MacBook with flashing question mark

Discussion in 'macOS' started by nhod, Dec 21, 2018.

  1. nhod macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2014
    #1
    I've got a MacBook Air giving me a flashing question mark in a folder on startup. I was able to get into recovery mode. I verified the disk, it's fine. However, when I choose the option of reinstalling the OS I get an error message over and over. I'm not sure how to proceed.

    If anyone has input it would be much appreciated.

    Thanks.
     
  2. DeltaMac macrumors G3

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Delaware
    #2
    I would suggest that you try an (external) USB bootable installer, which may work better than using the recovery system on a possibly failing drive.

    What is that error message that you get?
     
  3. theapplehead macrumors 6502

    theapplehead

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2018
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #3
    Does your MacBook have a recovery partition or is it online recovery?
     
  4. DeltaMac macrumors G3

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Delaware
    #4
    Yes, you can tell which you boot with: the normal recovery system boots with the usual Apple icon. Internet recovery, OTOH, boots with a spinning globe icon, not an Apple icon.
     
  5. theapplehead macrumors 6502

    theapplehead

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2018
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #5
    I was asking which because the built in recovery is probably corrupted, whereas the internet recovery should permit him to format his system and reinstall the os.
     
  6. DeltaMac macrumors G3

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Delaware
    #6
    I agree, and that's probably where the OP is... But, some users may believe they are booted to the local recovery partition, when the spinning globe will mean that he is booting to Apple's servers (and internet recovery)
     
  7. theapplehead macrumors 6502

    theapplehead

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2018
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #7
    True. Though it seems he has forgotten about his post because now it's just you and me talking about it and we don't know exactly what his Mac is telling him. Interestingly enough, my MBP has an SSD and apparently never had any type of recovery partition on it. I bought it used and the previous owner who installed the SSD didn't provide it with a recovery partition, not to mention that he had the stupid thing in an MBR format as opposed to GUID so I had to reformat the drive. Then I had the pleasure of waiting hours to re-update my machine from internet recovery due to the slow wifi I was using. Long story short, I've been through this whole thing before and it sucks if you don't do it right. Especially if there is valuable data you dont want to lose.
     

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6 December 21, 2018