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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > iMac G5 won't boot

iMac G5 won't boot
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KeriVit
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Oct 12, 2010, 02:29 PM
 
Naturally, I was trying to get some time-sensitive work done and my iMac has gotten sick.

It's an iMac G5 2.1 GHz. I believe it's running OS 10.4. Well, it WAS. I was trying to scan something. I got a message to reinstall the driver. I downloaded it- SLOWLY. Everything was running extremely slow. I couldn't force quit anything. I started to install the driver and the whole thing locked up.

I restarted. I got the grey Apple screen and the spinner. And a loud fan? I unhooked all devices.

Nothing. I restarted. I got the folder with a blinking question mark.

I decided to boot from the OS disc. Well, it never went in. It tries to startup and stops. Black screen.

One more time- a tone. Then nothing. It seems I'm making things worse so I thought I'd stop and ask advice. What do I try next? The CPA is waiting on info to file taxes.
     
Waragainstsleep
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Oct 12, 2010, 03:08 PM
 
It sounds like a hard drive failure, but these iMacs are also prone to logic faults, though its usually the 17" version which dies easiest. Seems unlikely both would die at the same time.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
AKcrab
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Oct 12, 2010, 03:18 PM
 
That sounds like the iSight G5, which wasn't nearly as prone to logic board failure. I think the hard drive has definitely failed.

If you have another mac, I would recommend putting it in target disk mode and seeing if the other machine can see the drive.
     
KeriVit  (op)
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Oct 12, 2010, 03:29 PM
 
I believe you are right. I am going to attempt the target disk mode now. But, how will it see a hard drive that has died?
     
KeriVit  (op)
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Oct 12, 2010, 03:38 PM
 
Never mind- I guess I don't have the right firewire cable for my macbook pro. Damn.
     
reader50
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Oct 12, 2010, 03:53 PM
 
I'm also thinking HD problem, and target disk mode will not resolve that. This could take awhile to diagnose.

Instead, pull your most recent TM backup from the external, and recreate the last hour of work. It'll be faster than diagnostics and disassembly. That particular iMac makes it a bear to reach the HD.
     
KeriVit  (op)
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Oct 12, 2010, 04:13 PM
 
Time Machine? Pretty sure I didn't have that on my iMac. Sigh.
     
KeriVit  (op)
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Oct 12, 2010, 06:21 PM
 
Well, looks like this is going to have to be a recovery mission. Does anyone have any recommendations for Data Recovery? Also, advice on removing the hard drive?
     
reader50
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Oct 12, 2010, 06:29 PM
 
Inability to boot from the optical suggests the HD has gone bad enough to hang the boot process. Have you used the optical recently, to confirm it does still work?

The best approach would be to pull the HD for diagnostics in an external case, and stick a new HD in to get the iMac running again. However, getting in there is not easy. I assume you have the built-in iSight above the screen. Can you tell us the screen size?

The model number would tell us most of this. It's printed on the bottom of the stand. Might be something like "MA064LL/A"
     
seanc
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Oct 12, 2010, 06:50 PM
 
Reader's suggestion of pulling the drive and putting it into an external case is a good one, this rules out a fault in the machine elsewhere.
     
KeriVit  (op)
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Oct 12, 2010, 06:51 PM
 
I'm a Mac user- half of what you just said is greek to me.

Optical?

I am not so much worried about using the iMac again as I am getting the data from the hard drive.

It's a 20" /2.1GHz/512/250GB Model: A1145
     
KeriVit  (op)
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Oct 12, 2010, 06:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by seanc View Post
Reader's suggestion of pulling the drive and putting it into an external case is a good one, this rules out a fault in the machine elsewhere.
Where do I get an external case? Sorry, I've never been good at the hardware part of this- even tho I've had Macs for 15 years.
     
seanc
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Oct 12, 2010, 06:58 PM
 
Originally Posted by KeriVit View Post
I'm a Mac user- half of what you just said is greek to me.

Optical?

I am not so much worried about using the iMac again as I am getting the data from the hard drive.

It's a 20" /2.1GHz/512/250GB Model: A1145
Optical = CD/DVD drive

Originally Posted by KeriVit View Post
Where do I get an external case? Sorry, I've never been good at the hardware part of this- even tho I've had Macs for 15 years.
A computer/electronics orientated shop. Radio Shack? I think that is like Maplin over here and Maplin would have them. A PC repair/sales place should have them.

You could always get the correct firewire cable and try Target Disk Mode.
     
KeriVit  (op)
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Oct 12, 2010, 07:03 PM
 
The optical drive has been touch and go lately. But, I was able to boot from the DVD and the first time the HD showed up, but was irrepairable.

I got the right Firewire cable and could not see the HD as host or target.
     
reader50
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Oct 12, 2010, 07:14 PM
 
The iMac must first be booted in FW target disk mode, with the 'Y' logo visible on the screen. If you got that far and the internal HD is not visible, things don't look good. Either the HD is hosed (likely) or the drive controller is damaged (unlikely). The HD can be replaced using instructions in the service manual.

The HD can be repaired if it's a formatting / directory issue. If it's a hardware failure, the only option may be a professional drive recovery service. How old is your most recent backup? Please tell us you are not one of those people who use prayer as their backup strategy...
     
KeriVit  (op)
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Oct 12, 2010, 07:23 PM
 
Yes, I was able to boot the iMac in FW- but no, it did not show.

The backup has been a while on the iMac, I'm not gonna lie, thus why I need the data. I am much better about it on my MacBook Pro with Time Machine. Unfortunately, the iMac has the more important- time-consuming/intensive files. I know it's my fault. It is what it is. I'm just gonna have to see what/if I can get it recovered.

Ideally, if I can get the files, I'd probably just sell the iMac for parts and use the MBP with an external monitor. In the meantime, I'm just doing my best to save what I can off the HD and see if there is anything else I can do.
     
Waragainstsleep
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Oct 13, 2010, 04:18 AM
 
It sounds like your logic board is ok, but they really do go often on those last G5 iMacs. And they go worse than the previous ones. The non-iSights suffer from bad caps which can sometimes be replaced, they also suffer from failing GPUs but they still boot sometimes even then. The ones with iSights have an annoying tendency to just black out the screen and rev the fans and there is very little you can do with/about it. Again, it does tend to be the 17" ones which go more often than the 20".
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
KeriVit  (op)
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Dec 11, 2010, 05:28 PM
 
OK, I finally got the hard drive out, no easy task, mind you. So, my next step is to buy an enclosure and test her out, correct? Anything I should know about this? Thanks!
     
AKcrab
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Dec 11, 2010, 05:33 PM
 
If you have a friend with a Mac Pro have them pop the drive into one of their drive bays..

If this is not an option any old sata enclosure should work fine. Once you're done attempting to get your stuff of the G5 drive, you could always buy a 1TB or 2TB to put in the enclosure to make it truly useful.
     
KeriVit  (op)
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Dec 11, 2010, 06:00 PM
 
Thanks. Do I need to put a harddrive back in the iMac or can run on external one. Honestly, I 'dr rather just use it as a display for my MacBook Pro, but I don't think that's possible.
     
seanc
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Dec 11, 2010, 06:02 PM
 
You don't need to put one back in the iMac, it will be faster though, you might as well do it while you have it apart.
     
   
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