question mark/trouble restarting

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by evankru, Mar 4, 2009.

  1. evankru macrumors newbie

    Mar 4, 2009
    I have a macbook that only displayed the question mark when starting up, so I put the install disk in, and went to repair the hard drive from the "disk utility", but it said my HD didn't need any repairs.

    So, I went to "startup disk" under "utilities" and was give 3 options for the system I want to start up my computer:
    Mac OS X, 10.4.11 on Macintosh HD
    Mac OS X, 10.4.8 on Mac OS X Install Disc 1
    Network Startup

    I have tried each option. Once selected, another window opens asking if i'm sure that I want to restart using the chosen system. I click restart, and the computer goes right back to the beginning of the install disk.

    When I try to start the computer without the install disk in, I get the eternal flashing question mark.

    What do I do?
  2. Mpulsive81 macrumors 6502

    Jun 7, 2006
    McKinney, TX
    Sounds like your HDD is toast, take this opportunity as an excuse to upgrade to a bigger HDD, they're stupid cheap right now.

    Do you hear 3 clicks or so before the screen displays the folder w/ the question mark? If so, it's definitely the HDD. The question mark means that the Mac cannot find a bootable OS on the designated boot drive. You can boot to the disk utility because you're forcing the Mac to boot from the optical drive instead of the HDD. Best advice at this point is to pick up a new drive & start from scratch. Then cross your fingers and toes, put your toasted HDD into an external enclosure and see if you can mount it. If you can, consider yourself extremely lucky and start copying over your important stuff. If it won't mount...I really hope you backup frequently, cause it's gone. (ask me how I know....:mad:)

    Most importantly, get yourself an external hdd for cloning if you don't already have one and do so. I don't mess with Time Machine, I use Carbon Copy Cloner to make an exact bootable replica of my hdd. Best of all, it's free. (SuperDuper! is great as well, I'm just not as familiar with it) I picked up a 500gb WD Studio drive for $90 on craigslist...consider it a worthwhile insurance. Best of luck to ya!

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