Macbook Blinking folder with question mark.

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by kdvinluan, Sep 10, 2011.

  1. kdvinluan, Sep 10, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2011

    macrumors newbie

    Jan 15, 2011
    My mac was okay. I'm only browsing and watching video then suddenly it froze. So I decided to shut it down. During start up a blinking folder with question mark appears. I did everything holding the option key while start up but all I can see is the mouse pointer, I restart the PRAM nothing happens, I insert the Mac OS X DvD then went to Disk Utility to repair the disk but nothing, it's just Error. Do you think my Hard Drive is dead? I don't have any back-ups so It's fine if I lose everything. I just want to know if my Hard Drive needs to be replace.

    Macbook 2009 White Unibody. 10.6.1
  2. tug
    macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2010
    loughborough. u.k.
    that question mark means theres no recognizable boot up disc that your mac can find.
    i see yours is a 2009 model, if you got apple care your alright, if not, and it is your hdd then i would not get apple to put it right, it will cost you dearly for the labour alone, its quite simple to change a hdd, and to find which one is best for your model try these;

    however, why don't you try reinstalling osx again from your disk?
    you say your mac reads the the osx disc, its worth a try.
  3. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 15, 2011
    I did reinstalling the osx but still nothing happened.
    What might be the reason to a dead Hard Drive?
  4. macrumors newbie

    Sep 14, 2011
    What happens if you try to boot alt key pressed?
  5. macrumors regular


    Jan 5, 2011
    Las Vegas, NV
    Some hard drives depending on consistency of use have a short life, and end up failing after 2 years I myself had to replace the original hard drive on my late 08 macbook after a year, and my seagate has been running strong since.

    i would suggest just getting a new HDD and then clone copying the remaining files you want off your old one.
  6. macrumors 6502

    Mar 16, 2007
    Most hard disks, if purchased via retail have a 3yr warranty. But for most OEM hard drives, your warranty is limited to the end date of the apple warranty, since apple would be handling the repairs (and sending the drive back to western digital).

    A good replacement for the original hdd is a western digital caviar black hard disk, they're cheap, fast, I've used ~50 of these in various macs that I've repaired, and they're all still working without issues.
  7. macrumors newbie

    Sep 22, 2011
    Folder with blinking question mark

    I hope this will help. I had a problem of the same nature and not much help was to be had so I started to read the forums on this problem and found the answer to repairing my Mac. This is the procedure that I have used and now my operating system is going in fine ( I am using my XP computer to send this message) . I plugged my backup drive into a USB port, I inserted my Mac disc and power up the computer after the boot up chime I held the option key down and the computer booted into a screen with a lock and a text box below, I typed in my password that I use in the computer and hit enter and Lo and Behold it came up to the install operating system. it wanted to put the operating system into my back up so I went into disk utilities and formated the hard drive and then it gave me the option to install on the internal hard drive and now it will install Hope that this helps I will be happy to help If I can just email me at
  8. macrumors member

    Sep 7, 2011
    Throw in the boot disk. Load Disk Utility, if your hard drive has failed or is failing it will not pass the smart tests and will be in bright red. You can't miss it.

    I just went through this two weeks ago. Bought a new 320gb 7200 scorpio black from WD for $75 and everything is so much better now.
  9. macrumors newbie

    Oct 23, 2012

    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)

  10. macrumors newbie

    Dec 17, 2013
    Flashing question mark, changed hard drive, and cable, nothing!!

    hi everyone

    i have the same issue, changed hard drive, even the cable, and still nothing, what shall i do?
  11. macrumors newbie

    Mar 22, 2015

    MacBook Pro unibody mid 2009

    My backpack fell off my bed with my computer in it.

    Turned it on an hour later and got the folder with question mark.

    Tried the re-boot, no

    Went and bought a new SSD drive.

    I switched from my stock HDD ( hitachi 160 gb 5400rpm SATA). To a OCZ ARC 100

    Turned on the computer and I am still getting the blinking folder

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