12 Replies Latest reply: Feb 22, 2008 4:43 PM by Caleb M.
Caleb M. Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
This question is concerning a similar/same issue under the post "Hard disc problem"

When I start up my Macbook is shows the folder/question mark icon. This goes on forever... I followed the instructions in the manual in the trouble shooting section using the install disc. Nothing worked: restart + option, restart + command, and tried to reinstall; however there are no destination volumes to choose from.

When I opened the systems profiler using the installation dvd, it only recognized the installation disc in Hardware-ATA. This has me concerned...I don't want to lose my data. I just tried resetting the PRAM and it did nothing. I did the hardware test and nothing was found. If the hard drive is not recognized, can I even back up my data?

I thought about taking the hard drive out and then putting it back in. However, I don't now if that will decrease the chances of my getting the data off the hard drive.

Yesterday I updated itunes and iphoto. Would this cause these problems? I wouldn't think so.

Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks so much.

Macbook IntelDuo 2ghz 1GB RAM, Mac OS X (10.4.11)
  • First Magus Level 6 Level 6 (15,850 points)
    Boot from the install disk while holding down the C disk. When you get to the second install window you will see a menu bar across the top. Under Utilities open System Utilities and try and run verify permissions. Also verify the drive. If needed repair both permissions and the disk and then reboot normally and see what happens.

    Mort
  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (247,190 points)
    Your problem is that some files needed by the system during startup have become corrupted. The only solution is to reinstall OS X. If the drive isn't corrupted you may be able to do an Archive and Install which will not erase the drive:

    How to Perform an Archive and Install

    1. Be sure to use Disk Utility first to repair the disk before performing the Archive and Install.

    Repairing the Hard Drive and Permissions

    Boot from your OS X Installer disc. After the installer loads select your language and click on the Continue button. When the menu bar appears select Disk Utility from the Installer menu (Utilities menu for Tiger.) After DU loads select your hard drive entry (mfgr.'s ID and drive size) from the the left side list. In the DU status area you will see an entry for the S.M.A.R.T. status of the hard drive. If it does not say "Verified" then the hard drive is failing or failed. (SMART status is not reported on external Firewire or USB drives.) If the drive is "Verified" then select your OS X volume from the list on the left (sub-entry below the drive entry,) click on the First Aid tab, then click on the Repair Disk button. If DU reports any errors that have been fixed, then re-run Repair Disk until no errors are reported. If no errors are reported, then quit DU and return to the installer.

    If DU reports errors it cannot fix, then you will need Disk Warrior (4.0 for Tiger) and/or TechTool Pro (4.5.2 for Tiger) to repair the drive. If you don't have either of them or if neither of them can fix the drive, then you will need to reformat the drive and reinstall OS X.

    2. Do not proceed with an Archive and Install if DU reports errors it cannot fix. In that case use Disk Warrior and/or TechTool Pro to repair the hard drive. If neither can repair the drive, then you will have to erase the drive and reinstall from scratch.

    3. Boot from your OS X Installer disc. After the installer loads select your language and click on the Continue button. When you reach the screen to select a destination drive click once on the destination drive then click on the Option button. Select the Archive and Install option. You have an option to preserve users and network preferences. Only select this option if you are sure you have no corrupted files in your user accounts. Otherwise leave this option unchecked. Click on the OK button and continue with the OS X Installation.

    4. Upon completion of the Archive and Install you will have a Previous System Folder in the root directory. You should retain the PSF until you are sure you do not need to manually transfer any items from the PSF to your newly installed system.

    5. After moving any items you want to keep from the PSF you should delete it. You can back it up if you prefer, but you must delete it from the hard drive.

    6. You can now download a Combo Updater directly from Apple's download site to update your new system to the desired version as well as install any security or other updates. You can also do this using Software Update.

    If you cannot repair the drive do not try the Archive and Install and turn the computer off so you do not continue writing new data to the drive. You will need to get access to another Mac in order to connect the two and use Target Disk Mode to try and access the drive and recover your personal data. The following outlines what you may need to do in this case. Although it speaks of recovering deleted files it also is relevant to recovering data from damaged hard drives.

    Basics of File Recovery

    If you simply put files in the Trash you can restore them by opening the Trash (left-click on the Trash icon) and drag the files from the Trash to your Desktop or other desired location. OS X also provides a short-cut to undo the last item moved to the Trash -press COMMAND-Z.

    If you empty the Trash the files are gone. Recovery is possible but you must not allow any additional writes to the hard drive - shut it down. When you delete files you erase only the directory entries, not the files themselves. However, the space occupied by the files has been returned to the system as available for storage. Writing to the drive will then eventually overwrite the space once occupied by the deleted files in which case the files are lost permanently. Also if you save a file over an existing file of the same name, then the old file is overwritten and cannot be recovered.

    If you stop using the drive it's possible to recover deleted files that have not been overwritten with recovery software such as Data Rescue II, File Salvage or TechTool Pro. Each of the preceding come on bootable CDs to enable usage without risk of writing more data to the hard drive.

    The longer the hard drive remains in use and data are written to it, the greater the risk your deleted files will be overwritten.

    Also visit The XLab FAQs and read the FAQ on Data Recovery.
  • Caleb M. Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Using the install disc, as you instructed, the disk utility only recognizes the install disc 1, nothing else. There is no hard drive to repair. It's acting like the computer doesn't have a hard drive. I used the install disc to reinstall the OS. When I get to the select destination window there is no destination to choose. How can I repair a disk that I can't even select? When I used the system profiler on the install disc, it also didn't list the hard drive. I believe that these suggestions require that I can select the destination volume...but I can't.

    Any other thoughts?

    Thanks.
  • y_p_w Level 4 Level 4 (3,550 points)
    Caleb M. wrote:
    Using the install disc, as you instructed, the disk utility only recognizes the install disc 1, nothing else. There is no hard drive to repair. It's acting like the computer doesn't have a hard drive. I used the install disc to reinstall the OS. When I get to the select destination window there is no destination to choose. How can I repair a disk that I can't even select? When I used the system profiler on the install disc, it also didn't list the hard drive. I believe that these suggestions require that I can select the destination volume...but I can't.


    Occasionally the connector gets disconnected. Pulling the drive out and placing it back in might reconnect it. Do you hear the sound of the drive spinning up? I would suggest simply pulling it out and securely reseating it. It might not help, but it's simple and shouldn't make it worse.

    If you need some sort of serious data recovery efforts, that might cost more than a new MacBook, and there's no guarantee that they'll even get data from the drive. Good luck.
  • Caleb M. Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Using the install disc, as you instructed, the disk utility only recognizes the install disc 1, nothing else. There is no hard drive to repair. It's acting like the computer doesn't have a hard drive. I used the install disc to reinstall the OS. When I get to the select destination window there is no destination to choose. How can I repair a disk that I can't even select? When I used the system profiler on the install disc, it also didn't list the hard drive. I believe that these suggestions require that I can select the destination volume...but I can't.

    I tried using tech tool pro, but couldn't. When I restart with the disc inserted and holding down the C key, it only displays a folder with a question mark icon

    Any other thoughts?

    Thanks.
  • ashton08 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I have this same issue going on but brought it to Apple and was told I needed a new hard drive. I purchased a new one (after getting the WRONG one - and trying to insert). Have since purchased the right one and I am still not seeing the hard drive. I don't know what to do! Please let me know if anything has worked for you. I am at a loss.
  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (247,190 points)
    Boot from the installer disc that came with the computer (gray label.) After the chime press and hold down the "D" key until the hardware test screen appears. Run the extended test. If you get any errors reported that will mean a hardware problem in which case take the computer to an authorized service center.
  • Caleb M. Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks for the suggestion, but I've already tried that and no errors are found. I don't get it. I'd like to try to reseat the hard drive, but I haven't found any screwdriver that will work yet.
  • M. Mitten Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I've got a similar problem. I was going to put the original 60GB disc back in my MacBook, but it can't seem to find it. The disc works perfectly when I put it in a USB case and boot from there, and when I put my other disc (a 160GB Toshiba) in the 'book it works without any problems whatsoever. But the original disc - nothing. It's as it wasn't there. Neither partition nor disc. I THINK i can hear it spin when i start the computer, but since my fan is misbehaving lately it's a bit hard to hear accurately.

    Even tried to reinstall OSX on the 60GB disc (when it's in the USB case) and then putting it back into the computer. No luck.
  • Caleb M. Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    what usb case did you use? I'm going to try that.
  • Caleb M. Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I tried reseating it and it didn't work. I'm going to the apple guys tomorrow.
  • Caleb M. Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I went to the apple tech guys today. He said that the internal mechanism was bad-making clicking sounds. He hooked it up to his external enclosure drive and it still wouldn't show up on his computer. The estimate for data recovery was $500-2700 from some company in CA. I'm just going to replace the drive and start over... I suppose I should start backing up my files regularly!

    Thanks for you help.