Model A1311 / Late 2009 / 3.06 or 3.33 GHz Core 2 Duo processor

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I only get a white screen with a crossed circle at startup

When I power on my iMac, it shows me the Apple logo for a minute and then a white screen with a circle with a line through it. I read on this site that this is due to a bad hard drive, so I replaced my hard drive with the recommended 2T Seagate (I am pretty handy). After hard drive replacement, I still have the same issue. I have tried holding down COMMAND R, and OPTION during power-up, but it doesn't change anything. That is supposed to take me to the disk utility menu so I can restore from my Time Machine drive, but it doesn't happen. Only the white circle with a line through it. What else could be wrong?

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Please tell us your exact machine. If you don't know get the serial number from the bottom of the machine and we can look it up.

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Are you SURE it's a Late 2009?

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If you can't start up from macOS Recovery

Newer Mac computers and some older Mac computers automatically try to start up from macOS Recovery over the Internet when unable to start up from the built-in recovery system. When that happens, you see a spinning globe instead of an Apple logo during startup. To manually start up from macOS Recovery over the Internet, hold down Option-Command-R at startup.

If you still can't start up from macOS Recovery, and you have a Mac that is able to start up completely, you might be able to create an external Mac startup disk to start up from instead.

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202796

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So I was able to get it started up with my Mac OS-X installation disk. I got it restarted and then did a Restore from my Time Machine back up. Bad news though, after the Time Machine restore my computer won't accept my startup password, so I can't start it up! I guess that may be due to a mismatch between the OS-X version on my Installation disk (from 2009), and the version which I was using when the Time Machine backups were made. I am guessing I will have to start over, reinstall from my Installation disk, but not restore from Time Machine. This will enable me to create a new user and password as if it were a new computer. Then I should be able to update OS-X from the internet, and essentially start over. Maybe I'll be able to selectively restore some files from Time Machine, but if I try to do a full restore I won't be able to sign on or use my computer at all. Any thoughts on why this password issue happened? Any way to do a Time Restore without that happening?

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If you are using an original Apple installation disk, go to utilities > Change Password.

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Yes! I've got it working , now with 2T HDD and 16GB of RAM, and restored from my last Time Machine backup. Thanks for all your help, I wouldn't have gotten it done without it.

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Victory! Just like napalm in the morning ;-)

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Try creating a bootable USB and use that to get into the install, then you can get into disk utility and restore it.

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I was sort of wondering how it was supposed to boot at all with a blank new hard drive installed. Without a bootable USB, what would it normally boot from with a new hard drive installed? Thanks!

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Nothing as there is nothing for it to boot from

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Depending on the age of your system you might have internet recovery is an option but you do need a good internet connection otherwise it can literally take days! We did an experiment and it took over 20 hrs to do the recovery using a cellphone's data service.

So lets start off getting the details of the system. What is your exact model as there are some other things that also play into this.

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It is a late 2009 21.5" iMac. I have been traveling so I haven't had a chance to try it yet, but I did locate the Mac OSx installation disc that came with it when I bought it, I believe that is probably the missing piece and I will be able to get it going with that disc. Sort of a stupid oversight on my part I guess... I thought maybe the disc utility was firmware but I obviously need a working disc of some sort to boot from. I'll get back if I still have issues, thank you all for your very helpful input.

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Hi Curt, just to clarify since it is possibly a 2009 make it will not have internet recovery, so performing an time machine would be ideal if you have it.

You can try all processes below, except it may be wise to reopen device and check all connections as if you were prompted with same error message could be the cable it self and not the drive as i replace many Mac and high possibility it is the hard drive or reseating the cable.

Performing the cmd+r - will boot you into the utility menu and select time machine when it appears

Though you can also press and hold the option key when your external drive is connected and be patient as it takes a bit longer than newer units. while holding the Option key only you will see three drives if any appear New hard drive, recovery drive (if any) and your external boot drive.

I have a few 2009 iMacs here and works but takes a good 30-50 seconds sometimes longer depending how much ram you may have for performance.

Finally if you have another mac or a friend with a mac you can download El Capitan 10.11.x OS X and create a bootable usb drive to boot from, but to be safe see if you have in purchases of the Mac App store or your friend to download the Mavericks version as some of the OS X's require certain ram prior to installing on the Mac.

Now this all depends on which model / year Mac that you have but a bootable Mavericks would do the trick going back to 2008 early iMac.

Thanks

www.MacOSGenius.com

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Should he hook up to an ethernet cable to improve this internet install? Will this model do an internet install? Does it need an EFI firmware update to do an internet install? Once Disk Utilities comes up, should the drive be formatted? Anyone that puts Genius in their name just scares the pee-pee out of me.

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202313

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Curt C will be eternally grateful.
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