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Old Dec 5, 2006, 02:32 AM   #1
CiBoys
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MacBook wont start up (Flashing Question Mark)

My macbook wont start up... a folder with a question pop up. Tried C Key and TDM.. no luck, can anyone help?
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Old Dec 5, 2006, 03:08 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CiBoys View Post
My macbook wont start up... a folder with a question pop up. Tried C Key and TDM.. no luck, can anyone help?
I´m getting a bit rusty on the old problem solving – it´s been a while since I ran into any sort of trouble (with my Mac, that is), but while you wait for other replies, here goes:

The folder with ? mark means your computer can´t find a valid System on your computer. I guess "Tried C key" means you´ve tried starting from the System DVD that came with your MacBook. If that didn´t work…

Have you installed any 3rd party RAM? If so, remove it and try again. Also, make sure you have no external units attached via USB/FW, like keyboard, mouse, HD…

If this did not resolve your issue, try zapping the parameter RAM (PRAM):

Press and hold the Command-Option-P-R keys as you start up. (You must press this key combination before the gray screen appears.)
Hold the keys down until the computer restarts and you hear the startup sound for the second time.
Release the keys.

http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=58042

Best of luck!!
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Old Dec 5, 2006, 07:28 AM   #3
jaguarx
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Is there some kind of hand-eye co-ordination or cognitive reasoning issue with a certain percentage of macrumors users? There's a bloody macbook forum one below this. What part of the differentiation between 'Mac Pro & Powermac' and 'Macbook & Macbook Pro' is so hard to understand? Seriously, it's like every fifth thread in here is someone who has trouble reading or clicking in the right place.

Boot off another mac in target disk mode and see if your HDD is borked.
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Old Dec 5, 2006, 11:18 AM   #4
janzy21
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I had the same problem with my MacBook Pro.
I could not get it to start up, I took it to the "genius" bar at the Apple store and he told me to start up from an external drive and go in and save everything I could and then format the drive.
I could not get a system loaded on an external drive I had, so I was left with no option but to format.
The"genius" blamed the failure on Limewire beinh on the computer.
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Old Dec 5, 2006, 02:42 PM   #5
jmckechnie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janzy21 View Post
The"genius" blamed the failure on Limewire beinh on the computer.
When I took my macbook pro in for a fan problem the "genius" told me the Limewire "eats" hard drives. Not sure what that meant but I took it off. Anyone shed any light to this "limewire is evil" theory?
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Old Dec 5, 2006, 02:45 PM   #6
bearbo
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have you tried to boot while holding alt key ... maybe your mb was looking for OS somewhere weird... holding alt key will search for all OSs

try that, you might be good

i had my PM G5 did that to me once, while the HDD was perfectly fine
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Old Dec 5, 2006, 12:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaguarx View Post
Is there some kind of hand-eye co-ordination or cognitive reasoning issue with a certain percentage of macrumors users? There's a bloody macbook forum one below this. What part of the differentiation between 'Mac Pro & Powermac' and 'Macbook & Macbook Pro' is so hard to understand? Seriously, it's like every fifth thread in here is someone who has trouble reading or clicking in the right place.

Boot off another mac in target disk mode and see if your HDD is borked.
Seems a certain percentage of members can´t read either; he´s tried your advice already.

You could´ve asked him in a polite manner to post in the correct forum next time. Works much better.
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Old Dec 5, 2006, 02:38 PM   #8
jaguarx
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C & TDM yes but what cd/dvd, to what, an extrenal drive? Another working OSX install? Devil's in the details. Does holding down t do the same as holding down option? Can't remember.
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Old Mar 3, 2011, 07:32 AM   #9
jesyca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belly-laughs View Post
I´m getting a bit rusty on the old problem solving – it´s been a while since I ran into any sort of trouble (with my Mac, that is), but while you wait for other replies, here goes:

The folder with ? mark means your computer can´t find a valid System on your computer. I guess "Tried C key" means you´ve tried starting from the System DVD that came with your MacBook. If that didn´t work…

Have you installed any 3rd party RAM? If so, remove it and try again. Also, make sure you have no external units attached via USB/FW, like keyboard, mouse, HD…

If this did not resolve your issue, try zapping the parameter RAM (PRAM):

Press and hold the Command-Option-P-R keys as you start up. (You must press this key combination before the gray screen appears.)
Hold the keys down until the computer restarts and you hear the startup sound for the second time.
Release the keys.

http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=58042

Best of luck!!

If I don't have the disc that come with my macbook pro, how?
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Old Mar 7, 2011, 04:42 PM   #10
erickson147
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Nothing Working

I installed and ran a VNC software called chicken of the VNC. Once I ran the program my screen went grey. I cycled the power on the box and received the flashing folder with the ?

I have attempted everything mentioned in this thread...

(Attempted) - (Result)
Alt - Gray screen with only mouse which I can move
C - Didn't find the system disk on boot
D - Didn't find the HDD on boot
Added a second HDD - Nothing different or new
Added a second DVD Rom - Nothing different or new
T - Can boot into mode and see HDD and Rom from other Mac


Any ideas? Could it be a video issue?

thanks in advance
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Old Mar 7, 2011, 07:27 PM   #11
Naimfan
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Try Safe Boot: http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1455
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Old Mar 8, 2011, 10:16 AM   #12
erickson147
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Safe Boot

I have also had no luck with safe boot. I attempted to get the IP address of the machine from the MAC-address-tables, but the network card is not enabled upon boot. Thus, I can't SSH into the machine and enable safe mode via command line.
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Old Mar 10, 2011, 10:50 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Naimfan View Post
Any other ideas...
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Old Dec 5, 2006, 02:44 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CiBoys View Post
My macbook wont start up... a folder with a question pop up. Tried C Key and TDM.. no luck, can anyone help?
As noted, a ? over a folder indicates that no valid bootable system can be found. This could mean that your HD is toast, or that your filesystem is hosed. The first thing to do is to pop in the DVD installer that came with the MB and run Disk Utility to attempt to Repair Disk (note, this is NOT Repair Permissions).
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Old Dec 7, 2006, 04:58 PM   #15
jamoc06
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Macbook system error

Quote:
Originally Posted by CiBoys View Post
My macbook wont start up... a folder with a question pop up. Tried C Key and TDM.. no luck, can anyone help?
hey just had exactly the same problem. flashing folder with Questionmark. C key, TDM, PRAM - all wouldn't work, so i took the HDD out and then reseated it making sure that it was firmly pushed in and when i turned it back on everthing was as it was no problems at all. You can do this without voiding your warrenty and its really simple. Apple provide a step by step photographic guide (http://manuals.info.apple.com/en/Mac...Drive_DIY.pdf). Hope this works for you.
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Old Jan 19, 2011, 11:03 PM   #16
StalkR
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It Worked For Me

I had the same problem with my Macbook. Grey screen with flashing "?" folder. I tried pressing ALT while restarting the laptop but this did nothing but make a "ticking" sound from the right side of the computer. I read the comments about re-seating the HD. I'm lazy & didn't want to take my laptop apart so I lifted the right side of the computer off the table by 4 inches and dropped it twice, then restarted. A grey screen with a picture of a HD appeared. I clicked on the arrow below the HD and everything started working as if there was never a problem at all. I immediately used time machine to back up my HD to an external HD in case I'm not so lucky with future fixes.
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Old Jan 20, 2011, 12:24 AM   #17
Mactrillionaire
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Just an FYI for anyone who dropped their computer and it resulted in the '?'. If that's the case, there are generally three possibilities:

1. Something inside the computer came loose and needs to be reseated (best case you can hope for).
2. The hard disk was damaged (almost never applies to solid state disks).
3. The logic board was damaged (the most common and least wanted).

Generally, try not to drop your computer as it isn't covered by warranty and it is expensive to replace a logic board. If you are prone to dropping laptops then you should put out the extra money to get a solid state disk. If you are really prone to dropping laptops then you should probably get a tablet with flash storage that can take a good beating and still work (which would rule out iPad) instead of a laptop.
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Old Jan 20, 2011, 01:58 AM   #18
lubolat
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Hi, the ? sign happened to me the other day out of nowhere. I have Mini, so I didn't drop it or mishandle it, it just happened when I tried to restart it. Then it didn't read the OS DVD on start up with any key combo. So I opened it, took out the RAM, reseated the HDD and the optical drive, put back the RAM and started it up. It worked.
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Old Jan 26, 2011, 01:56 AM   #19
ninj1n
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Macbook pro flashing folder with question mark!

I was on my computer early in the morning yesterday, just had 2 or 3 applications running, then all of a sudden my computer froze and i shut it off by pressing the power button thinking it`d just reset my computer, but got the flashing folder with question mark, so i took it to apple store to get it fixed. First they said the hardware failed that it was gonna be around $200 to get it fixed, then they checked it again in the back room and find out it was the cable that connects to hardware, which probably was defective as the guy told, and changed the cable, which cost me $62 and some change, but it took them only 5 minute to change it, which was great! but i wonder if it was possible for me to do it at home, if i knew exactly what the problem was......
could i be able to buy the cable, or worse, the hardware and put it myself?
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Old Jan 26, 2011, 09:11 AM   #20
whatthewhat
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No friggin way!

Quote:
Originally Posted by StalkR View Post
I had the same problem with my Macbook. Grey screen with flashing "?" folder. I tried pressing ALT while restarting the laptop but this did nothing but make a "ticking" sound from the right side of the computer. I read the comments about re-seating the HD. I'm lazy & didn't want to take my laptop apart so I lifted the right side of the computer off the table by 4 inches and dropped it twice, then restarted. A grey screen with a picture of a HD appeared. I clicked on the arrow below the HD and everything started working as if there was never a problem at all. I immediately used time machine to back up my HD to an external HD in case I'm not so lucky with future fixes.
Yeah, well I'm lazy too, so I took your advice. Just banged that right side a couple of times and bada-bing, bada-boom. Amazing. Great DIY advice--thanks!

Going out to buy an external HD right now
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Old Mar 2, 2011, 11:35 PM   #21
wallah
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Remove the drive and reinsert

I had his problem before on my 2006-2007 MacBook and tried most of the suggestions on Apple's site and other sites online. Fearing for the worst as I had a ton of stuff on it, I eventually had to take it in for repair. Apple tech fixed it for several hundred bucks and claimed it was a 'software' error.

It happend again a few months later, so this time I did more reading. I removed the battery, removed the hard drive (I also removed the memory and reseated it while I was in there) then reseated the drive again.

Perfect. Seriously, like nothing had gone wrong before. Ran Disk Utility and the disk checked out OK.

Taking out the drives on these MacBooks is surprisingly easy. Ifixit.com has instructions. Get a 00phillips screwdriver before you start.
Get two back up drives (usb connection is fine for average user) and back up on Time machine, or shareware of your choice, weekly. You can only know the pain of having no backup when your drive is dead and unrecoverable, and the bliss of not giving a damn if the drive dies but you backed up the previous Sunday.
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Old Mar 28, 2011, 12:19 AM   #22
Darrin
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Try this...

Insert Data DVD's that came with your model or newer version 1...Mac OS X Install DVD........2...Applications Install DVD. Follow simple step by step instructions...Kids let an adult or someone computer literate in your environment assist you...Good Luck...JESUS is LORD...Read your BIBLE, Go 2 Church regular & PRAY everyday, every chance U get...Have A Blessed Day...
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Old Oct 23, 2012, 08:06 AM   #23
macjan
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Solution Questionmark

Just want to share this story.
I have a Mid2009 Macbook Pro (MBP) - model A1278

- Got the questionmark sign by starting up the laptop
- Disk Utilities didn't reconized the HDD
- Opened the MBP, removed the HDD, put it in a External Sata drive case
- Connected the drive via USB to the MBP
- Disk was reconized by Disk Utilities after starting up with Mac OS Dvd
- Repaired disk
- Put back the disk, but still question mark sign
- Called Icentre and they told me that the cable from the Mainboard to the HDD might be defective. The SATA driver on the mainboard hardly never fail (they told me)
- Purchased a new HDD cable via Ebay (nr 821-0814-A)
- Replaced the HDD cable to the original HDD and laptop restarted.
- Due to the fault, the HDD might have damages.
- I bought the following disk: Seagate Harddisk 2.5" 500GB, SATA300, Hybrid 4GB, ST95005620AS

Yesterday after all software installations I got all the time the spinning colored wheel, but today my MBP is working fine and I hope it stays like this.

Hope this info is helpfull for others who have the same problem as I had.
Most of the time you got the questionmark sign, you software is corrupted or your HDD cable is defect.

MBP Mid2009 can go up to a max of 500Gb (is what Icentre told me and is what you can find on the internet)

Succes!
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Old Dec 19, 2012, 10:07 AM   #24
writerinlondon
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It worked!

I just wanted to say a huge thank you to StalkR and whatthewhat. Being desperate (and not at all confident about taking my MacBook apart) I opted for banging the right side of the machine and it only bloody worked! I hadn't yet backed up the 3,000 words of an essay I wrote yesterday . I am so relieved it is untrue. Backing up as I write.

Thank you thank you thank you!!!
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Old Aug 12, 2013, 04:35 PM   #25
scottybaseball
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Hate to dredge up this old thread, but I'm getting the dreaded blinking "?". I've tried removing and reseating the HD, but to no avail. I've also removed the memory and the hard drive at the same time, but no luck there either.

When I hold "ALT" and start-up, I get an "Internet Recovery" menu and then it gets into the Utilities, but it doesn't recognize the hard drive there, so I'm assuming at this point that the hard drive might be shot.

Another thing that I've noticed that I don't think anyone else here has mentioned is that the left side of my macbook pro (near the charger port) get's very hot when turned on.

Anybody have any thing else I can try before going that route?

Thanks,

Scott

Last edited by scottybaseball; Aug 12, 2013 at 04:54 PM.
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