Folder w/ question mark flashes when I turn on Mac (OS X Leopard)

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by Digm, Jul 30, 2008.

  1. Digm macrumors newbie

    May 21, 2007
    When I turned on my monitor last night, I had Firefox open with a number of tabs, and the spinning rainbow wheel. Everything was frozen; force quit did not work. I am unsure when the computer first froze -- it might have been Tuesday morning or Monday night. Most likely it was Tuesday morning, as I recall checking weather before leaving for work.

    I shut down the computer using the power button and turned it back on. When the computer booted, it gave me a flashing folder with a question mark in it. Using my iPhone (thankfully can still access internet), I read some forums and other webpages and it looks like my hard drive is shot. I put the Leopard install disc (I don't know if this is the BOOT DISC or if I should be looking for another disc) and loaded that up; when it asked me for a destination install drive, it couldn't find a hard drive, and neither could disk utility.

    I'm pretty sure the hard drive is kaput. I have AppleCare and can take the laptop to an Apple Store (Genius Bar) tomorrow. The only thing I want to do is recover my data, namely, a few folders in my documents section and if possible, my TV shows. All music is backed up, but I didn't ****ing back up some of my documents. (This is a lesson going forward now: I will immediately buy a second external HD and set up Time Machine).

    Anyways, I am going to speak with our office's Mac IT guru and see what he knows, but I've got an external or I can buy a new one, but I want to know if there's anything I can do to recover this data. I've had PC hard drives fail severely before, with lots of scary-sounding clicking, and tech-types have been able to recover data. I can't hear any clicking on this drive, so that might be a good thing (although the inability to recognize the drive seems very bad).

    So, who can offer up some advice? Has this happened to anyone, and do you have any experience, and is there anything I can do to get this data back? That is the priority. After that, a new HD with a fresh install of Leopard would probably be a good thing.

    UPDATE: I talked with our Mac IT guy (he wears a black tee shirt almost every day with either the Apple logo or with "I visited the mothership") and he said that he doesn't have any software to try to recover data from the drive.

    When my PC HD's have failed, I took them to the on-campus IT service and they were able to access the drive using some type of Linux boot process. Is that going to be an option on this Mac? Or am I going to go to the Apple Store and some "genius" is going to tell me I'm screwed, and they'll just replace the HD?
  2. techound1 macrumors 68000


    Mar 3, 2006
    There are several programs to try to get your data back. Data Rescue 2 is pretty popular and effective. TestDisk, FileSalvage, and macintosh-data-recovery are others.

    Your HD might not be dead, but your computer may have basically lost the directions. If you have Disk Warrior, I highly recommend booting from it and repairing your HD with it. That may clear up the issues without having to chase down any data recovery.
  3. Digm thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 21, 2007
    Thank you.

    Disk Warrior could not find the disc either. I tried to run that fsck command line but could not even get a command prompt up.

    I will look into those other programs.
  4. steve2237 macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2008
    This happened to me a few weeks ago on my macbook. I was worried the had drive was completely dead, because it did not even show up in disk utility when I booted off my OSX disks. As a last-ditch effort i wondered if maybe the hard drive had become unseated, so I opened it up, took the hard drive out, and put it back into place. It's been working fine ever since! (but I'm still making daily backups just in case)
  5. NC MacGuy macrumors 603

    NC MacGuy

    Feb 9, 2005
    The good side of the grass.
    I have been able to recover data by using another mac via firewire. Boot good one, plug in firewire to bad one and see if you can recognize a disk at all. You may have corrupted the system files but the data may be sitting there unaffected and able to transfer.

    And like other poster noted, those drives are user serviceable and you may just have to remove battery, remove wee little philips screws on shielding piece, grab that little white plasticy piece of paper looking thing under hdd, yank to remove drive, reinsert drive and see if it can be recognized then.

Share This Page