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Old 10-30-2005, 08:54 PM
gmckenzi gmckenzi is offline
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Question mark on boot


I'm not a registered user...yet. But will happily be after I get this to work.
I searched the forum for the typical question-mark on boot issue, but the few threads that came back didn't help.

I've cloned my internal PB volume to an external disk (USB, not firewire. I'd love to get Firewire to work, but even my new Oxford 911 enclosure with v4.0 firmware won't work...but that's another story).

I booted with Tiger install DVD, went to Disk Utility, did a restore from the clone, and on boot I get the question-mark.

I've only been a Mac user for about a year. I've Googled and have seen voodoo like resetting PRAM, and nvram...but I must have missed something important about how to get my PB to consider its internal drive bootable, yes?

Starting with the option key doesn't reveal the internal volume as bootable. I recall that it did show up as a potential startup volume when I was in the Tiger DVD and could manually choose a startup volume. I'm about to do that just to get it booted, but I'm assuming that isn't a permanent solution.


UPDATE: Okay, so I guess I misunderstand the intent of that Startup Disk util in the Tiger install DVD. After selecting the internal drive as the Startup disk, I understood (wrongly) that it booted from that disk but didn't have any lasting effect. After booting, I restarted again to see if it would automatically boot from the internal drive, and now it does indeed.

Clearly, despite a year of having a PowerBook, I lack understanding of stuff like this. I mean, when I booted with the option key, the internal drive/volume wasn't even available as a selection. Yet, selecting the Startup Disk from the install DVD worked?

So, I'm left with a couple of questions:

1) Why after doing the restore did I end up with the question-mark in the first place, and is this common or expected behaviour after doing a restore with Super Duper?

2) Is doing the Startup Disk selection via the install CD/DVD the proper remedy?

On the upside, despite this hiccup with not booting initially, Super Duper did do its job.

I'm hoping that someone can illuminate me on my questions, hopefully to benefit someone else.


Last edited by gmckenzi; 10-30-2005 at 09:17 PM.
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Old 10-30-2005, 10:30 PM
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dnanian dnanian is offline
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Gavin --

Option-boot definitely does not "stick", but the Startup Disk preference pane selection certainly should.

Given what you described, I'm not sure why you received the question mark -- sometimes, that's because a non-boot device has been selected for startup (like a USB device)... but Option-boot should have revealed the internal as bootable (since, as you saw, it was).

That's the long way of saying "we haven't seen this before". Anyone else out there have a similar experience?
--Dave Nanian
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Old 04-05-2009, 11:09 PM
dausoner dausoner is offline
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Resurrecting this thread as I have the exact same problem except it is unresolved.

I am using this brand new hard drive to do my backup:

I have partitioned using Mac OSX journaled. Backed up as specified in the SuperDuper! how to. Renamed the drive the same as my computers hard drive. Replaced the hard drive in my Powerbook G4 17" laptop and restarted. I get the flashing question mark. Option boot shows nothing. Using original boot cd, I have tried repairing permissions and repairing disk and selecting the drive as a startup drive to no avail. My selection of the startup drive is saved as it is highlighted every time I check using the boot cd but when I restart I get the flashing question mark. Option boot again shows nothing but the original boot cd. In addition, I have reset the PRAM and power control module to no avail. The new drive is working when I plug it in using my usb enclosure and when I swap out the new hard drive in my computer back to its original drive it starts up and is working fine. I'm about to give up but thought I would reach out to the forum.
Do you think there is a problem with the new drive or is it software related?

Thanks for the help.
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Old 04-06-2009, 12:10 AM
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dnanian dnanian is offline
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As I replied to your support case:

I understand that you formatted as "Mac OS Extended (Journaled)", but formatting != partitioning. Did you partition like this:

* Start Disk Utility
* Select the external drive hardware in the sidebar
* Click the Partition tab
* Use Disk Utility's controls to divide the drive as needed, even as a single large partition. Use "Mac OS Extended (Journaled)" as the format type and name appropriately
* Click Options
* Choose the proper partition scheme (Apple Partition Map for Power PC macs) and accept the page
* Click Partition.

If not, that's likely the problem.
--Dave Nanian
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Old 04-06-2009, 02:04 AM
dausoner dausoner is offline
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Thanks Dave. I didn't check my settings under options and I am pretty sure that is the problem. I will post again if I still have an issue.

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