Question Mark Folder of Death

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by danakm, Jul 26, 2015.

  1. danakm, Jul 26, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2015

    danakm macrumors regular

    danakm

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2006
    Location:
    Wonderland
    #1
    For the past week, whenever I turn off my mac (only twice so far, since I usually just make it sleep) and try to restart it at a later time, instead of booting, it just goes blank for a bit and eventually shows me a blinking question mark folder.

    I have to try several rounds of turning on and off before I can get it to show me my HD (via option key) and then it veeeeeeeeery slowly (took about half an hour this morning) eventually boots.

    From what I've googled, I suspect the HD is comatose and about to bid this world good bye, but I wanted to see if anyone here thinks I should also check other possible issues (even in addition to the HD replacement)?

    If I am right, though, and the fix is to just replace the HD, I'm thinking SSD + HD, but it would be my first time with this set up, so I'm open to suggestions/tips/opinions.

    BTW, I'm running Yosemite 10.10.4 on a mid-2009 MBP 15" with 8GB of RAM. And yes, I'm aware my machine is getting old fast, but there is no option to replace it just yet, so I'd like to extend its life a little longer.

    Thanks in advance :)
     
  2. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    #2
    Your hard drive is dying.

    Keep a backup handy because you'll need one. It's actually pretty good that it lasted this long, mechanical hard drives get quite a beating in laptops due to being tossed about.

    I'm running a SSD in the main bay with the original 750 mechanical in the optical drive, been that way for about 2 years now, no regrets.
     
  3. Cuniac macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2013
    Location:
    Phoenix
    #3
    It does sound like something is going bad. If you have an external HD I would Time Machine it a.s.a.p. if you have not already. If you are looking to extend its life a bit more Solid State is the way to go. And while I may not be able to say its cheap, it has gotten a lot cheaper. If you have not upgraded the drive that came with it, your not running anymore than 500GB. You can get a 500GB Samsung Evo 850 for $178. If you installed that you would feel a huge difference.

    http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-2-5-I...7936202&sr=8-1&keywords=samsung+evo+850+500gb
     
  4. danakm, Jul 26, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2015

    danakm thread starter macrumors regular

    danakm

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2006
    Location:
    Wonderland
    #4
    Oh, yeah. I replaced mine a couple of years ago, but nothing like this had ever happened to me. I had more "moderate" signs of early failure in the past, so this is new ;)

    (Probably silly) question:
    Does it make any difference whether you mount the SSD in the main bay versus the optical one? I ask because I asume to mount the SSD on the main and a mechanical on the optical I'd need two adapters, instead of just one if I mount the HDD where it normally goes and the SDD in the optical.

    Thanks for your input. I think I'm definitely going to go with a SSD + regular HD set up :)
     
  5. danakm thread starter macrumors regular

    danakm

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2006
    Location:
    Wonderland
    #5
    Luckily I have good back ups of pretty much everything due to a fairly recent fresh install of the OS, although I do need to copy the recent files I've been working with these days :)

    Would you recommend the Samsung SSDs over, say, the ones OWC sells? Quality-wise, I mean :)
     
  6. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #6
    Agreed with others who suggested that the internal drive is on the verge of failure.

    My suggest is to NOT spend a lot of money on it, since it's already 6 years old.

    I would recommend getting a medium-capacity SSD and swapping it out with the old hard drive.

    You DON'T need the "fastest/latest/greatest" SSD, because the internal bus in a 2009 MacBook is only SATA-2 (I believe), and you won't see any speed differences between a higher-end SSD and a cheaper one. No discernible difference - NONE.

    I've had good luck with Crucial and Intel SSD's, and recommend them. Crucial offers a nice balance of speed vis-a-vis economy.

    You can use the ifixit.com guide for installation.
    BE SURE TO BUY THE RIGHT TOOLS FOR THE JOB (shouting intentional).
    The drive swap itself is about as easy as it gets, repair-wise.

    One other suggestion:
    Prepare and test the new drive EXTERNALLY, BEFORE you swap it out with the internal drive. Should make the process go easier, as you'll know the drive will boot and run the MacBook before you actually put it in.

    Final thought:
    An SSD will make the MacBook "feel almost like a new machine".
    A VERY worthwhile upgrade.
     
  7. Cuniac macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2013
    Location:
    Phoenix
    #7
    Yes I would. I hear things on this forum about that OWC not being super reliable. I run a Samsung 840 in my gaming rig and its a champ. It also has amazing reviews.
     
  8. danakm thread starter macrumors regular

    danakm

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2006
    Location:
    Wonderland
    #8
    Thank you. That was my suspicion as well :)

    I just got a 250GB Samsung Evo SSD due to many good comments here and elsewhere and because Amazon had a great deal. I wanted an Intel, but the equivalent was a bit out of my emergency price range (this was all out of the blue, so a quite unplanned expense).

    hahaha... I think I have all the tools save the enclosure to replace the optical drive with an extra drive (that I'm thinking of doing for cheap extra space), but I already ordered that. I think I do because I've swapped HDs in the past. But thanks for the pointed warning :)

    Yeah, thank you. I'll definitely test/prepare the drive beforehand. Do you think I can use a regular HD enclosure for this despite the new drive being an SSD? Or do I really need a special cable/enclosure? I figured the normal HD enclosure I already have should work since if the internal connectors of the mac are cross-compatible, then the external toys I have should be too, but I'd like some confirmation? (Because if that's not the case I need to order another cable).
     
  9. danakm thread starter macrumors regular

    danakm

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2006
    Location:
    Wonderland
    #9
    Thank you. I ordered the 250GB version of the one you linked, Evo 850. Fingers crossed :)
     
  10. KUguardgrl13 macrumors 68020

    KUguardgrl13

    Joined:
    May 16, 2013
    Location:
    Kansas, USA
    #10
    It could be your hard drive, but it could also be the hard drive cable. I'm not sure about the 15" model, but the 13" models have certainly had issues with the cables failing. It should be replaced anyway when you do the hard drive.
     
  11. ApolloBoy macrumors 6502a

    ApolloBoy

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2015
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    #11
    Unless you're rough with it, you shouldn't need to replace the hard drive cable. Just be delicate and you won't have to worry about it.
     
  12. AbSoluTc macrumors 68040

    AbSoluTc

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2008
    #12
    This. The 15" MBP from years prior was plagued with HD cable failures. Apple finally redesigned it a little bit by adding foam over the cable to help combat the issue. Replace the cable and things will probably be just fine but honestly, the drive is probably getting close to failing if it hasn't already.

    The 13" also had the cable failure issue.
     
  13. AbSoluTc macrumors 68040

    AbSoluTc

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2008
    #13
    Incorrect. See previous post. The cable fails without any interaction with it. It was a flaw either with the cable or how it's routed inside the machine. It lays over the aluminum lip nearby and flexing of the machine could cause failure. This was the theory. Either way, the cables failed frequently on these machines. Replace it with a new one and problem solved. I replaced about 43 of them in a 2 year span.
     
  14. danakm, Jul 29, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2015

    danakm thread starter macrumors regular

    danakm

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2006
    Location:
    Wonderland
    #14
    I thought the cable thing was a 13" MBP issue?

    Also, although my HDD might very well be dying, I have previously replaced it (just to clarify), so I'm not currently using the original one and as such it's definitely not as old as the mac (in case you're assuming it must be dying due to the computer's age).

    Do we know what causes the cable issue and if there is any way to prevent it? I can't seem to find info about that.
     
  15. AbSoluTc macrumors 68040

    AbSoluTc

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2008
    #15


    One idea of the issue.
     
  16. danakm thread starter macrumors regular

    danakm

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2006
    Location:
    Wonderland
    #16
    I already ordered my SSD, so I'll wait for it and see if the issue resolves itself or not, just by replacing it.

    But thanks a lot for your comment and the video. I will try the electrical tape protection on my cable regardless, either on my current cable if it's still functional or on the new one if I end up having to replace it :)
     
  17. Apple Maniac macrumors newbie

    Apple Maniac

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2015
    Location:
    reparacionmac.es Ibi, Alicante - España
    #17

    You can probably increase the duration of your disk, making "repair disk" with disk utility.It is sure to have errors, disk, and file system. Disk Utility can repair them. If not start, yosemite, you can press ALT just do after the chime, and load the recovery partition. Inside, you'll find Disk Utility, and may make the verification and repair your hard disk.
     
  18. danakm thread starter macrumors regular

    danakm

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2006
    Location:
    Wonderland
    #18
    I did this first thing when I managed to get the mac to boot and it said the disk was ok, permissions as well, which is clearly not the case, unfortunately.
     

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