View Full Version : Problem at start up

23rd December 2009, 05:21 PM
When i attempt to start by G4 Powerbook a blue screen comes up (normal) but instead of loading desktop a small icon in the middle of the screen appears, which is a folder and the 'finder' symbol (the two heads, blue etc) this then flashes with this symbol and a QUESTION mark...

Does anyone know why this has happened and how i can overcome this problem

Cheers Ed

23rd December 2009, 05:33 PM
The flashing question mark means, metaphorically, that it cannot find its identity - something like ... machine alzheimers - eg: Who am I? (Question Mark).

There are many possible reasons as to why your G4 cannot find its own System Startup on its internal Hard Drive, so let's start with your Operating System.

What were you running? eg: Mac OS 10.3 / Mac OS 10.4 / Mac OS 10.5 / Mac OS 10.6, and do you have the original Installation Disks for that Operating System?


AddIt: Or in case you don't know by OS number - Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther) / Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) / Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) / Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) - or going down below Panther - Mac OS X 10.2 (Jaguar) / Mac OS X 10.1 (Puma) / Mac OS X 10.0 (Cheetah) / Mac OS 9.2.2 / Mac OS 9.2.1 / Mac OS 9.2 / Mac OS 9.1 / Mac OS 9.0 / Mac OS 8.6.

27th December 2009, 12:13 PM
Brought it second hand...so know disks DO NOT have a clue what operating system it is...but recently updated it...so fairly new id say.
Should i just take it into the mac store??

27th December 2009, 12:40 PM
No disks is not a good thing, yet it is not critical either although at some point, you will need to buy Installer Disks from... Apple or somewhere else, as these contain the OS X Operating System.

There are a number of things you can try.

1. Power it up by holding down the round Power button and then immediately hold down just the option key on your keyboard, and keep it held down.

A blue screen should appear. At this point, release the option key.
A cursor will appear that looks like a watch, and on this blue screen, there should appear a valid OS X Operating System, as a an X symbol inside a square.

Once the cursor changes from a watch symbol to an arrow symbol, click once on the OS X square icon to darken it, and then click once on the arrow on the right, pointing to the right.

If its Operating System is okay, it should boot up.

if it does not...

2. Shut it down by holding down the round Power button for 7 seconds.

Start it up again and this time, hold down the :cmd: key and the S key on your keyboard simultaneously.

The G4 will start on a blue screen, yet change to a black screen with white text on it. The moment this happens, take your fingers off the :cmd: key and the S key.

The white text will scroll a little way and end in: root#

Type in exactly as shown here:

/sbin/fsck -fy

and then press the return key on your keyboard.

It will begin testing itself.

Each test begins with: **
and there are ten tests altogether, so even if it stops at one test, give it several minutes to jump to the next test.

Get hold of a pen and paper while it's doing this and write down what the entire test says.

You'll know the test is finished because it will end in: root#

Post the results that you've noted down on paper back here.

(To reboot the G4, type in: reboot and then press the return key on your keyboard. It will restart itself as per normally, yet if it is still in error, hold down the round Power button for 7 seconds again and it will shut down).

In this case, all that is wanted are the results of that test.

Warwick Yellow
4th January 2010, 11:40 AM
Sorry to butt in but I was looking here for a solution to the same prob. also on my 12" PowerBook G4. Good timing for me. Anyway Clockwork if you can help much appreciated....
Ran your test and first 8 ** tests OK then on 9th test got the following ;
** The volume HD appears to be OK.
diskOs3: I/O error.

diskOs3: data underrun.
O [level 3] [ReadUID O] [Facility com.apple.system:fs] [ErrType IO] [ErrNo 5] [IOType Read] [PBlkNum 57512] [LBlk Num1930] [FSLogMsgID219403741] [FSLogMsgOrder First]
O [Level3] [ReadUID O] [Facility com.apple.system:fs] [DevNode root_device] [MountPt /1 [FSLogMsg ID 219403741] [FSLogMsgOrder Last]

Any Ideas for me ???? Thanks.