Previous 1 2 3 4 Next 76 Replies Latest reply: Jan 23, 2016 8:04 AM by Chrislaptop Go to original post
  • cayleguthrie100 Level 1 Level 1

    I have a macbook pro that is pretty much doing the same thing. It comes up with the question mark in the folder and sometimes it comes up with an apple with a loading thing below it. I tried the things you suggested and they didn't work. Got any ideas?

  • mberardinelli Level 1 Level 1

    Interesting! Sounds like maybe your Startup Disk got changed somehow, and the Option Boot allowed you to reselect it (otherwise this setting can be found in System Preferences > Startup Disk).

  • mberardinelli Level 1 Level 1

    If you get the gray Apple logo with the spinning gear under it, that means it has found the bootable OS and it is searching the directory to load the kernel and other such things. If you get this, just let it sit. If the drive is acting funny, this stage will perform an automatic directory check which will try 3 times before giving up. Each try can take up to a couple of hours depending on the size of the drive and the amount of data, so if you get the spinning gear, let it do it's thing for a while and see if that helps.


    The other thing you can try, if you have another computer, is to hold down the T key at startup for the affected machine to boot it into Target Disk mode. Then you can connect it via Firewire to a working machine and see if the hard drive mounts. At that point you can use Disk Utility to repair it.

  • mberardinelli Level 1 Level 1

    A couple other things I forgot to mention (and I wasn't able to edit my post for some reason...):


    At startup, you can try these two things:


    1. Hold Command + S to boot into Single User Mode. This will bring up a terminal prompt. There, type the following command:


    fsck -f


    It will probably ask you if you want to continue, at which point you can type "Y" and hit enter. This will perform a disk check (similar to what Disk Utility does) and attempt to repair any file system damages.


    2. Hold Command + V to boot into Verbose Mode. This will display everything the Mac is doing during startup, so if it is freezing/stopping at a certain point, it will tell you the last thing it was doing before it gets stuck.

  • Son of Fundin Level 1 Level 1

    I was having the same problem and tried the Safe Boot.......didn't work.  Then I tried to "reset the PRAM".....didn't work. I tried the option+reboot and got a gray screen with what looks like a reload symbol on the left and a arrow pointing to the right on the right side of the what?


    I should mention that I have a refurbished iBook and no original software

  • Cattus Thraex Level 4 Level 4

    If iBook, this is not the right place to ask but, anyway, the behavior indictes the same thing: ? = lack of system, which means either a corrupt system or, in most cases, bad disk (or, in the happy instance, bad connectivity of the disk).

  • mberardinelli Level 1 Level 1

    That indicates that you are in Open Firmware and if your hard drive was functioning normally, it would show up in the center of the screen (Macintosh HD or whatever you called it) and from there you could select it and click the arrow to boot to it. Since you are not seeing this, most likely either your hard drive has failed or your OS installation has become corrupted.

  • jdelgado13 Level 1 Level 1

    I am getting the question mark folder when i turn on my mac, none of the solutions have done anything to my mac.  I successfully restarted the pram but nothing happened.  When I turned it on while pressing option my cursor came up, but nothing else happened.

  • Cattus Thraex Level 4 Level 4

    ? during startup means there is no system available. In most cases, this means a dead disk or, in the happy instance, a disk with bad contacts (rare). Also rarely, it may mean a corrupt system, e.g. with deleted essential files. REsetting PRAM does not solve anything, of course.

    There are several options to test this, from booting from an install DVD or flash drive or running in target mode (a second mac is needed, having firewire port). Which is most conveniant to you?

  • jdelgado13 Level 1 Level 1

    It uses snow leapord, but I only have the leapord install disks.  Could the mac osx install dvd or the application install dvd be used to help fix this.  If not could I save the information I need on a flash drive and use that?  I do have a second mac at my disposal, but no firewire port.

  • Cattus Thraex Level 4 Level 4

    I do not know whether you can fix this, but you can determine whether that disk is still usable.

    - insert the first install DVD, restart (or force restart if you cannot do that otherwise by pressing power button 6 seconds until mac shuts down, then press it normally to start)

    - immediately after chime, press option/alt key; wait 3-4 seconds, you should see the boot options, among these the DVD and the internal disk; if you see only the DVD as boot option, it means that your internal disk is dead (the bad scenario) or (the happy scenario) that its contacts are bad.

    If you see both options, go on booting from the DVD and, after selecting the operating language (will be displayed in 2-3 minutes), go up to Apple bar, select Disk Utility and verify disk. If it passes, then you have a chance to reinstall the system.

    If you do not see the internal disk as boot option, you must replace it or repair it. If you cannot do that alone, you must go to a technician who can do that for you.

  • jdelgado13 Level 1 Level 1

    I now have a firewire cable, how do I run target mode?

  • Cattus Thraex Level 4 Level 4


    Briefly: TDM means one of the two macs, i.e. the one started in TDM, becomes an external drive, and you may work with it as with an external drive: copy or install system. The mac started in TDM may be also used as an external optical drive, if the internal one of the other mac is damaged.

    If you start your ill mac in TDM, you may check its integrity from the other mac, for example.

  • jdelgado13 Level 1 Level 1

    I can get the messed up computer into target mode, but my good laptop won't show that it's connected.  I do have the firewire connected and it does work.  I can get my good computer into target mode on the other one if i hold down controll on the host(broken) laptop.  Is there any hope for salvaging the information on the broken laptop?

  • Cattus Thraex Level 4 Level 4

    The only way to avoid such headaches is to have a good backup.

    If you do not regularly backup your data, you may see the result.

    One solution is to take out the disk, put it in an external case, and try to recover what may be recovered, this depends on the disk. Disk Drill is a free app for recovering files, there are specialized shops for this, but for beautiful sums. A happy end would be to just have some bad contacts of the disk, in this case recovery will be of course easy if you place the disk in an enclosure.

    If this sounds too difficult to you, try to find someone who may help.

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