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IMac :: Got Dreaded Gray Screen With Question Mark On File Folder

How hard is it to replace the hard drive? I have a disaster recovery company step up to get all my info off of it if they can. But I really don't want to spend the money to have someone pull out the HD and put a new one in if I can do it myself. I have experience building pc towers but I haven't ever pulled apart an iMAC. Its an iMac 23(or 24) inch from Dec 2007 (I don't have the model info on hand as the box is in storage).

View 4 Replies (Posted: Aug 7, 2009)

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My Mac has been running flawlessly since its purchase in Nov. 2008. The other day, at startup, I noticed that the iMac hung on the initial, gray screen and did not show the gray Apple logo. I could hear the hard drive making several attempts to find a file, and after that, a gray Finder folder with a question mark on it blinked in the center of the screen. I inserted my Leopard DVD and hard booted the machine while holding down the "C" key on the keyboard so the Mac would boot from the Leopard DVD. It did just fine, and there appeared my login window. I logged in, and went straight to Disk Utility and repaired permissions. There were HUNDREDS of permissions and groups found to be in error. The first said SUID is wrong and cannot be repaired (??). The others said things like, "Permission for ABCDEFG is 80 should be 20," but it did not say what I expected, like " 80 should be 20, changed to 20." Permissions is likely not my problem, as I have just done another startup and I get the dreaded, blinking Finder folder with question mark upon it. 1-800-APL-CARE is closed for the long 4th of July holiday, so I have turned to my trusty friends in the Apple forums for help.

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Posted: Jul 3, 2009

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Yesterday, Safari froze up while I was it which I have never had happen before. So, I manually shut my Macbook off and tried to restart. When I did so, I received a gray screen with a flashing folder and question mark. From my research, I have found that usually this means that my laptop can't find the operating system and this issue can usually be resolved by inserting the installation disc. Problem is, I bought my Macbook secondhand and never got an installation disc. Does anyone know of a way around this issue? Or if buying the Snow Leopard upgrade for $30 instead of buying a whole new package for about a hundred dollars more might resolve this issue?

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Posted: Apr 4, 2010

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I restarted my computer today and got a white screen with a flashing gray folder with a question mark on it (white screen of death). So I restarted the computer again and held down command+option+p+r. This got me to the login screen where I proceeded to login. I then ran disk utility, selected my HD, clicked on the First Aid tab and then pressed the 'Verify Disk' button and received this message below.

After looking around for several hours on the internet. I came across and tried some potential solutions to the problem Ive come to experience, but of course with no success, that being the reason I'm writing this post. I have tried to boot from my 'Mac OS X install disc 1' which worked until I tried to run Disk Utility from the install disk. I kept being presented with a prompt saying that the application 'Disk Utility' quit unexpectedly (I dont know if the fact that I cannot run 'Disk Utility' right off the install disc is an issue or maybe Im just doing something wrong. Possibly my 'Mac OS X Install Disc 1' is corrupt, although I dont see how it could be). I also tried booting in 'Safe Mode' only to be encountered by the 'white screen of death' again. The same result came from trying to boot in 'single-user mode'. Im very curious as to how I can fix this issue and very eager to find the solution. Ive had this computer for over a year now, I dont know if thats relevant or not.

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Posted: Oct 3, 2010

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I recently upgraded to Lion on my MacBook Pro but it didn't sit well with my compuer. It became sluggish and would take forever to load applications, pictures, music, movies, etc that only took SL a few seconds at most. I decided to downgrade back to SL so I put in my Install DVD (version 10.6.6) and tried to format the hard drive so I could start new. However it would not work with the CD, so I continued looking around online and I came under the impression that if you erase the hard drive it will allow you to start new (in my case, with SL). However now I get a gray screen with a folder with a question mark.

I do not have my files backed up through Time Machine.

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I just bought a new iMac. I have been trying all week (with no success) to transfer files and apps from my previous iMac. The last time I tried to transfer, I used target mode on the old computer. It looked as if it was finally working, so I left with 2+ hours remaining on the transfer. When I returned, the computer was frozen and nothing would work. So I held the power button to turn it off. When I tried to turn it back on, there was only a gray screen with a flashing folder with a question mark. I feel like I have tried everything listed in other discussions. The only thing I am not able to try is to reinstall Lion because the new computer did NOT come with an OSX disc of any type.

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Posted: Jun 17, 2012

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About once a month I have a problem where the machine won't boot and I get the blinking question mark icon on the screen. I've read lots (and lots) of posts about this, all which say that the hard drive is dead or something similar. Disk Utility and Drive Warrior sometimes see no disk and sometimes see a disk that reports a 0 byte capacity. The thing is, it has always come back. The typical pattern is that nothing I do seems to help. Eventually I've tried all the standard things (safe mode, pram reset, etc), rebooted it a bunch and then walk away for a few hours. Nothing seems to work immediately, but if I leave it alone it comes back. What gives? In case it matters I've got an iMac 20" (?), intel duo 2.8 GHz with a 500 GB WD drive. I used to think the problem might be heat related, but I recently had to leave the machine off for a week in this state and when I returned the problem persisted.

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My MBP has started flashing up a grey folder with a "?" as the first image on booting, it only lasts for a fraction of a second before the grey Apple appears.

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Posted: Apr 14, 2010

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I have a 13" macbook purchased 2007 just out of the extended protection plan this summer. Last night while watching a video in full screen it froze with the beach ball for over 20 minutes with no sign of stopping. I had my external WD drive hooked up which is my iTunes drive (only). I had to manually shutdown the computer (with external still hooked up) After trying to reboot I got the flashing question mark and continue to get it no matter what I do.

I've removed the external drive, reset the PRAM, tried booting in safe mode, tried booting from installation disc but my hard drive doesn't even appear in disk utility. Not sure what else I can try as nothing has worked.

Posted: Sep 28, 2010

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Mac OS X (10.5.6)

Posted: May 25, 2009

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MacBook :: Hard Drive Died - Gray Folder And White Question Mark?
I think the hard drive in my Macbook (2007 Model) has died. My macbook froze and when I restarted I can hear an usual clicking noise and I only get a white screen with a grey folder icon and white question mark inside. Fortunately, I use super dooper to create a bootable clone of my hard drive as a back up. When I attach this and hold down the apple key I boot straight into the clone and the computer runs fine from the external hard drive. If I go to disk utility my computer can not locate the internal hard drive, nor if I go t sysyem prefs-startup disk. Should I assume its dead or could it be a connection problem. I don't have applecare so I'm willing to buy a new hard drive and swap it myself. However, this is making the assumption the hard drive is the culprit. Can anyone else diagnose this problem from the desrcitpion before I shell out on a new hard drive?

Posted: Jul 2, 2009

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I was uploading a .Mov file to my idisk when I got an error message - not sure what it said. But the screen dimmed, and then froze. I held down the power to power down - which it did. When I fired it back up, I heard the startup sound - then the screen went white. A gray folder icon appears with a question mark over it - and it blinks. I tried powering down again and unplugging, and also powering on with all peripherals unplugged. Again I get the white screen, folder icon and question mark. That .Mov was being uploaded as a freelance project for Google due tomorrow morning.

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Posted: Sep 3, 2010

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IMac Intel :: White Screen With Flashing Folder And Question Mark And Constant Crashing?
Recently I noticed the mac had started getting a lot slower than usual, I put this down to the many Photoshop files on the hard-drive, later deleting around 90 percent of them....The computer was back to speed,

Until one morning when I booted it up and a white screen with a flashing folder appeared, I restarted the system and it went back to normal but seemed a lot lot slower once again. The screen has happened a few times now and upon research people have reported a clicking noise when this screen appears? I luckily do not get this, just a frozen screen.

I then further looked into it and people reported that a re-install of the software should fix it, as the flashing folder is the imac looking for the HD?

I re-installed which at first seemed to fix it, until about 20 minutes after.

I do occasionally get the blank screen and flashing folder now, but more the computer literally freezes 24/7 Countless times, the only option being to force a restart. Sorry for the long winded topic, it just seems easier to explain this how you would say it when the help you need isn't in front of you, so you get the better picture

To sum up; The imac got the white screen and flashing folder numerous times, but can eventually get around this and log on as usual. When logged on however, it's constantly freezing for even the most simple tasks leaving me to shut it down forcefully.

I have re-installed the software once which at first seemed to have fixed it, but later proved wrong. The only usb peripherals being used are my keyboard and mouse.


Posted: Dec 6, 2010

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after weeks of deleting cloning and fixing files. I had everything removed except on the finder bar a little Flag of Israel . I managed to get rid of the little flag but now have a question mark instead. If I click on the mark it says the item can not be found.

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I have a 20" Intel iMac that I purchased about 2 years ago. I have had no problems with it at all until yesterday afternoon. I had just woken it from sleep (no problems at all with the screen), used it for 5 minutes to check email and then left for 10 minutes only to come back to this on the screen:


I have tried restarting with the same result each time. The computer starts up with a gray screen that fades around the edges to the picture shown above. I am still able to use the computer with an external monitor, so obviously just the screen seems to be affected. Any ideas about what could be wrong?

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about a week ago my hard drive died. i took it in to be diagnosed... I purchased a new 250GB hard drive and decided to install on my own. I followed the detailed instructions on [URL], it was a breeze... but, now the problem is installing OS X onto my laptop. I can't find the original start up disk for the iBook G4, so I tried using Mac OS X Tiger, V10.4. The installation DVD loads up fine, but when it arrives at the "Select a Destination" step no Icons appear on the screen... my new hard drive seems to be hidden.

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Just turned on my MacBook and it opened up with a grey screen with a folder in the middle with a question mark

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So i noticed my macbook pro was slowing down and a ran disk warrior and disk utilities - repaired permissions , repaired drive then i noticed it was freezing up after 5 minutes of running.

so i removed all files i wanted to keep to an external drive and backed up with time machine.

I wanted to re install mac os X from the supplied DVD and it was going fine til about 2/3rds the way and it froze

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im under a year in purchase

but im wondering if there is anything i can do before i take it in on Monday?

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Posted: Apr 28, 2008

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