points)
    Try a PRAM zap at startup. You may also need to replace the internal memory battery. See Mac PRAM, NVRAM, CUDA/PMU & Battery Tutorial

    Cheers, Tom
  • Apple Mama Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Hi all-
    Thanks for the info. So...i just tried the Pram boot. When i pressed those buttons i got a funny icon...the the computer did chime and restart, but it went right back to the question mark.
    To answer some of your questions:
    Do you hear (or feel) the CC's internal drive spin up when you press the soft-power key on the keyboard? Not really. I hear the machine hum.

    Do you have Install floppy disks for the CC? Yes I do.
    Do you have an external SCSI CD-ROM drive and a retail Install CD? I don't have any external drive. The computer pretty much has only what it came with.
    What System is the CC using? Pretty sure it is 7.1

    I have the first aid floppy, but like i said before, when i put it in...the computer still doesn't 'see' or recognize any HD...just the disk drive.

    I do have a powerbook --can i use this somehow?

    I'm so sad b/c it worked fine days ago. It had been in a box unused for years and when i started it--it was great--all was there as i had left it. But then we had a power outage and stupid me-i left in plugged in.

    THanks again for any help/advice...
  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 9 Level 9 (51,765 points)
    Leaving it in the box for years allowed the PRAM backup battery to become depleted. It was not the power surge, but the momentary interruption of power that forced the battery to cover the shortfall. Since yours has become worn out, corruption creeps in.

    The OS Type, OS Version, and Boot device are all stored in PRAM for a quick boot-up. Yours is now looking for an OS that does not exist on a device you do not have.

    Power off. Hold down 4 keys:
    Command Option P R
    touch the power key to start up, and keep holding the four keys (it will take a minute or more) until you have heard the chimes four times, then release.

    This will set the Parameters back to defaults. But they will not stay that way. You need a new battery.
  • Apple Mama Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Hi-
    Thank you all for helping me.
    I did the commandoption+pr boot and it did chime four times,but still had a question mark. Does this mean i should just replace the battery?
    Will this bring my HD back? Will all my software/docs etc still be there? Will i have to reload the system software?

    OR could there still be something more wrong w/ the HD?

    Thanks again...
  • Denis Eddy Level 4 Level 4 (3,540 points)
    Apple Mama
    Do you have Install floppy disks for the CC? Yes I do.
    ...
    What System is the CC using? Pretty sure it is 7.1
    I have the first aid floppy, but like i said before, when i put it in...the computer still doesn't 'see' or recognize any HD...just the disk drive.

    The resetting of PRAM (detailed by Grant) refocusses the system's attention to the logical whereabouts of the hard drive (the startup device). This refocus will remain until you shut down, but will not be maintained at the next startup unless you replace the backup battery. The backup battery is 'spared' by leaving the CC attached to the mains (wall socket) after shutdown and with the rear switch of the CC left on.

    If a PRAM reset does not result in full startup and mounting of the hard drive on the desktop you must call upon the Disk Tools floppy to undo the (minor) damage caused by the power outage. Insert the floppy immediately after the chime. It should mount on the desktop when the CC has completed startup.

    Open the Utilities folder and double-click on Disk First Aid. Across the top of the window you should see icons for the floppy disk and the hard drive. Click on the hard drive icon to allow DFA to examine and correct the hard drive's condition. When DFA reports that all is well, run the program once more.

    Quit DFA. Open HD SC Setup. Use the option to reinstall the hard drive's driver software. Quit HD SC setup. Restart. The floppy disk should be ejected, and the CC should restart from the HDD, and mount the volume's icon on the desktop just as in 'the old days'.


    Apple IIe; 15 x 68K; 7 x PPC; 5 x G3     System 6.0.8 to OS 10.4.x
  • Apple Mama Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Dear All-
    First, i want to thank you all for your continued help. I am new to this forum and I appreciate that there are folks out there willing to help. I did try to mark all the replies as 'helpful' but it seemed after the first 2, I wasn't able anymore.

    Anyway, I just tried starting again and inserting the disk tools. What always happens is this:
    startup looks normal...'welcome to macintosh', etc.
    THe first message i get is that my 'clock is not set to the correct time.'

    Then, as i said before, the only thing 'mounted' on my desk top is the "Disk Tools" Icon. There is no longer an icon for my HD.

    Also when i try to use the Disk FIrst Aid--the "disk tools' window pops up and the only choices i have are to "open" the "internal floppy drive" or cancel. The "Drive" and "Eject" buttons are grayed out. There is no choice for my HD--like i've said it just is not there.

    What should I do now? Again:

    Does this mean i should just replace the battery?
    Will this bring my HD back? Will all my software/docs etc still be there? Will i have to reload the system software?

    OR could there still be something more wrong w/ the HD?

    Thanks again!
  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 9 Level 9 (51,765 points)
    If the drive does not show up ("mount") on the desktop, you will need a bigger hammer. While booted from the floppy, open the other program Denis mentioned, Drive Setup. It should show you a list of all the CDs and hard drives. Select your drive from the list. Choose "Update Driver" to re-write the driver with a known good copy.

    At this point, you may be able to choose "Mount" from the menus. If successful, your Hard drive will appear on the desktop.

    If your Hard drive does appear, run Disk First aid to repair any damage to the directory, then run it again until you get a clean bill of health or a message that refuses to go away.
  • Apple Mama Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I'm sorry this is getting a bit frustrating.
    Please understand--My HD is NOT showing up. I can't see it. I can't select it. It is not under First Aid. It is not under "Apple HD SC setup." When i first open that program a window pops up saying " Drive selection failed. Unable to locate a suitable drive connected to scsi port." When i click 'continue', everything is grayed out there (test, initialize, update, partition). the only choice I have is to Quit.
    It also just says "SCSI Device: Drive."

    Nothing I do is showing my HD.
    What should I do now? Again:

    Does this mean i should just replace the battery?
    Will this bring my HD back? Will all my software/docs etc still be there? Will i have to reload the system software?

    OR could there still be something more wrong w/ the HD?

    Thanks again!
  • Denis Eddy Level 4 Level 4 (3,540 points)
    Apple Mama
    Replacing the battery has ben necessary from the outset, so yes, you should. However, the earlier question needs to be resolved: do you hear the hard drive spin up after the chime. If the hard drive does not spin up it can neither be 'seen' by the system nor read. If there is no hard drive present, ditto. A slow, old drive of 80 or 160MB may be fairly quiet, so put your fingertips (or ear) to the lower left centre of the case (from the front) before you press the 'soft power' switch on the keyboard. In that way the contrast between not spinning and spinning may be more apparent.

    If the drive seems not to spin up, it may be missing, detached from its power cable, or dead. Getting to it necessitates taking the case 'bucket' (the whole rear section) off. You can, however, check whether it is there by undoing only the access door (backplate) and looking.

    While the machine is switched off at the wall socket, but left plugged in, touch some part of the metalwork around the opening to ground static charge from your body and clothing. The drive should have a grey logic ribbon (flat) cable and a four-cable power loom ending in a white plug. All you will see is the logic cable passing through the roof of the logic board's space on the right side (from the rear). If you gently tug downward on that ribbon cable and find resistance, it is probable that it is present. However, that may be small consolation if it is not spinning up. Fixing a failure to spin needs that you take the case bucket off.


    Apple IIe; 15 x 68K; 7 x PPC; 5 x G3     System 6.0.8 to OS 10.4.x
  • Appaloosa mac man Level 5 Level 5 (4,330 points)
    Apple Mama,

    I sometimes take a different point of view, not to be negative or contrary but to examine other possibilities. I try not to spend money that I cannot recover, unless it is to buy old computers that I can never resell. I call that tuition and other educational expenses. : )

    You do not need a new battery. Period.

    In your original post you said, and I quote:

    "Please --any advice. it worked great one week ago! I'm trying to sell it too!"

    If you go to Radio Shack to buy the battery, you will spend $15.00. If you try to sell the computer, you will have to deduct costs from the proceeds of your sale.

    My humble recommendation is that you list it for sale with all pertinent details including the following statement:

    The computer worked just fine last week. It seems to not recognize the hard drive and there are files on the hard drive that I want to keep so I have removed the drive. The PRAM battery appears to be dead but that has not stopped me from booting the computer from a Disk Tools floppy and performing normal everyday tasks. As I said, the computer works fine except it will no longer read my hard drive so I have removed it and am selling the computer "As Is."

    Most buyers of that vintage computer will have extra drives, external drives, Disk Warrior drive recovery software and other tools needed to tinker with old Macs plus the knowledge of how to use those tools.

    IF however, I have misread your intentions and you want to retrieve files, delete files, use the computer and spend money fixing it in hopes that you can sell the computer for more than you have spent already, then I agree whole heartedly with Denis.

    You need to know if your hard drive is spinning up. By the time you open up your Classic ( and the name gives a clue as to age, not value ) and check your hard drive, you are very close to pulling the drive and just letting the buyer insert a new drive. For that matter, you could buy a $5.00 LCII at Goodwill and pull that drive to put in your CC. All this comes back to having an external hard drive case that lets you boot externally will a 'bigger hammer' and do more diagnostics.

    Only you can decide how much trouble and money you want to put into the machine. Selling it as is but not DOA if the Tools disk is included in the sale might bring the greatest money without questionable repair costs.

    Jim
  • Apple Mama Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Hi guys-
    Too late. I just came home from Radio Shack w/ my new $15 battery. I installed it on the logic board. But, as i feared, all is the the same. Still has blinking question mark. I did the 2 different PRAM boots too...to the same result.

    As far as the HD spinning. All i hear at startup is a faint spinning that seems to try to spin but then dies. This happens one other time--it starts then dies.

    The flat cable inside was still attached. Since it was perfect just a week or so ago and then we had this storm--i have to assume it took some kind of hit then.

    So...is there anything else i can do at this point? I do have a powerbook--can i plug this in somehow to do diagnostics. Or does this seem to indicate that my HD is just dead?
    Jim, you are right, i do just want to sell. It was in such perfect working order before--so i thought it'd be an easier sale. There was some 'classic' software on there that i thought was a nice plus to sellers, but maybe not.

    Last thoughts?

    Thanks!
  • Appaloosa mac man Level 5 Level 5 (4,330 points)
    Apple Mama,

    "Last thoughts?"

    How about 'last rites?' It may not be that bad but testing the hard drive is a must.

    The Power book works the other way around. It can be plugged into a working Mac and act as a second hard drive for file transfers but, to the best of my knowledge, it is not a boot device for a second computer.

    Since your computer will work from a floppy, an external hard drive would work best. If you have the right SCSI cable for the Powerbook, you could pull files over from the PB hard drive to a floppy. If you had that cable you would probably know it because it is very unique. Do you have one? Buying one would cost more than the value of the Color Classic. Do you want that cable for troubleshooting or backing up files on your Powerbook?

    Or maybe you can find a little adapter that has the small high density plug on one side and then the normal 25 pin SCSI connector on the other side that will accept a 25 pin to 25 pin cable just like a Zip drive cable. For that matter, do you have an external Zip drive? We are searching for tools that give you options.

    An external Apple CD-ROM drive would let you boot from a universal install CD but once again we are talking about spending more on the repair than you would recouperate on the sale.

    If the drive itself is not spinning up at all because of becoming sticky, a technician can open the drive, hand start the drive and then transfer files. The drive will then be unreliable but data will be saved. That takes you back to the idea of parting out an LC II and using its HDD. Most of us reading the posts on a regular basis have options that may not be readily available to you but you could easily obtain. How much hands on do you want to learn before you sell the item 'as is?'

    Jim
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