MacBook Snow leopard boots to flashing question mark folder

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by The Lion, Sep 15, 2009.

  1. The Lion macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
    #1
    Over the weekend I install Snow Leopard on my MacBook and all went fine and it rebooted automatically after Snow Leopard was installed. However on Sunday when I turned on the MacBook it booted and all I had was a flashing folder with a question mark. I have read several suggestion and so far have tried...

    1)Holding down different keys (C, D & X) to specify the disk but it doesn't seem to find the hard drive at this points
    2)Booting from a flash drive & Install DVD and use Disk Utility to verify/repair the disk
    3) re-install Snow Leopard
    4) re-install Leopard
    5) Erase hard drive and re-install Leopard
    6) Reset PARM (?) Think that's what it was called...
    7) remove hardward and re-install (memory & Hard Drive)

    The hard drive appears and shows as verified in DU and repair does not give any errors but if I try to boot using the hard drive, I get the flashing "?"
    I've tried re-installs of the OS but once it's done and reboots I get the flashing "?"

    I just can't seem to get by the problem but the hard drive appears "OK" when verified or repaired. What else can I do?
     
  2. iLog.Genius macrumors 601

    iLog.Genius

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    #2
    Sorry but I have to ask, are they real discs or are did you download a copy from the internet? If they're legit, then the only thing I could think of is that the HDD might be gone. Folder w/ question usually means software problem (can't read the OS) or hardware (bad HDD) but most of the time it's the former. Try getting another HDD and see if it still gives you the error.
     
  3. The Lion thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
    #3
    yes they are legit - the MacBook came with 2 install discs, after the first finishes it reboots and ejects but I just get a grey screen and nothing else. If I use the Snow Leopard disk it finishes and reboots then ejects the disc but I get the flashing question mark. The MacBook is perhaps 2-3 years old (I think it was 2 years ago when I bought it), so I was hoping it wasn't the hard drive and figured it must not be the hard drive if the DU can find it and show how much space was used and free.

    I did get to the hard drive using Terminal when booting from an install disk. Tried replacing the "mach_kernel" since I saw that in another post somewhere.
     
  4. iLog.Genius macrumors 601

    iLog.Genius

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    #4
    Being able to detect the HDD doesn't necessarily mean it is functioning correctly. If you're familiar with it, the Apple Hardware Test is an example. Something will be wrong with your computer but the AHT doesn't always report an error, it detects the hardware does whatever it does and flags it as pass.

    I'd still get another HDD seeing how your MacBook is a few years old, it could possibly be a HDD failure.
     
  5. The Lion thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
    #5
    Thanks, I'll give that a try. Guess it won't hurt to upgrade to a larger HD anyway
     
  6. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #6
    Have you tried holding Option at start-up; I didn't see if you did that in your steps. My Mac Pro has the problem where if I boot normally it will tell me no disks are found, but if I hold Option and then choose the boot volume it will boot normally.
     
  7. The Lion thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
    #7
    Not just the option key by itself - I did the combination of keys to reset PRAM and a few other attempts just holding "D", "X" and "C" (I believe all those I tried). I'll give the option key a try and see if that gives any better results. Thanks.
     
  8. KielderWolf macrumors regular

    KielderWolf

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2009
    Location:
    Northeast England
    #8
    Sounds like you may have one one of the following:

    Partitioned drive; you partitioned your boot drive and one of your partitions has a slower value ID (eg dsk001 is lower than dsk002) than your boot partition, when the computer likes to boot from the lowest value partition; under normal circumstances a partition should be after the boot sector and have a higher value ID. I know a friend who installed Linux and erased XP from his machine, and has to do something similar to boot straight into Linux.

    Swapped drives; very simple in a Mac Pro, have you accidentally swapped any of the hard drives from their original bays? The computer again always heads for lowest value ID, so if your boot drive is bay 2 not bay 1, it may be getting lost.

    To the OP:

    This sounds like a bad boot sector since reinstalling didn't seem to repair it. Odd that AHT didn't flag it though. Try with a new drive, or get somebody to verify your disk on another machine. Good luck!
     

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