6 Replies Latest reply: Apr 11, 2014 1:18 PM by OGELTHORPE
TCUHornedFrog21 Level 1 (0 points)

My Mac is alternating between displaying a flashing file with a question mark and the prohibitory symbol. I tried holding down the option key after restarting but nothing is working. I updated my OSX Lion last night, but I don't know what update  it was. I need this computer working in the next 3 hours. Please help!

MacBook Pro (15-inch 2.53 GHz), I updated my OSX Lion last night
  • Melophage Level 5 (7,130 points)



    are you able to boot into Recovery mode by holding down a Command key and the R key while your MacBook Pro starts up?

  • TCUHornedFrog21 Level 1 (0 points)

    I have tried holding down the command and R, with no result. Now, all I am getting is the flashing folder and question mark sign. I also tried to reset my PRAM, because a help forum recommended it, but that hasn't helped either.

  • OGELTHORPE Level 8 (45,132 points)

    The symptoms you describe suggest that the HDD has problems or the connection to the HDD is faulty.  Try what Melophage suggests and if successful, go to Disk Utility>First Aid and run Verify and Restore.  If it does not boot with COMMAND-R, Try OPTION-COMMAND-R.


    If no success, then a trip to the Apple store will be required for a quick resolution.



  • TCUHornedFrog21 Level 1 (0 points)

    I can't get passed the flashing file sign so I'm not sure I can get to disk utility.

  • nbar Level 5 (6,980 points)

    Are you able to boot into Single User Mode?

    Mac OS X: How to start up in single-user or verbose mode


    If so, perform a disk check via the command line:


    1. Start up your computer in single-user mode to reach the command line.
      Note: If necessary, perform a forced restart as described in the Emergency Troubleshooting Handbook that came with your computer. On desktop computers, you can do this by pressing the reset/interrupt button (if there is one) or holding down the power button for several seconds. On portable computers, simultaneously press the Command-Control-power keys. If your portable computer doesn't restart with this method, you may need to reset the Power Manager.
    2. At the command-line prompt type:

      /sbin/fsck -fy

    3. Press Return. fsck will go through five "phases" and then return information about your disk's use and fragmentation. Once it finishes, it'll display this message if no issue is found:
      ** The volume (name_of_volume) appears to be OK
      If fsck found issues and has altered, repaired, or fixed anything, it will display this message:
      ***** FILE SYSTEM WAS MODIFIED *****
      Important: If this message appears, repeat the fsck command you typed in step 2 until fsck tells you that your volume appears to be OK (first-pass repairs may uncover additional issues, so this is a normal thing to do).
    4. When fsck reports that your volume is OK, type reboot at the prompt and then press Return.


  • OGELTHORPE Level 8 (45,132 points)

    If you have a 2.5" SATA enclosure, you can take out the internal HDD, install it in the enclosure and connect it to the MBP via USB. 


    Boot the MBP OPTION key down.  If the now external HDD icon appears and click on it and see if the MBP boots.  That will mean that the internal connection is faulty.  Usually a cable replacement is required. 


    If the HDD is not recognized, then the HDD has failed.


    Again, the Apple store genius bar is the place for a quick resolution.