Strange Startup screen

ardlidoo

Registered
Hi - hope somone can help and that this is not a silly question!

I have had my 15" powerbook for 18 months now and the cable broke about 4 weeks ago. Due to moving house and country it has taken me 4 weeks to get a replacement - this is the longest the laptop has ever been off. I got the cable this morning and switched it on but get a strange screen on startup. There is a very small flashing symbol in the centre of a blue-grey screen. The symbol is the shape of a file with a tab (the same as those in a filing cabinet) and about every second it flashes off and back on. The picture on the symbol changes from a question mark to a (apple?) symbol with the two faces and back again.

I am hoping this is a charge-up feature after a long period of being off........but would be very grateful for any info from someone who may have seen the same thing..

Cheers,

Ardlidoo
 

CaptainQuark

93 93/93
The scenario you describe sounds very much as though your Mac can't find a System to boot up from. You will have to boot up from your System CD. Put the CD in the drive, and reboot while holding down the [C] key.

When your Mac has booted up, run Disk Utility from the CD to repair your hard disk.

Hope that helps!
 

Lt Major Burns

"Dicky" Charlteston-Burns
yes, i will second that - this is the apple way of saying it can't find MacOS to boot into. somethings wrong, so a disk repair from the CD (holding down c during startup as described above) and maybe start in safe mode (holding down shift during startup) after that. also, when booted from CD make sure you are selecting the right start-up disk.
 
The Disk Utility option is in the "Installer" Menu of the cd. Just thought i'd add that little piece of info. Took me forever to find it the first time.
 

ardlidoo

Registered
Hi again.... I am a little confused... I have tried to boot up from the CD but it wants to totally re-install OSX - is this necessary? and if so how do I ensure I don't lose my files?.

When I try to run disk repair (without re-installing) the disk repair buttons are greyed out (not active)....

Cheers
 

CaptainQuark

93 93/93
In the left-hand window of DiskUtility, you will see a list of any disks in your Mac. You need to select your normal boot disk. All 4 buttons should then be activated. Personally, I would "Repair Disk" first, and then, for good measure, I would also "Repair Permissions".

As for re-installing, as long as you don't include a format in the procedure, you can safely allow OS X to re-install and not lose any files. "Archive and Install" is your best bet, as it will keep your old system in a separate folder so that you can retrieve any special drivers, files, etc from your old system.

Hope that helps. :D
 

ardlidoo

Registered
Sorry I didn't see your last reply before chatting about PRAM...

In the lefthand window it shows the Restore CD as a disk and below and to the right it shows PowerBookG4, but when I click on this the message above this lefthand window is "0 disk and 1 volume selected". It is therefore not recognisisng my HD as a disk??...and when I select "PowerBookG4" the repair and verify buttons are not activated......

I have tried holding down the X key during start up (without the restore CD in) and it finds no disk to start from.

I have also reset the PRAM but it still sees nothing on startup......

Does this mean that only a re-install will work or any other ideas?
 

ardlidoo

Registered
I had installed the Tiger upgrade before all these problems - so have tried booting and disk utility from the original CD and from the Upgrade DVD..... all to no avail.....
 

CaptainQuark

93 93/93
Sorry it's taken so long to get back to you. I'm at the stressful end of finalising a book and just haven't had the time even to scratch my own a$$!

OK, you can boot off a CD, but not your internal hard drive, and Disk Utility doesn't see your hard drive either. That sounds like a dead drive to me. :(

Did you get a Hardware Test Utility CD with your Mac? If so, boot up off of that and see if it reports anything amiss with your drive that it can fix, otherwise I'm afraid like it's time to get a new hard drive.

I'm sorry I haven't been able to help you solve your problem. Notch up a failure to CQ :(
 

ardlidoo

Registered
No worries about the delay.... bad news though.... am not a happy camper :( ...

I don't have a Hardware Test utility CD with me but will get one and try it.... really don't want to give up on this until it is definitely dead.... have too much on there...

Is there any way of getting files / apps off the HD if it is "dead"

A very sad Mac user .....
 

mbase1235

Registered
ardlidoo said:
No worries about the delay.... bad news though.... am not a happy camper :( ...

I don't have a Hardware Test utility CD with me but will get one and try it.... really don't want to give up on this until it is definitely dead.... have too much on there...

Is there any way of getting files / apps off the HD if it is "dead"

A very sad Mac user .....
Did you ever find a solution to your problem? I have a very similar problem, iBook will not recognize the internal boot drive. I boot from the OSX CD and go to disk repair, every option is greyed out! I cannot even start the computer in firewire mode (where it emulates a hard disk) to get the files off of it. And in my case when I go to Install Mac OS X from the install disk it does not even find the internal disk as a destination volume, so I cannot re-install Mac OS X either. Frustrated
 
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