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Model A1419 / EMC 2806 / Late 2014 or Mid 2015. 3.3 or 3.5 GHz Core i5 or 4.0 GHz Core i7 (ID iMac15,1); EMC 2834 late 2015 / 3.3 or 3.5 GHz Core i5 or 4.0 GHz Core i7 (iMac17,1) All with Retina 5K displays

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Problem - flashing folder - bootable drive not recognised

Some weeks after replacing the 128Gb card which formed part of a fusion drive and moving from high sierra to mojave, I restarted the 2014 5k Imac but after the screen going black the flashing folder question mark sign appeared. I have removed the memory card / hard drive from the Imac and put in an empty HDD.

If I just turn the Imac on I get a black screen then a flashing folder eventually. If I attach a bootable drive ( createinstallmedia from another IMac ) with High Sierra or Catalina the screen stays black and the question mark symbol never appears.

I have attached a wired keyboard but cannot get any of the standard kypresses to change the situation.

I put back in the original fusion drive components but again without sucess.

I’ve read through the forums which suggest various key presses and only using an equivalent or more modern boot disk but not identifed any solution. The boot disk is being created on a 2010 Imac running El Capitan with downloads of the more modern operating systems.

Several days later I cannot see a way forwards to booting to anything.

Any suggestions?

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At this point you’ll need to create a fresh external bootable drive or better yet a OS installer USB Thumb drive from another Mac system and check it to make sure it boots.

I would recommend you stick with macOS Sierra 10.12.x here as thats the last HFS+ file system release. Later you can upgrade to Mojave or Catalina later if you want.

Now the fun! Apple messed up their OS installer images If you've got an old macOS install image, it will probably stop working today

Here’s the needed download for Sierra: How to upgrade to macOS Sierra Jump down to Step 4 for the link. Follow this guide to create an OS installer drive How to create a bootable macOS Sierra installer drive.

Once you have a good external boot drive or OS installer you can then try booting up your system. This time with the drive connected (and if it needs power powered) restart your system press the Option key on your USB keyboard to get to the Startup Manager drive list so you can select your bootable drive. You should be able to get that far. Let us know how it goes.

Reference: Mac startup key combinations

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I had the same issue with a 2015 Imac and I tried fixing by creating a boot drive but whatever I did, mac wouldn’t see it as a bootable drive. I resolved it by taking the hard drive out of the none working mac, connecting it as an external drive to a working mac and cloning the drive using Carbon Copy Cloner software, that fixed my problem. You should be able to achieve the same by doing Target Disk Mode, but I did not have a Thunderbolt cable at the time.

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Cloning software often does not install the hidden partition and in some cases the drivers are not fully installed which your system needs.

I would recommend you reformat the drive using the a bootable OS installer as I outlined above. I just redid a messed up Catania install without any problems.

Sometimes you need to manually set the startup disk using Startup Manager by pressing the Option key when you restart the system.

Reference: Mac startup key combinations

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Carl zal eeuwig dankbaar zijn.
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