Grey screen with grey icon - not booting - how I fix?

I have four iMacs they are all unable too startup OSX and show the following symptoms, I was hoping someone could provide some insight into what the problem might me.

IMac #1: Power buttom flashes when switched on, but the screen remains blank

IMac #2: Grey screen shows a Grey FOLDER icon flashing

IMac #3: Grey statup screen show the apple logo and the loading spinner, but it never gets to the login screen

IMac #4: Grey startup screen shows the Apple logo briefly, then it changes to a 'no access' symbol (a crossed circle)

Im hoping that the problem are easy enough to fix and that I can do it myself, does anyone have a system that can help me narrow down what the issue may be?

Answered! View the answer I have this problem too

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Search boot issue

or troubleshooting boot problem for help specific to each case...

IMac #1: Power buttom flashes when switched on, but the screen remains blank Hardware

IMac #2: Grey screen shows a Grey FOLDER icon flashing NO STARTUP SYSTEM FOUND could be bad hardware or just a crapped OS folder.

IMac #3: Grey statup screen show the apple logo and the loading spinner, but it never gets to the login screen could be bad hardware or just a crapped OS folder.

IMac #4: Grey startup screen shows the Apple logo briefly, then it changes to a 'no access' symbol (a crossed circle) Kernel Panic could be hardware or software

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Good Luck,

N

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#1 is hardware, the fan goes on at full but screen stays off, also the superdrive is broken, i havent opened up the machine yet but i think the drive came loose inside the enclosure. :-(

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Hi!

Yeah, #1 is a toughie as you really aren't getting feedback from the machine. Is it giving you any beeps? Does it get to the "dong" sound? Worst case scenario you may need to take it to Apple and have them look at it.

For #s 2,3 and 4 you have a fighting chance, but it's vital you posses an install disk, either the one the computer came with or a generic one appropriate for your hardware (tiger forG5 / Leopard or SL for Intel). For each machine, put your install disk in immediately after turning it on while holding down the "alt" key with your other hand. This can take a while but keep the alt button down. If your computer is mostly working, you should see a grey screen with icons representing all the bootable devices the computer can find. If you don't see the hard drive here you have a good clue. You should be able to choose the install disk and boot into that. Once you're booted, don't go into the OS install. Click "tools" at the top and start going through the options, being sure to run Disk Utility and do a full checkout on the OS disk.

If you get any further actionable info. feel free to post it back here.

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+Good.

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