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Folder with blinking question mark in it after start-up

I just bought this off ebay it has no operating system, and the cd drive does'nt open so i use a paper clip to open it. I put windows xp in it to see if it would load up and it would'nt I ordered OS 10.2 Jaguar, just wanted to see if the folder was because there was no OS on it this is my first Mac ever.


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  • dhibiz Feb 04, 2009

    lliriks I just found out that I have no ram, so I'll get some and see if that will fix the problem.

    To make it clear I have a ibook 14", 800 mhz, 40 gb hard drive, 640 mb ram(found 0 ram).


  • dhibiz Feb 09, 2009

    My computer still does the same, and I just got in my 512 mb ram, software ibook restore 1-4, apple hardware test, 2-imovie disc 1 for Mac OS X and 1 for Mac OS 9.1, and a white disc that has a big blue X on it and has Mac OS X on it. Now here is my new problem I put the Mac OS X in it ran a second and gave me (Sorry a system error occurred "ASR" error type 41) and when I put the (Hardware test disc) in it said apple do'nt support this device - ibook restore disc tells me This configuration is not supported on this computer need help fast!!

  • dhibiz Feb 10, 2009

    So far no dice -- (When I try to boot the restore disc with Mac OS ver.
    9.1, 10.0.3 - I see this a big box and under Configuration it has ibook
    HD Disc 1.dmg the box next to it tells me about apple restore disc
    erasing the contents of my hard drive or partition - Under Destination
    disk it has a Macintosh HD and two buttons eject disc which will not
    work until i push the switch disk button - Under this I see This
    configuration is not supported on this computer - Next to this is two
    buttons Quit & Restore, Quit works and Restore never works). But I
    will keep trying also how can I format this hard drive if I can't get
    it to install software? I think I'll put a new hard drive in hopefully
    that works out.

  • dhibiz Feb 10, 2009

    Yes these are original Apple software disc, but I found something on the web stating that this computer is compatible with (OS 9.2.2 Classic, 10.2 Jaguar, 10.3 Panther, 10.4 Tiger) and the one I got off ebay has 9.1, 10.0.3 on the Restore disc and the white disc with the big blue X on it (Mac OS X) says version 10.0.3. Could this software be my problem?

  • Illirik Smirnov May 11, 2010

    Can I get a little info? What is the model of laptop?


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  • 32 Answers

Folder with a blinking question mark means a missing system folder, in other words there isn't an OS installed. To fix this you need to boot from the OS X installer CD. With the OS X installer CD in the drive, hold down the C key on your keyboard when you start your mac. This tells the mac to boot from the optical drive (i.e. CD drive) and load the OS X installer. From there just follow the onscreen instructions to install OS X.
Also, you should be aware that the ibook is not compatible with Windows XP. Only the newer “intel macs” of the past few years are compatible with XP. Your mac predates Apple's transition to intel processors and Windows XP compatibility on the mac platform by a few years. This is why your Windows XP CD didn't load on it. The ibook is Mac OS X only.
It only runs on Mac OS X however it is compatible with newer versions of the OS. 10.2 jaguar is kind of old and a little buggy. You may want to consider installing 10.4 Tiger for improved stability and performance. Avoid the newest version (10.5 Leopard) as it is geared towards newer and faster machines.
Hope this helps. Enjoy your mac

Posted on Feb 09, 2009

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  • thomtime
    thomtime Feb 10, 2009

    Error type 41 applies to computers that are running OS 9 and earlier and basically means something has gone seriously wrong with the OS and it cannot boot. There are methods to recover from this but frankly they are far too complex for a mac novice and given that this is new to you and OS 9 is obsolete I'm going to recommend you format the drive and install OS X. Here's how.


    Boot from the OS 9 CD using the methods I described for OS X (Start machine holding down C key) After a while, the machine will load the entire OS 9 from CD and present you with the mac desktop (circa 1990s). In the top right corner will be an icon that looks like a CD with the caption Mac OS 9. This is the installer CD. Double click this to open a window that contains the installer and additional folders. Double click the Utilities folder. In there is a program called Drive Setup. Double click this to start the program. When the program launches you will see a list of drives and a button at the bottom right that says Initialize. Choose your start up drive (typically named Macintosh HD) and click Intiialize. This will open another window where you format the drive. Choose 1 partition as a partition scheme and set the type to Mac OS Extended in the drop down menus. Click OK. When it is finished quit the program. Shutdown the machine by going to the Special Menu at the top of the screen and choosing shutdown. Your computer is now ready to install OS X


    Boot the machine from the OS X installer CD by again holding down the C key on startup, and as I said before follow the onscreen instructions. Thankfully OS X is a little more straight forward to install and you shouldn't have any problems. Good luck

  • thomtime
    thomtime Feb 10, 2009

    Just to clairfy, do you have a retail installer disc for OS X or OS 9?You can verify it is retail if it does not name a specific type of computer on the disc label.  The errors you are having with the restore discs could be one of two things.


    1. They are not the original CDs that came with the computer.

    2. The installed OS is of a different version than the restore CDs
    In either case only a retail installer disc can be used to boot your machine. Make sure you have one and try to boot from it (holding down the C key with the CD in the drive) if you do.

  • thomtime
    thomtime Feb 10, 2009

    Yes it could be the problem. These may not be the original discs that came with your machine and may predate the release of your ibook. In this case they can't boot the machine because the disc don't contain drivers for your newer machine. Defiantly try to get your hands on a newer version of OS X. As you discovered your machine is compatible with 10.2 - 10.4 so try to find an installer disc in that range on ebay (or borrow one from a friend). Remember you will need a retail version of OS X not a computer specific installer. Hope this helps.

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