391 Views 3 Replies Latest reply: Aug 10, 2006 10:54 PM by pstewart
The question mark means that your computer can't find a bootable hard drive. One of the first things to do is this:
Insert Installation Disc 1 in the DVD slot.
 Start up the computer while holding down the C key. This will boot the computer from the Installation Disc 1. When the boot is complete, go to the menu bar and select/launch Disk Utility.
Can Disk Utility recognize your hard drive? It's probably named Macintosh HD. If so, select Macintosh HD and choose the Repair Disk option. If it succeeds, run it again to be on the safe side, and restart the computer. If your computer boots normally, great; if it still can't see the hard drive or Disk Utility cannot repair errors, go to step 2.
 With Installation Disc 1 still inserted in the DVD drive, restart while holding down the D key. Select the extended test option and run Hardware Test. If errors are found, write down the error code and call Apple.
Obviously, there are decision branches, depending on what you discovered above.
A. In the best case (which I think is unlikely) Disk Utility was able to see the drive and to correct errors, resulting in a bootable hard drive. Consider yourself lucky and backup all of your data files to a CD or external drive. I would worry about why the problem happened, and would suspect that some of the applications, drivers or plugins that had been installed were incompatible and caused problems. I would keep external backups of all my important data just in case.
B. The second-best case would be that Hardware Test found nothing wrong with your hard drive, and Disk Utility found the drive but couldn't repair it. That means your operating system was really munged up. I would then recommend a total wipe of the drive and reinstallation of your operating system, followed by fresh installation of applications, printer drivers, etc. known to be compatible with your computer. You will have lost all of your data files, unless you had already gotten the habit of backing them up externally. Note: If you have another computer available try to see if you can mount your MBP drive in target disk mode. You may be able to save your data files before doing a complete wipe and OS installation.
C. The worst case would be failure of the hard drive. Apple will fix that problem, but you will have lost all your data on the failed hard drive. Get in the habit of backing up everything to an external drive.