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Question: Updating to High Sierra interrupted to a "flashing folder w/ question mark"

Hi everyone, I got a problem when updating my operating system from Sierra to High Sierra.


I have a mid-2014 version MBP retina (A1502) running the last version of macOS Sierra, but last night I run into a weird problem when updating it to macOS High Sierra. I let it download the files and restart to do the installation for hours. When I came back, I found a folder with a question mark blinking on the screen. Something was wrong, it went too high.

User uploaded file

Following was what did:


1. I forced shut down and restarted it.

2. Hold the "option" key when booting (because holding command+c give me the same ? folder flashing), and the system let me choose a wifi network to "internet recovery", see the following beautiful picture:

User uploaded file


3. After that I was able to see:

User uploaded file

4. "Reinstall OS X" doesn't work, because it failed to find a disk. I tried to repair my disk. Click the  on the top left. There was an option called "Startup Disk". But I cannot found the start-up disk in the window:User uploaded file

What is wrong with my mac, the hard disk is physically permanently but strangely damaged? Is there any possible solution to try to save it?


Thanks, everyone.

MacBook Pro with Retina display, macOS Sierra (10.12.6), mid-2014 MBP

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The question mark folder means your Mac cannot find a valid system to startup from. It sounds like your hard disk is failing/failed. If you have another disk with a system on it try starting from that. You'll probably need to replace the hard disk. Hopefully you have a good backup. If not, after installing the new drive, put the hard disk in an enclosure and you may be able to recover your data that way.

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Nov 16, 2017 6:00 AM in response to yangxin In response to yangxin

If the disk has failed this won't work, but you can try using Target Disk Mode from your other Mac. If it sees the disk you can then run Disk Utility > First Aid from your other MacBook on the affected drive. If that works then you can try an erase and install on the affected disk.

Use target disk mode to share files between two Mac computers - Apple Support

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Nov 15, 2017 6:41 AM in response to yangxin In response to yangxin

The question mark folder means your Mac cannot find a valid system to startup from. It sounds like your hard disk is failing/failed. If you have another disk with a system on it try starting from that. You'll probably need to replace the hard disk. Hopefully you have a good backup. If not, after installing the new drive, put the hard disk in an enclosure and you may be able to recover your data that way.

Nov 15, 2017 6:41 AM

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Nov 15, 2017 7:11 AM in response to macjack In response to macjack

Thanks for your reply. The backup has no problem. Albeit I didn't use Timecapsule, yet I have all files in iCloud already. No data loss I believe, even this machine dies.


You are right, seems the disk is failed. But I still don't believe that the hard disk is physically damaged, because I did nothing to it... Just click update to High Sierra can make any damage?


Is there any possible way, in this particular circumstance, to reinstall the operating system on this disk? Like a method to format the disk and totally reinstall?


I do have "another disk with a system in it" -- another MacBook, which I m currently using, can I do something with it?

Nov 15, 2017 7:11 AM

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Nov 16, 2017 6:00 AM in response to yangxin In response to yangxin

If the disk has failed this won't work, but you can try using Target Disk Mode from your other Mac. If it sees the disk you can then run Disk Utility > First Aid from your other MacBook on the affected drive. If that works then you can try an erase and install on the affected disk.

Use target disk mode to share files between two Mac computers - Apple Support

Nov 16, 2017 6:00 AM

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Nov 15, 2017 7:58 AM in response to macjack In response to macjack

Thank you @macjack, that sounds useful. Let me explore it first. I will keep update here.


BTW, connecting two identical MacBook Pro 2014 version (see pic below, not the new version with touch bar), what kind of connecting wire should I use? A thunderbolt bridge will do? Thank you again.


User uploaded file

Nov 15, 2017 7:58 AM

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Question: Updating to High Sierra interrupted to a "flashing folder w/ question mark"