Recurrent folder with question mark

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by zealbert, Mar 31, 2018.

  1. zealbert macrumors newbie

    zealbert

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2018
    Location:
    California
    #1
    I have had a Macbook air, for two years now. All of a sudden, I keep getting a folder icon with a question mark at start-up; I went to the Apple website, did all the key combinations, eventually I do get it to start up again. I've done the "first aid" thing, and it tells me the HD is ok. The problem keeps recurring; I haven't added any new programs or software, etc...
    Safe mode start up doesn't work at all (holding the shift key); the only way I can get it to restart is to follow the NVRAM reset procedure. Even that doesn't work sometimes, and I have to do it several times before it works.
    AHHHHHH!
    Anybody have any suggestions?
    Thanks
     
  2. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2001
    Location:
    Denmark
    #2
    Either you have a failing hard drive, logic board or SATA cable. My guess would be the latter.
     
  3. zealbert thread starter macrumors newbie

    zealbert

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2018
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    California
    #3
    OH, boy....Is that something I can check myself? I mean, the SATA cable?
     
  4. DeltaMac macrumors G3

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Delaware
    #4
    I think you have to go back nearly ten years before you find a MBAir with an SATA cable, unless OP has a 2009 MBAir or older. Only flash storage since 2010, plugged directly into a slot on the logic board, and no SATA at all since 2013 models.

    But, that doesn't change the issue, and the OTHER possibilities.
    Have you made sure that your boot drive is selected in System Preferences/Startup Disk pane?

    @zealbert: the NVRAM reset will clear the choice of boot drive in the Startup Disk pane, so that's a good place to start. Make sure your boot drive is selected there, after the NVRAM reset.

    If you continue to have the flashing folder, I would suggest reinstalling your macOS system. That will reset your system files (including boot files for the system on your storage drive), and would either fix your issue, or make it worse. As that can be the result, you want to make sure you have a good backup before you do reinstall. Best method to do that reinstall is to download the installer app, and use that to create a bootable USB drive. Or, you can boot to your recovery system, and reinstall macOS from there. It will take longer, as you have to wait for the system files to download first.
     
  5. zealbert thread starter macrumors newbie

    zealbert

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2018
    Location:
    California
    #5
    --- Post Merged, Mar 31, 2018 ---
    First of all, i really appreciate the time you are taking to answer. Thank you!
    Yes, I did select the boot drive in system preferences.
    It's really strange. I leave it alone for an hour or so, then it starts right up, normally.
    I've nixed all the start up apps, also.
    I guess if it keeps doing this, I'll do a reinstall, as you suggested.
    Please let me know if you have thoughts as to why it starts up again normally, after it is shut down for some time?
    I have plenty of disk space, by the way.
    Thanks again!
     
  6. DeltaMac macrumors G3

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Delaware
    #6
    You said that you have had your MacBook Air for about two years.
    What model of MacBook Air do you have, exactly?

    You also said in your last post that you can start up normally if you leave it for an hour or so, before you can start up normally.
    Do you mean that it starts, without showing a flashing folder, even briefly?
    And, if you leave it off overnight, it boots first time?
    So, I am then thinking that the problem appears at a restart, or if you try to immediately boot after a shut down?
    Is there any difference if you are on battery, or the power adapter is plugged in?
    Is it possibly getting really hot? That might explain the need to leave it alone for an hour, so it can cool off completely.
     
  7. 0007776 Suspended

    0007776

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2006
    Location:
    Somewhere
    #7
    It’s two years old, did you buy AppleCare? It sounds like some part of the hardware is on its way out, so if it is under warranty take it to Apple, even if you isolate the issue on your own there isn’t a lot that you can repair yourself on those machines since everything is soldered in.
     
  8. zealbert thread starter macrumors newbie

    zealbert

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2018
    Location:
    California
    #8
    Delta Mac: the model number is A1465 EMC 2924. Yes, after it sits for an awhile, it restarts normally, without showing the flashing folder at all. It boots the first time after leaving it off overnight. However, this is not always the case; sometimes it does give me the same trouble after leaving it off for an hour or more. It's erratic, no rhyme or reason to it. No difference whether it is plugged in or on battery.
    I don't feel it getting hot. Sometimes, I do the NVRAM process several times in a row, and it starts; sometimes not.
    mrkramer: no, I don't have Apple care. I guess if it keeps happening, I will first try to reinstall the OS, and if that doesn't do the trick, I'll have to take it in to Apple and pay for the repair.
    I have one question: would it be harmful if I never turned it off at all? I could just close the cover, let it go to sleep when I am not using it. That doesn't seem to cause any problems, when I reopen the cover; the log on screen is still there.
    Thank you both!
     
  9. DeltaMac macrumors G3

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Delaware
    #9
    Yes, you would be fine if you simply leave your Mac powered on. Make it sleep when your are not using it.
    The power used would be very small while sleeping. I suggest that you leave the power adapter attached if you will be not using it for longer than overnight.
    Mac users often will leave a Mac powered on for weeks at a time, with only updates, or some other compelling reason the only time it is turned off. I have an eMac that I use for making DVD and CD copies (it's primary use for me), and that may sit sleeping for months
    Just so you know - Apple has 4 different MBAirs with the same model number, but your combination of that number with the EMC 2924 tells me that you have MacBookAir7,1 - official model name is MacBook Air (11-inch, Early 2015)
     
  10. zealbert thread starter macrumors newbie

    zealbert

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2018
    Location:
    California
    #10
    Great! Yes, I've left it on, just closing the lid for the last day, no problems. Doesn't seem to use any power at all during that time. I'll just keep an eye on my battery icon.
    Yes, that's right, it's an early 2015 11" model.
    Thank you very much, that basically solves the problem. I'll have to see what happens when there is an update....Maybe I just won't update it, unless there is a security need or something important like that.
     
  11. DeltaMac macrumors G3

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Delaware
    #11
    And, remember that is a work-around, not a solution. You shouldn't have to struggle to get your MBAir to restart.
     
  12. zealbert thread starter macrumors newbie

    zealbert

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2018
    Location:
    California
    #12
    Yes, I agree. I'm just so fed up with this happening all the time, and none of the usual solutions work (hitting all those various key combinations, doing acrobatics with my fingers, etc); so, I'll just stick with this for now. At some point, I'll break down and reload the OS, and if the problem is still there, take to an Apple store, maybe they can figure it out
     

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