iMac Data Recovery

iMAC G4:

I have an iMac G4 which has never been a problem until recently. I usually have it on for a few hours each evening, and maybe a bit more at the weekends. I have not updated anything in the last few months, and there have been no error messages, but when I tried to boot it up this morning, it would not work. Instead of going in to my login screen, instead it shows a sad face, and then there is a big question mark with a grey folder beside it. I cannot find the face mentioned in the problem manual, and I don’t know what it could mean. I do know that I have a lot of data stored on the iMac which is not backed up and which probably could not be replaced. I am just not able to get onto the iMac to recover the data. I can still hear the hard drive spinning, and there are no odd noises, but I am still not able to access my desktop or get the data which is on the drive.

iMAC G4:

I tried to reduce the resolution of my iMac G4 computer, and have instead seriously darkened the screens so that I can hardly see anything at all. This did not happen immediately, but only when I rebooted the computer, when the screen came up completely blank. There are no problems with the computer itself, but with the resolution as it is, I am not able to see any of the data which I have on the computer. As this is a company computer, I need some of the data that is on the drives for a conference this week. I took the drive to our work IT specialist, but he had the drive for two days and ended up he could not do anything anyway. I really need off of it is that data, as that is the most essential thing. I have a USB flash drive, so I am wondering if there is some way in which you could transfer the data to that drive.