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question mark folder when i startup?

204058 Views 66 Replies Latest reply: Mar 13, 2014 6:46 PM by adrian.dsouza3 RSS
  • BispensGipsGebis Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 30, 2013 4:55 PM (in response to worth1090)

    Hi guys,


    I have the same issue with the flashing question mark:

    * I added RAM and changed the Disk to an SSD.

    * Validated the boot which was fine

    * Upgrade to Maverick

    * First time I saw the question mark was when the install wanted to start

    * Restarted the computer and the install start

    * Saw it second time when the install restarted and wanted to finish

    * Restarted the computer and the install finished

    * Have done multiple restarts now, the question mark keep popping up, I keep doing a hard restart (killing the computer using the power button), and when I restart it works like a charm.


    I have tried all the mentioned tricks (pointing to startup disk, resetting NVRAM). No luck - the funny thing is that second time it finds the disk everytime and starts booting.


    Appreciate any input.




  • Cattus Thraex Level 4 Level 4 (1,715 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 31, 2013 12:11 AM (in response to BispensGipsGebis)

    You describe a quite eerie behavior. If ? = no boot disk, and then it finally finds it, I would have assumed that you did not selected the startup disk, which may lead to a long boot (and ? as well?), but you say you did that, i.e. startup disk is correctly selected in the Sys Prefs.

    Now, it is not clear to me, after your long list of problems, whether your mac works or not.

  • adrian.dsouza3 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 6, 2013 3:31 AM (in response to macjan1980)

    I have a 2009 Macbook (A1181) that has had the question mark folder startup issue for a few weeks. I've already replaced my hard drive with ( I thought it would be easy to reinstall OS Lion with Apple's internet recovery option, but the new hard drive is not being recognized!!! 


    @macjan1980, I may need a new HDD cable (e.g. 6-2007-2008-2009-/330972395072?pt=US_Drive_Cables_dapters&hash=item4d0f7df640) for my Macbook to recognize the hard drive. However, I am not optomistic that this will fix my problem. Please check out my my post on October 26, 2013 and let me know if you encountered anything similar before your question mark folder startup issue began.


    The last thing my old hard drive displayed was Activity Monitor showing Terminal, Finder, and Chrome "Not Responding" and when I tried to force close Chrome, the wheel never stopped spinning. I assumed that my hard drive was toast, but is this evidence to support that the HDD cable was failing?


    Best Wishes,


  • macuser371 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 12, 2013 12:19 PM (in response to adrian.dsouza3)

    The white screen with the question mark folder has appeared even after I tried everything posted in this blog.  Is there any way the info on my drive can salvaged?

  • pbor219 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 10, 2014 12:18 PM (in response to cayleguthrie100)

    I had the same issue. I just changed the hard drive data cable and it works perfectly now. You can by the data cable somewhere online. Just ensure you have the correct model number of your computer when ordering it.

  • SDK919 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 13, 2014 6:36 PM (in response to BispensGipsGebis)

    Actually there are many reasons but if we see the folder question mark, it means that hard disk and system are not on one page, i-e they are unable to have an established connection. It might be due to the most probable reason which is the cord between harddisk and the laptop.

    Change the cable and you are good to go. Don't need to spend money anywhere else.


  • adrian.dsouza3 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 13, 2014 6:46 PM (in response to SDK919)

    After I replaced the cable, I had no more issues. It was a relatively easy and inexpensive to replace.


    Seems like my Macbook Pro from 2009 (MC240LL/A) is more susceptible to this issue than similar models.

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