How can I fix the blinking questionmark folder problem?

sebu123

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 16, 2013
9
0
So I have a pretty common issue with my 12,2 mid-2011 27" iMac. It shows the folder questionmark icon on startup.

At first I thought that my hard drive was faulty - which it was. So I bought a new one and inserted in the iMac. I then installed a copy of High Sierra on my 500GB external harddrive.

Now my problem is: The hard drive shows up in Disk Utility and is both healthy and able to be formatted. When I Install High Sierra on the hard drive it starts the process of installing and then restarts BUT the questionmark issue still remains. I've then tried replacing the SATA cable from another iMac that I know works but the issue still remains.

The weirdest part is that the hard drive seems to be fine and showing up in Disk Utility as a healthy drive but the computer simply won't recognize the OS.

Is there anyone who knows what my problem may be? Thank you for your help! I really do appreciate it!!

PS: I've already tried resetting PRAM and SMC without any luck.
 

barbu

macrumors 6502
Jul 8, 2013
491
553
wpg.mb.ca
strange that the PRAM reset didn't help, since that would clear any stored boot volumes it was trying to locate. Try booting while holding Option to load the boot chooser. Does you disk appear?
 

sebu123

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 16, 2013
9
0
strange that the PRAM reset didn't help, since that would clear any stored boot volumes it was trying to locate. Try booting while holding Option to load the boot chooser. Does you disk appear?
The drive doesn’t show in the boot chooser either but i shows under disk utility
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Have you run Apple diagnostics?
If I hold D on startup it’ll still take me to the blinking folder. I don’t know why.
 

nambuccaheadsau

macrumors 68000
Oct 19, 2007
1,787
417
Nambucca Heads Australia
Coz the 2011 iMac will not run diagnostic - a little too old. Needs to be a late 2013+ model.

Go tom this link and download the correct version of Apple Hardware Test for you midel, burn to a DVD or thumb drive and boot from that and run the full test. The flashing icon can mean either the hard drive has failed or the operating system has become corruoted.


 

barbu

macrumors 6502
Jul 8, 2013
491
553
wpg.mb.ca
The drive doesn’t show in the boot chooser either but i shows under disk utility
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If I hold D on startup it’ll still take me to the blinking folder. I don’t know why.
sounds like it's not bootable for some reason. If it is not bootable, it will not show in the boot chooser. I think you might need to try the install again, perhaps run it from your other Mac?
 

sebu123

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 16, 2013
9
0
sounds like it's not bootable for some reason. If it is not bootable, it will not show in the boot chooser. I think you might need to try the install again, perhaps run it from your other Mac?
You mean install the OS to the hard drive in the other iMac and then install the same hard drive in the 2011 iMac? That could maybe work.
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Coz the 2011 iMac will not run diagnostic - a little too old. Needs to be a late 2013+ model.

Go tom this link and download the correct version of Apple Hardware Test for you midel, burn to a DVD or thumb drive and boot from that and run the full test. The flashing icon can mean either the hard drive has failed or the operating system has become corruoted.


Okay great thank you. I'll try this.
I've also tried two different OS one of which actually installed on the other iMac without any issues.
 

fastlanephil

macrumors 65816
Nov 17, 2007
1,152
193
Coz the 2011 iMac will not run diagnostic - a little too old. Needs to be a late 2013+ model.

Go tom this link and download the correct version of Apple Hardware Test for you midel, burn to a DVD or thumb drive and boot from that and run the full test. The flashing icon can mean either the hard drive has failed or the operating system has become corruoted.


Yeah, I thought that might be the case. Also if you able to access the internet you could try option-D on startup.