Macbook and the flashing folder w/question mark

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by echomango, Jun 12, 2012.

  1. echomango macrumors member

    Jun 10, 2012
    My daughter owns a 2007 13 inch macbook that recently wouldn't boot and instead showed the dreaded folder w/ flashing question mark. We tried a number of things that I found on threads here but not much luck in getting it booted. The good news is that she has a time machine backup that is 2 weeks old so she will lose some data but most should be salvaged. My question at this point is what is our next step? Replace the hard drive? She has successfully removed the old drive and reseated it without any success but she now knows the drill and can easily pull it and place a new drive into the bay. I am ignorant of what needs to be done at that point. Is there a link to a page that might tell us exactly what to do once the new drive is in? I am guessing that the startup disc may find the new drive and help format but I would love to give her a good resource on a step by step. Also, where does time machine fit into this process? And how does the OS get put back on? I think she has Lion from itunes and now I wonder how that is going to work too.

    Can this drive be replace with an SSD? Would that be worthwhile? She is planning on buying a new computer soon but it would be great to have a backup and I wonder if the ssd would speed it up? Otherwise, are the drives for these standard? What do I need to look for in choosing the right drive?

    Thanks for any help.

  2. Tander macrumors 6502a


    Oct 21, 2011
    Johannesburg, South Africa
    This is how I would go about with the repair.

    1. Buy a new 2.5" hard drive (Which ever size you want )
    2. Install the drive into the computer.
    3. Load the original software onto the computer, using start up disk (I assume it came with, Lepoard or Tiger ( If she got the machine towards the end of 2007 - it will be Lepoard. )
    4. Open Time Machine and do a restore.

    Done. :D

    However, if you want the machine back on Lion - this can be done by installing Snow Leopard first - then downloading Lion from the Mac App store and installing it onto of SL.

    Or if you have Lion.dmg (Maybe you backed it up somewhere )

    You can boot directly off the USB and just install Lion that way.

    Some links to assist you:

    Starting the Mac using the start up disc:

    Installing Lion (using the Mac App store ) (It says how to upgrade to Mountain Lion - but its the same for Lion )

    Booting off a USB from ( For Lion - if you have a downloaded version on USB from the Mac App Store )

    I hope this helps your daughter out.

    Lastly - if she is buying a new machine soon - don't bother with the SSD.
  3. echomango thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 10, 2012
    Thanks so much for this response and links Tander. Very helpful. It seems that any 2.5" inch drive will work? I worry about compatibility. Maybe its been too long since I installed a hard drive. (back in my windows days, bless macs) Does an ssd use the same connection? I think the drive that went kaput was only 60 or 80 GB and it might not be such a cost factor for that small a drive. Am I right about that? Are there other reasons you would steer clear of the ssd?

    Many thanks

  4. Tander macrumors 6502a


    Oct 21, 2011
    Johannesburg, South Africa
    No problem.

    The only reason I suggested not to go the SSD route was because they tend to be expensive / per GB.

    However if cost is not an issue - go with SSD. The machine will be much quicker and around half an hour more battery life. :cool:

    SSD and normal 2.5" HDDs use the same connector and both are compatible with your daughters MacBook.

    Personally, if it was my machine and money wasn't an issue - I'd put a 128GB ( or 250GB ) SSD in there and be very happy. :D
  5. echomango thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 10, 2012
    Thanks Tander. Very helpful. Have bought a ssd and will see how it works. I wish I could put one in my 2006 imac!

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