Grey Flashing Folder Question Mark, Missing HD?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Mtbchris, May 25, 2012.

  1. Mtbchris macrumors newbie

    May 25, 2012
    Hi all, my first post, but I’ve been a lurker round here for a long time, I can’t seem to find a similar thread to this.

    Last night my mid 2010 macbook pro OSX Lion, suddenly decided not to boot up, and I got the flashing folder with the ?, from what I (think I) know, this meant that my computer can’t find the O/S.
    So I booted from my USB recovery drive and ran disc utility and there was no sign of my hard drive (Momentus XT 500GB).
    Thinking my HD was dead, I swapped it out for a spare which was the original drive I removed from the mac a couple of months ago (I know it was working when I took it out) also with Lion installed on it, and repeated the recovery Disc utility procedure and again no sign of the HD.

    I’m a bit stumped as to what to try next, unfortunately my nearest apple store is an hour away by train, so I really want to make sure I’ve tried everything before I take it over there.
    Can anyone point me in the direction of what may be wrong?

    Thanks. C
  2. iThinkergoiMac macrumors 68030

    Jan 20, 2010
    The SATA port could be bad, which would be interesting. Is there a way to verify that the HDD works in another computer?
  3. Mtbchris thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 25, 2012
    Unfortunately I've not managed to try the drive in another computer yet. I did try the two drives and get the same (frustrating) result.

    I have just phoned my local mac repair centre, independent not an Apple store and the chap on the phone and he claimed to have heard of this before with this model of Macbook pro, he couldn't be certain (over the phone) but said he was 95% sure it was the 'Unified Extensible Firmware Interface'. This is not something I've heard about or come across?
  4. Coldmode macrumors regular

    Mar 10, 2010
    The EFI is what tells your Mac how to boot. It's like BIOS on PCs. I'm not sure what would make that wonky, though. Really weird. Could be a motherboard problem, which would be a real drag. Update us when you learn more!

    Is your local repair place Apple Certified? If so, they are able to carry out repairs under warranty (at least in the US) and so you could save the hour on a train.
  5. Pentad macrumors 6502a


    Nov 26, 2003
    I'm skeptical of the computer repair person's claim. The UEFI is like a BIOS in older computers. Before you cart your computer to this person or start spending money in repair bills, can you test the HDs in another computer first? Just to make sure they are in working order.

    Also, did you do the reset the pram? You can see how to do that here.

    This is what I would do:

    1. Put one of the HDs into your Mac. Button her up.

    2. You said your MBP is 2010, so you should have the Snow Leopard reinstall disc. Boot of the SL reinstall disc.

    3. When the install process starts you can jump into Disk Utility from the menu bar.

    4. In Disk Utility, see if the the HD shows up. Even if the partition is bad for some reason, it should 'see' the HD so that you can partition it, repair it, etc...

    This would tell us if the SATA port is 'seeing' the HD.

    If it does not see the HD, I would turn off the computer (hold the power button down till it is off). Then I would put the other HD in and repeat the process.

    If neither of these drives appear in Disk Util, I would try to verify the drives are good on another computer.

    If they do indeed appear on another computer then your SATA port could be bad.

    I'm not aware of the UEFI's options that can disable the SATA port. Even if you could, if you did not set it, then I would be surprised that it was suddenly do this.

    Let us know what happens!

  6. Mtbchris thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 25, 2012
    Thanks for the advice people.
    I really wasn't buying what the apple repair shop said to me, so good to hear my gut feeling being backed up.

    Pentad, I've managed to use disc utility on the lion USB restore, neither hD showed up there. Is using the Snow leopard disc a better option?

    I've been doing some searching, and I have found more than a few forums mentioning the hard drive cable having failed. Given it's a relatively cheap part I might give that a try.
    First though, I will try and find another machine to check one (or both) of the drives.

    I'll update on what I find, but thanks for the pointers so far.
  7. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    I've seen quite a few posts on here where, as you said, HD cables go bad. I'd definitely give that a whirl.
  8. Pentad macrumors 6502a


    Nov 26, 2003
    Nope, the Lion DiskUtil should work better than SL.

    Yep, it could be the cable. That would be the cheapest fix.

    Checking the drives out too is a good idea.

    Not to insult you, but is the cable firmly plugged in on both ends (MB and drive)? Just a thought... :)

    If none of the above works, can you plug one of the HDs into the OD drive port just to see if it is seen in DiskUtil? I know you will have to MacGyver it up to boot the thing but it would be really interesting if the drive is seen in that port.

    Keep up updated!
    Good Luck!
  9. Mtbchris thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 25, 2012
    Well Macbook is now fixed, and a bit of a lesson learned.

    Ordered a new HD cable from eBay, cost £20 fitted it and no change.

    So I bit the bullet and got the train through to the Apple store (before I did that I put the laptop back to the original cable and HD).

    The Apple tech ran a few tests before he too diagnosed a broken HD cable and quoted 7 to 10 days for repair, a quick chat explaining that I had travelled a distance to get there, a check with the repairs section and reckoned they could do it that morning.

    So 2 hours later, they replaced the cable and all was working fine, the cost £10 and they waved the fitting charge (£25). Laptop working again!

    So I guess I got another faulty cable from eBay, and I learned not to assume Apple would be the most expensive or slowest way for a fix! Top service from Apple store Glasgow!

    Thanks for all the advice people. Hope my thread might help a few others if the same problem crops up.
    Cheers, C
  10. Pentad macrumors 6502a


    Nov 26, 2003


    I'm really glad you have your MBP back again and it didn't cost you an arm and leg! :)

  11. iMacC2D, Jun 3, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017

Share This Page