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Can motherboard be damaged? A flashing question mark in a folder

Solen

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 8, 2018
10
0
Hello everyone:)

When I turn on my Mac book Pro on the screen it has a flashing question mark inside a folder and it won't let me do anything.

I know that:
"the folder with the question mark means the computer cannot find the startup system. This could happens because files that are needed to boot the computer are damaged, or the drive's directory is damaged. This can also happen when the computer has a dead drive"

I have tried:

1- Reset SVRAM+SMC = Didn't help.

2- Rebooting my computer with holding the Command+R key= Nothing happens just " flashing question mark inside a folder "

3- Rebooting my computer with holding the Command+R+s key= Nothing happens just " flashing question mark inside a folder "

4- Try to booting with CD Live For various operating systems Mac+Win,through the basic HDD/CDD , or, USB HDD/CDD+ I purchased a new data cable + hard drive+Ram,=
Nothing happens just " flashing question mark inside a folder "Every time:)

Thanks to all:)


Mac Book Pro 15" Early 2011
CPU 2.0 GHz Intel "Core i7"

Mor Info her:
https://everymac.com/systems/apple/...-15-early-2011-unibody-thunderbolt-specs.html
 

NT1440

macrumors G5
May 18, 2008
12,401
15,599
does it start in thunderbolt mode?

It’s either hold T at startup or CMD-T.
 

Solen

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 8, 2018
10
0
Just " flashing question mark inside a folder "Every time:)
 

MacBH928

Contributor
May 17, 2008
4,633
1,762
I don't know the answer but you can always move the data to a new computer instead of trying to fix a 7 year old computer
 

Solen

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 8, 2018
10
0
I don't know the answer but you can always move the data to a new computer instead of trying to fix a 7 year old computer

Thank you dear " MacBH928 " & Thanks for your help!
I want to solve the computer problem, if anyone can help me, I am sure that here are many who help:)
 

snaky69

macrumors 603
Mar 14, 2008
5,904
484
Your hard drive most likely died.

You could swap in one from a known working Mac if you have one handy to check this. If it boots, your hard drive is dead.

I hope you had a good backup, else all your data is gone.
 
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mmomega

macrumors demi-god
Dec 30, 2009
3,632
1,796
DFW, TX
The question mark folder is usually a, can't find boot drive issue.
Sometimes holding down Option key right at the boot up chime (continue holding until something shows up, shouldn't take more than 10-15 seconds) this will show the hard drive if it is working, choose it and it should boot up after that.
Get in to System Preferences and then choose the startup disk again and reboot to see if that fixes it.

Another option is hold down CMD+ R keys to boot in to recovery mode, go in to disk utility from there and see if the computer shows the hard drive listed.
Fix/repair permissions/first aid the drive if shown. reboot see if that helps.

There is also hardware test, immediately at power on (or chime) hold down the D key and continue holding until the hardware test icon shows up. Then run tests, usually choose to run extended test to do a more thorough check. The computer can tell you if the drive is testing bad, bad ram, etc.

Other options would be create a bootable USB drive, reinstall macOS even temporarily to an external USB so that you can get back in to the computer and do some further testing.
 
Last edited:
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Solen

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 8, 2018
10
0
Your hard drive most likely died.

You could swap in one from a known working Mac if you have one handy to check this. If it boots, your hard drive is dead.

I hope you had a good backup, else all your data is gone.


Solen said said:
Thank you dear " MacBH928 " & Thanks for your help!
I want to solve the computer problem, if anyone can help me, I am sure that here are many who help:)

Thank you dear " snaky69 " & Thanks for your help!

"4- Try to booting with CD Live For various operating systems Mac+Win,through the basic HDD/CDD , or, USB HDD/CDD+ I purchased a new data cable + hard drive+Ram,=
Nothing happens just " flashing question mark inside a folder "Every time:)"
[doublepost=1525825761][/doublepost]
The question mark folder is usually a, can't find boot drive issue.
Sometimes holding down Option key right at the boot up chime (continue holding until something shows up, shouldn't take more than 10-15 seconds) this will show the hard drive if it is working, choose it and it should boot up after that.
Get in to System Preferences and then choose the startup disk again and reboot to see if that fixes it.

Another option is hold down CMD+ R keys to boot in to recovery mode, go in to disk utility from there and see if the computer shows the hard drive listed.
Fix/repair permissions/first aid the drive if shown. reboot see if that helps.

There is also hardware test, immediately at power on (or chime) hold down the D key and continue holding until the hardware test icon shows up. Then run tests, usually choose to run extended test to do a more thorough check. The computer can tell you if the drive is testing bad, bad ram, etc.

Other options would be create a bootable USB drive, reinstall macOS even temporarily to an external USB so that you can get back in to the computer and do some further testing.

Thank you dear " mmomega " & Thanks for your help!
I urge you to re-read what I've done before:)
 

DeltaMac

macrumors G4
Jul 30, 2003
10,592
2,838
Delaware
Install the macOS system on your new hard drive, using a different Mac, test to make sure it boots on THAT Mac, then install that freshly loaded hard drive into your MBPro.
Replace the SATA ribbon with new.
If you STILL get the flashing folder/no bootable system found - then you have a bad logic board - not exactly rare on 2011 15-inch MBPro....
 

Solen

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 8, 2018
10
0
Install the macOS system on your new hard drive, using a different Mac, test to make sure it boots on THAT Mac, then install that freshly loaded hard drive into your MBPro.
Replace the SATA ribbon with new.
If you STILL get the flashing folder/no bootable system found - then you have a bad logic board - not exactly rare on 2011 15-inch MBPro....

Thank you dear " DeltaMac " & Thanks for your help:)

Install the macOS system on your new hard drive, using a different Mac,.....

I did this before writing my topic here, and I tried the version "OS X 10.9.x + 10.10.x + 10.13.x" . All with the same problem:)

If you STILL get the flashing folder/no bootable system found -....

Yes, the problem is the same.

Thank you very much again:)
 

mick2

macrumors regular
Oct 5, 2017
188
183
UK
As others have said above, likely either a dead hard drive or a failed HDD ribbon connector. I've had both these happen to me on my 2011 13" MBP and both had the same symptom - the folder with the '?' at boot.

When the HDD died there was some weirdness before it died - screen freezes, lagginess etc - but when the cable failed it did so without any warning. I bought a replacement cable on eBay plus some online instructions and replaced it myself. It was v easy to do.
 

Solen

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 8, 2018
10
0
Dear mick2 . I have no problem with hard drive i have more than one and one of them is completely new, the problem is in motherboard, i invite you to read the topic again:)

Thanks for your help:)
 

elf69

macrumors 68020
Jun 2, 2016
2,333
487
Cornwall UK
If you have installed on another HDD try plugging this HDD into usb and hold option key then select to boot from this drive. it may be slow on usb but then you should be able to tell if the machine is still working.

This would bypass the ribbon of the HDD if that is the fault.
 

mick2

macrumors regular
Oct 5, 2017
188
183
UK
Dear mick2 . I have no problem with hard drive i have more than one and one of them is completely new, the problem is in motherboard, i invite you to read the topic again:)
So, the problem is in the motherboard. There's your answer. There are no user serviceable components on the motherboard, so replace the motherboard (or get a new Mac).
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
20,219
7,134
Can you boot using an EXTERNAL drive connected via USB?
Your original post wasn't clear.

A good "test" as to whether it's the internal drive or cable is to use a "known-bootable" external drive (one that has been proven to boot the computer in the past, and a drive that can boot other Macs as well).

If the Mac won't boot with a "known good" external drive, and if PRAM/NVRAM do nothing, it probably is the motherboard.

If nothing seems to be working, as someone else advised above, it's probably time to start shopping for a replacement. The 2011 15" MBPro isn't worth fixing, particularly due to the "RadeonGate" issue.
 
Last edited:

Solen

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 8, 2018
10
0
If you have installed on another HDD try plugging this HDD into usb and hold option key then select to boot from this drive. it may be slow on usb but then you should be able to tell if the machine is still working.

This would bypass the ribbon of the HDD if that is the fault.

Thank you dear " elf69 " & Thanks for your help!
I did this before writing my topic here:)

4- Try to booting with CD Live For various operating systems Mac+Win,through the basic HDD/CDD , or, USB HDD/CDD+ I purchased a new data cable + hard drive+Ram,=
Nothing happens just " flashing question mark inside a folder "Every time:)
[doublepost=1525879751][/doublepost]
Can you boot using an EXTERNAL drive connected via USB?
Your original post wasn't clear.

A good "test" as to whether it's the internal drive or cable is to use a "known-bootable" external drive (one that has been proven to boot the computer in the past, and a drive that can boot other Macs as well).

If the Mac won't boot with a "known good" external drive, and if PRAM/NVRAM do nothing, it probably is the motherboard.

If nothing seems to be working, as someone else advised above, it's probably time to start shopping for a replacement. The 2011 15" MBPro isn't worth fixing, particularly due to the "RadeonGate" issue.

Thank you dear " Fishrrman " & Thanks for your help!

I did this before writing my topic here:)

4- Try to booting with CD Live For various operating systems Mac+Win,through the basic HDD/CDD , or, USB HDD/CDD+ I purchased a new data cable + hard drive+Ram,=
Nothing happens just " flashing question mark inside a folder "Every time:)
[doublepost=1525880357][/doublepost]PRAM (or NVRAM) & SMC = Didn't help
:)
 

MacBH928

Contributor
May 17, 2008
4,633
1,762
This is one of the wierdest issues I have seen with a computer. First time no one came with a proper possible solution. I can only say take it to the Apple shop.
 

Solen

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 8, 2018
10
0
This is one of the wierdest issues I have seen with a computer. First time no one came with a proper possible solution. I can only say take it to the Apple shop.

&

jerryk said:
Sounds like you have done all the trouble shooting you can. Time to take it to a shop, or retire the system..

I thank you for your presence here with me:)

I will dig a grave with my hand and bury it in it, and I will say to him, Sleep here in peace,but not now, after seeing that there is no solution to revive him and save him from this death:)
 

DeltaMac

macrumors G4
Jul 30, 2003
10,592
2,838
Delaware
Your relevant responses have come from some of those experienced users - several times.
Hard drive.
SATA cable.
Boot from external drive.
If none of those work, and you can't get the built-in hardware test to run - you can replace the logic board.
And, you can sell the MBPro for parts.
Or, you can give up, use it for a doorstop. (Kinda clumsy for that, but... )
 

Solen

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 8, 2018
10
0
Your relevant responses have come from some of those experienced users - several times.
Hard drive.
SATA cable.
Boot from external drive.
If none of those work, and you can't get the built-in hardware test to run - you can replace the logic board.
And, you can sell the MBPro for parts.
Or, you can give up, use it for a doorstop. (Kinda clumsy for that, but... )

Hello dear "DeltaMac" Thank you for being here to help me:)

I would have liked more tips, but your advice might be the knock-out to solve the problem by inviting the motherboard to live safely in the waste bin.:)
 
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