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Grey screen with flashing question mark folder during start up

6804 Views 9 Replies Latest reply: Jun 24, 2009 2:39 AM by geoffbrouwer RSS
geoffbrouwer Calculating status...
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Jun 8, 2009 6:40 AM

I know this has been raised by people in the past but the solutions dont work. When I start my white macbook with Leopard it goes to a grey screen for a while and then a flashing question mark folder starts blinking and will not start my mac.

I found this on the APPLE site:

However, I was not able to perform the SAFE BOOT by holding shift or the ShiftcommandV safeboot. I hold the shift key and start the mac but it wont work. I have also tried holding shift after the start up. But again nothing.

Next I tried resetting PRAM and NVRAM by holding Command, Option, P, and R. Again it wont restart.

Please help me, i have no idea what happened to my mac.

How do you perform a safeboot? What should resetting PRAM even do?
macbook leaopard late 2007, Mac OS X (10.5.7)
  • a brody Level 9 Level 9 (62,025 points)
    Welcome to Apple Discussions!

    You don't press shift when trying to boot in verbose mode.
    Is your data backed up?
    An Apple user since 1981, Mac OS X (10.5.7)
  • a brody Level 9 Level 9 (62,025 points)
    Command-V on bootup does "verbose mode." It gives you a line by line troubleshooting screen that tells you all the steps the machine is taking to make the bootup take place. So when you said, command-shift-V I thought you were trying to do verbose mode and simply did not know the command sequence to do that.

    The disc at the Apple Store will only work for the hardware test, if it is the one that came with that vintage machine when it was first released. The retail operating system disc will not do the hardware test. However, if it is an authorized service center too, they may have other hardware tests that they can perform in shop.
    An Apple user since 1981, Mac OS X (10.5.7)
  • R C-R Level 6 Level 6 (13,825 points)
    geoffbrouwer wrote:
    Why am I not able to simply do the safeboot with shift.

    A safe boot still requires a viable OS to be installed & accessible to the Mac; it is 'safe' because it disables some nonessential parts of the existing installed OS that may be damaged or causing conflicts that prevent a normal start up. However, if some essential part of the OS is damaged, missing, or inaccessible then a safe boot won't work.

    Note that the Apple article describes a series of steps to try. If one (like the safe boot) does not help, you are told to try the next one, working your way down the list until the problem is resolved. Since some of the steps require restarting from an OX X install disc, you must have available the appropriate disc to work your way very far down the list.

    The Disk Utility repair step can be performed with any Apple installer disc capable of booting your Mac into Leopard, or from any other source that provides both a viable Leopard OS that will boot your Mac & the Disk Utility application. (This is because disk repairs cannot be made on-the-fly to the OS currently running the Mac.) Thus, even a friend's Leopard installer disc may allow you to run this step.

    The Archive and Install step requires an installer disc that will install a specific version of the OS, either the version your Mac shipped with or a later one. Model-specific (grey) discs generally will work only with the specific model they ship with; black retail discs will work with any Mac model that is supported by the OS version they install. Thus, a friend's retail disc may well work but his or her grey model-specific one won't unless you both have the same Mac model.
    iMac G5/2.0 GHz 17" ALS; White MacBook/2.4 GHz; iMac 2008 24"/3.06 GHz, Mac OS X (10.5.7), Kensington Trackball; Airport Extreme 802.11n; assorted iPods and older Macs
  • a brody Level 9 Level 9 (62,025 points)
    Late 2007 Macs shipped with 10.5, which typically depending on their age would necessitate a later version of the retail Leopard to Archive and Install Leopard, if you can't come by the original installer discs that came with your Mac, or similar discs for a similar vintage Mac and model.

    October 25th, 2007 Leopard was released. For Macs released after that date a minimum retail 10.5.1 disc is needed, as 10.5.0 won't work on it unless you have a bundled 10.5.0 system specific disk made for that Mac of that same vintage.

    November 15, 2007, 10.5.1 was released. For Macs released after that date a minimum retail 10.5.4 is needed, unless you have the system specific discs that came with that Mac to install Mac OS X.

    The retail discs look like * and do not say Upgrade, DropIn, or OEM on them.

    An Archive and Install is only recommended if you are installing from an installer disc that is at the same operating system version or newer than what is already on your Mac. If you have an older operating system version, these steps may be necessary to downgrade:

    - * Links to my pages may give me compensation.
    An Apple user since 1981, Mac OS X (10.5.7)
  • phfilms Calculating status...
    I've been having this exact problem (Flashing Folder ? on startup) since the install of 10.5.7. Found that starting holding 'Option' alone brought up the list of startup disks. I am able to select my disk every time, and proceed normally. I think this might be a problem with the OS, as other users are complaining after having installed the update.
    MacBook Pro 5,1, Mac OS X (10.5.7)
  • a brody Level 9 Level 9 (62,025 points)
    I ordered my Mac right after they released leopard so i have one of the newest 10.5s. So i need to put in the installer key and hold C right?

    That means you have to have either a 10.5.1 retail or 10.5.4, or 10.5.6 retail.
    The 10.5 retail won't work on your Mac. Option key should be able to see the CD if it is a newer retail disc. C key is not as reliable.
    PCs can't read Mac hard drives without a special software by MediaFour called MacDrive.

    Is your Western Digital hard drive a bootable backup, or just a backup of some user files? What software you use to backup to your Western Digital?
    An Apple user since 1981, Mac OS X (10.5.7)


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