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  1. #1

    JRhodes88's Avatar
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    May 03, 2010
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    iMac will not boot...stuck on grey screen
    Hello all,

    This is my first post on these forums.
    I've been having an issue with my iMac ever since I put Windows 7 on a boot camp partition (BAD IDEA). I'm running Snow Leopard 10.6.2 I believe. Since today when I restart my computer I've had to hold the option key down to bring up the two operating systems. If I didn't do this it would show me the grey question mark folder. The problem now is, when I hold down the option key during boot up it just shows me the mouse cursor, but never brings up the two HDD images to try and boot from. I have tried to reset the PRAM multiple times with no success.

    What can I do? I would like to get some files off it before I do a clean wipe and get rid of Windows. Should I use the Snow Leopard install disc to do some sort of repair? I don't have my disc anymore and would have to borrow one from a friend. Please help.

    Thank you!

  2. #2

    Zoolook's Avatar
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    15" MacBook Pro, i7 2.66Ghz, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD; iPad 3, iPhone 5
    Sounds like something went wrong with the partitioning and your partition table is corrupted or doesn't exist anymore. Have you backed up SL recently? If so, probably the best thing would be to get hold of the SL DVD and reinstall it on the correct partition and hope it fixes the GUID.

    Otherwise you're looking at removing the HDD completely and connecting it to another Windows machine to retrieve your data and then repartitioning the drive completely. A messed up GUID or MBR is a real pain to fix without another machine and a screwdriver unfortunately.
    In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is stoned to death.
    - Joan D. Vinge


  3. #3

    JRhodes88's Avatar
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    Well I have no information that I need backed up on the Windows side...just the Mac side. I am going to try to repair I guess with the install DVD. I haven't tried booting to the Firewire mode to transfer files off it, should that work? I'm at work right now so I can't try anything until i get home.
    iMac - 20" Aluminum
    iPhone 3GS - Jailbroken with Blackra1n

  4. #4

    Zoolook's Avatar
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    You could do that - if it boots then you should be able to see the files to transfer them out.
    In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is stoned to death.
    - Joan D. Vinge


  5. #5

    JRhodes88's Avatar
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    May 03, 2010
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    I don't have the snow leopard install disc and my friend just let me borrow his 10.4 Tiger disc. Should I be able to boot into disc utility from that or do i need the Snow Leopard disc?
    iMac - 20" Aluminum
    iPhone 3GS - Jailbroken with Blackra1n

  6. #6

    JRhodes88's Avatar
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    May 03, 2010
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    to bearers
    well I cannot get my iMac booting with any option. I reset PRAM, tried to boot with 'shift' held, tried to boot from a disc (it just spits the disc out after a while). Absolutely nothing works. I booted into Firewire mode and connected to a PC with MacDrive, the only option I got was to read the disc in the Macs optical drive.

    I just need a few files off this thing, but I have a question. Can you boot from an external DVD drive? I think there might be something wrong with the optical drive inside my iMac, but then again why would MacDrive on the PC read the disc thats in the optical drive just fine?
    iMac - 20" Aluminum
    iPhone 3GS - Jailbroken with Blackra1n

  7. #7

    Zoolook's Avatar
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    Sounds like something more sinister has gone wrong to me at this point. That your Windows and OS X operating systems are unavailable pointed to a GUID issue, but if you cannot boot from your DVD either, that's a more serious issue.

    Try this:

    Start the machine in single user mode. Hold Command-s as you boot. You should get a command line startup. If you do, type

    /sbin/fsck -fy

    Let me know what comes back.
    In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is stoned to death.
    - Joan D. Vinge


  8. #8

    JRhodes88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zoolook View Post
    Sounds like something more sinister has gone wrong to me at this point. That your Windows and OS X operating systems are unavailable pointed to a GUID issue, but if you cannot boot from your DVD either, that's a more serious issue.

    Try this:

    Start the machine in single user mode. Hold Command-s as you boot. You should get a command line startup. If you do, type

    /sbin/fsck -fy

    Let me know what comes back.
    nothing. I hold down command-s for about a minute and nothing. just stays at the grey screen.

    Can you boot from an external dvd drive? I think the superdrive inside is broken.

    Do you think I would be able to physically take the hard drive out of the iMac and get the files off it that way?
    iMac - 20" Aluminum
    iPhone 3GS - Jailbroken with Blackra1n

  9. #9

    JRhodes88's Avatar
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    ok guys here is a little update as of what's going on:

    Last night, since I couldnt do ANYTHING with my iMac I decided to get dirty and take her apart. Everything went smoothly and I got to the hard drive and extracted it. I took the HDD to a friends house with a few extra SATA ports on his PC. We plugged it in and booted up his Computer (He has MacDrive 8 installed). But when my HDD was plugged into his PC, it wouldn't boot up. It was stuck on the main black screen showing him all the drives that were loading on his machine and mine was the last one it was getting stuck on. It was not showing up.

    Now my next question is what can I do next? I need to get some files off this thing before I either wipe it clean somehow or get a new one. Should I find someone with a MacPro that I can put it in and try to run a disk repair on it?

    Also, Where can I buy a new Mac HDD similar to this one to put back in the iMac? I also want to buy a new Superdrive...is there a online retailer that sells Mac parts seperate?

    Thanks for all the help!
    iMac - 20" Aluminum
    iPhone 3GS - Jailbroken with Blackra1n

  10. #10

    chscag's Avatar
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    Also, Where can I buy a new Mac HDD similar to this one to put back in the iMac? I also want to buy a new Superdrive...is there a online retailer that sells Mac parts seperate?
    Best place, IMO, to buy parts for your iMac is from the folks at OWC. They're Mac specialists and have great customer support.

    Regards.

  11. #11

    JRhodes88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chscag View Post
    Best place, IMO, to buy parts for your iMac is from the folks at OWC. They're Mac specialists and have great customer support.

    Regards.
    Thank you very much for that.
    iMac - 20" Aluminum
    iPhone 3GS - Jailbroken with Blackra1n

  12. #12

    JRhodes88's Avatar
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    May 03, 2010
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    Well...I bought a SATA to USB enclosure yesterday to try and mount the drive to a Macbook pro and not good news at all. You can hear the drive spinning up, and then spinning down. It never mounts

    I just bought a new Hard Drive and Superdrive (since I have the iMac open) from Macsales.com (great site).

    I am going to try the hard drive in the freezer trick later tonight to see if I can read the defective drive long enough to get some important files from it. I will let everyone know how that goes, but has anyone here heard of the freezer trick or if it does work?
    iMac - 20" Aluminum
    iPhone 3GS - Jailbroken with Blackra1n

  13. #13

    JRhodes88's Avatar
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    May 03, 2010
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    It worked!!!
    Well I don't know how involved you guys are for hearing a success story but...

    I took the hard drive and sealed it up in a Zip-Lock bag and put it in the freezer. 3 hours later I took it out (it was sooooo cold)mounted it to my laptop and BAM the drive spun up, allowing me to recover all the files I needed to. My day/week just got a whole lot better and less stressful.

    Now I just have to wait for my new HDD to get here
    iMac - 20" Aluminum
    iPhone 3GS - Jailbroken with Blackra1n

  14. #14

    chscag's Avatar
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    Late 2013 27" iMac, iPad 3, iPhone 6s+, iPhone 6+, 3 iPods, El Capitan
    Glad to hear the good news. Sometimes the freezer trick works and sometimes it doesn't. Looks like you lucked out.

    Regards.

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