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You are here: MacNN Forums > Enthusiast Zone > Classic Macs and Mac OS > g4 freeze then flashing question mark

g4 freeze then flashing question mark
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Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Miami, Florida, USA
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Mar 5, 2001, 08:56 PM
 
Hi,
When my G4 DP 450 258MB freezes and the only way I can shut down is by depressing the power button. When I try to restart I get the flashing question mark. Even after 10 minutes I get nothing. Zapping the PRAM does nothing only by taking out the battery on the logic board for about 10 min. and then replacing am I able to reboot from the hard drive. You can boot from the CD but hard drive is not visible when you do this. Service department tells me that its a software issue. My computer came with 9.0.4 ran good for a few months and then all hell broke loose, Iv since erased the hard drive reinstalled the software and updated to 9.1 I only run Flash 4 and photoshop 5.5 Netscape and I have a DSL modem. Has anyone els had this problem and solved it? Your response is appreciated
     
Mac Enthusiast
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Poway, CA USA
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Mar 5, 2001, 11:23 PM
 
A flashing question mark when you try to boot up means the Mac is not reading the boot information from your hard drive properly. Most likely you have some boot block corruption. Do you have Tech Tool Pro or Norton on CD? If you boot from either of those CDs you should be able to get the hard drive to mount (even if it will not mount just in the finder). After you boot from the Norton or TTPro CD just run Norton or TTPro (off the CD) and have the program search for drives connected to your Mac. Either program should be able to fix most problems with the boot blocks on your hard drive.
     
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Mar 5, 2001, 11:41 PM
 
Thanks for your response. I dont have the norton disc, I have Apples disc tools which gives you the option to search for drives and it can not find the hard drive. If all is well and I power down the right way and reboot and run the cd disc first aid, everything points to being okay- no problems detected.

I will see if I can get the TTP cd or Norton cd and test with them. I am surprised they didnt come bundled when we purchased this machine, they came with my last one, anyway if anybody else has run into this same problem also please respond and I will post a solution if I find one as well
thanks
jp
     
Clinically Insane
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Mar 6, 2001, 02:46 AM
 
Don't bother with Norton - get DiskWarrior. Best thing for a disk you can get.
It'll fix it.
And if it doesn't?
You're only hope is Data Rescue and a format.

Cipher13
     
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Mar 6, 2001, 04:12 AM
 
I had somthing very similar happen to me. my G4 wouldn't boot off the internal system disk, even when I booted off a CD the drive didn't appear on the desktop, however booting off the norton CD and running disk recover to reset everything to when I shut the machine down the night before fixxed everything and it's been working fine, the problem as far as I could isolate it was to do with audion and energy saver so now my G4 doesn't get to sleep without me telling it to.
     
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Mar 6, 2001, 06:37 AM
 
This happens to me occasionally. All I do is unplug the computer. Next time I start all is well! I think the idea here is NOT to restart.

Doing a cold boot (from a frozen machine) requires you to pull the plug.

Good luck.
     
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Mar 6, 2001, 09:25 AM
 
Originally posted by Jonnie13:
This happens to me occasionally. All I do is unplug the computer. Next time I start all is well! I think the idea here is NOT to restart.

Doing a cold boot (from a frozen machine) requires you to pull the plug.

Good luck.
No, you do not have to pull the plug to recover from a crash. You have two choices... You can either push and hold in the power button for 5 seconds to shut down the machine, and then turn it back on, or just push the reset button (the small button on the left below the power button). Both of these methods are safer than unplugging the machine.
     
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Mar 6, 2001, 12:03 PM
 
As for restarting. It is not sufficient to merely pull the plug with this computer. You actually have to pull the battery in the logic board as well. I would like to know what is not being cleared when I use the keys to zap PRAM and why pulling the battery which is supposed to do the same thing works. I will try both the Norton and Disk Warrior and try disabling the energy saver as well. I use audio when I work in flash so that must stay.

thanks for the replys
jp
     
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Mar 6, 2001, 01:27 PM
 
(This may be going off thread, as my problem isn't exactly the same, but then again it might be a symptom of a larger problem)

I've had a similar problem recently with my G3 which started with it getting the no disk flashing question mark on restarts. In my case I was always able to get it to start up by pressing the power-control-command keys. Until last week, when it stopped booting at all; even cold it gave the flashing question mark. Drive Setup reported the disk as not initialized.

I ended up reformatting the disk (a Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 40 GB) and put in two 4 GB partions at the bottom for OS 9.1 and some day X. Unfortunately I didn't run Norton before doing this, so I don't know if it would have recovered the disk. I was looking for an excuse to change the disk partioning, anyway!

For a couple of days it worked fine, including restarts, but now it's back to not doing a warm restart most of the time. This does seem like it might be some kind of progressive corruption problem, since I've done a number of software installs and updates during this time. However, I don't understand how pulling the battery could make a corrupted boot block work again, as in whiterabbit's case.

I've seen a lot of theories about these kinds of problems, ranging from handshaking problems between the newer fast IDE disks and the Apple disk controller during boot, to the OS having to be in the bottom 8 GB of the disk. The "won't warm restart" problem seems to pop up with some regularity on various fora.

Is there anyone here who has found a reproducable cause, or better yet, a fix for these problems?
     
   
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