Previous 1 2 Next 24 Replies Latest reply: Jul 6, 2007 9:17 AM by EZ Jim
ak1956 Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
When I start up my Mac I get a flashing folder with a question mark in it.

I used the install disk and disc utility to verify and repair the disc and permissions on the Mac HD. I can see the disc and the files.

However when ever I try to restart the Mac starts form the CD and will not change to start from the MacHD.

I removed the CD (I had to use Mouse key and Power up to get the CD out as it would not eject using the keyboard button). I rebooted and got the flashing folder.

I tried starting holding the option key (to get the startup manager) and this does not work.

I tried to reset the PRAM and this seemd to work (ie I got the two startups indicating it had done what it was supposed to) but this did not fix the problem as I still cannot change the Startup disc to the MacHD.

Thats about as far as I coule take it. Any suggestions welcome.

Many thanks

MacBookPro, Mac OS X (10.4.9)
  • roam Level 6 Level 6 (13,560 points)
    Hi akell

    You need to remind your OS of the start up disk, by going to the System Preferences, click Start up Disk and reselect your boot HD.

    regards roam
  • ak1956 Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Unfortunately I cannot get to system preferences to change anything. As soon as I power up I get this folder icon with a flashing question mark.
  • ~Bee Level 7 Level 7 (31,125 points)
    akell --
    Here's a wonderful thread on the exact same problem.
    Very good info in here:

    http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=4452126&#4452126
  • ak1956 Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Bee
    This was very helpful but worrying as I do not want to wipe my disc as I have some files on there I would like to recover.

    My symptoms are slightly different as I can load DU and there are no errors on the Disc or with permissions. I did reinstall the OS and this seemed to work fine - but did not resolve the problem.

    I have run the hardware diagnostics and again everything is fine.

    In DU if I go into Select Disc image I can apparently "see" folders and files on the MacHD. My Users folder is there with a System folder, Previous systems, Library and applications. The files are greyed out but you can see all the filenames. I hope this means they are still there and I can get to them somehow.

    I am a bit stuck now as I have no more steps to try. I was thinking of trying another re-install of the OS but I am concerned I might loose my files if I do this for a second time.

    I am puzzled by this as everything seems to be OK except it will not boot from the MacHD despite the drive being accessable.

    Is there a way to get the files off before I try any further remedial actions?

    Many thanks
  • macjack Level 9 Level 9 (50,625 points)
    I tried starting holding the option key (to get the startup manager) and this does not work.
    Are you sure you waited long enough? It takes quite a while for Startup Manager screen to come up and then scan for all the startup volumes.

    Also, have you tried try starting in "Safe Mode"? Then use System Preferences >> Startup Disk to re-choose your startup volume.



    -mj
    macjack@gmail.com
  • EZ Jim Level 7 Level 7 (21,680 points)
    Hello, akell

    Bee asked if we could give you some other ideas that might help.

    Based on the good things you have already tried, I expect you have seen this KBase document and tried to apply its relevant suggestions:

    http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=58042

    We should be able to offer other suggestions. However, to try to minimize unnecessary possibilities, I have a couple of questions for you first.

    (0) You mention that you are concerned about losing some files you have on your disk.

    Do you have access to any other OS X Mac so you make backups as soon as possible?

    Can you use a friend's or family member's?

    Are the files so valuable that you should take your MacBook Pro to your Apple retailer or Service Technician and pay him to backup your important data?

    (1) I do not understand you statement that "reinstall the OS ... seemed to work fine - but did not resolve the problem."

    If the OS reinstall you performed did not resolve the problem, how did you determine that it worked?


    (2) I do not understand what "go into Select Disc image" means in DU. Do you mean that you are using DU to look at a disk image (.dmg file) of your hard drive?

    Whether or not you are looking at a .dmg file, which DU top-level menu item or Selection Tab (First Aid, Erase, RAID, Restore) contains the "go into Select Disc image" command to which you refer?


    (3) I do not understand what you mean by "I can apparently "see" folders and files on the MacHD."

    Do you mean that when you click on the disk's volume name in the left column of the DU window, you can see a count for files and folders at the bottom?

    Do you perhaps mean that you are clicking on the DU "info" button at the top and can then see file and folder count in the "Information: MacHD" window that opens?


    (4) Did you by chance rename your User (Home) folder or rename or move any of the System files or folders on your Hard Disk?


    Please post back the answers to my questions above. We will try to provide more specific suggestions based on your responses.

    Jim

    P.S. Be sure to try macjack's good suggestions and let us know how that goes, too.

      Mac OS X (10.4.9)    G5 DP 1.8  PowerBook 1.67 GHz
  • ak1956 Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Hi Jim.
    Thanks for picking up the post.
    Here are answers to your questions.
    Look forward to any suggestions you have.
    Andrew

    (0) You mention that you are concerned about losing
    some files you have on your disk.

    I have a backup with a lot of archived files (pics, tunes, older documents). But I could do with getting the very recent stuff back as well. I am self employed and had a busy week last week creating stuff so I want to try to get the files back if at all possible.

    Do you have access to any other OS X Mac so you make
    backups as soon as possible?

    No - not readily to hand

    Can you use a friend's or family member's?

    No

    Are the files so valuable that you should take your
    MacBook Pro to your Apple retailer or Service
    Technician and pay him to backup your important
    data?

    I could do that if required. I have made an appointment at the store in London tomorrow May 15. Trying all strategies I can think of.

    (1) I do not understand you statement that "reinstall
    the OS ... seemed to work fine - but did not resolve
    the problem."
    If the OS reinstall you performed did not resolve the
    problem, how did you determine that it worked?

    Actually I do not know if it worked other than it went through all the things that looked like it was installing (verified disc, loaded files etc.) Took about an hour, maybe less. It did not ask for the second disc which surprised me a little. I can see a Previous Systems Folder on the Mac HD using the method I mentioned (see below)

    I have today looked in the installer log file. I do not understand it but there is an error repeated about 10 times - JS: checkSupportedBootRom threw exception TypeError - Undefined Value. Do not know if this is relevant or helpful.


    (2) I do not understand what "go into Select Disc
    image" means in DU. Do you mean that you are using DU
    to look at a disk image (.dmg file) of your hard
    drive?

    In Disc Utility I got to File Open Disc Image and I get a window that looks like the Finder. In it I see my Install CD and the Mac HD. On the MAc HD there are folders including the Users folder and I can drill down all the folders and see the filenames. The filenames are "greyed out" however - but they are all there.


    Whether or not you are looking at a .dmg file, which
    DU top-level menu item or Selection Tab (First Aid,
    Erase, RAID, Restore) contains the "go into Select
    Disc image" command to which you refer?

    I looking at File, Open Disc Image

    (3) I do not understand what you mean by "I can
    apparently "see" folders and files on the MacHD."

    I can see the file names but they are greyed out. I can open the folders and drill down the folder hierachy.

    Do you mean that when you click on the disk's volume
    name in the left column of the DU window, you can see
    a count for files and folders at the bottom?

    I can do that as well. 801991 files and 184650 folders.

    Do you perhaps mean that you are clicking on the DU
    "info" button at the top and can then see file and
    folder count in the "Information: MacHD" window that
    opens?

    I can do that as well.

    (4) Did you by chance rename your User (Home) folder
    or rename or move any of the System files or folders
    on your Hard Disk?

    Not that I am aware of.
  • ak1956 Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Hi macjack.
    Thanks for picking up the post.

    When I try these do I need the install disc in or out? When the disc is in it always seems to boot from the CD.

    When I tried Startup manager I get a mouse pointer on the screen and then nothing - having waited some time. When I put in the install CD however this came up on the screen as a startup volume and when I selected it it booted from the CD

    I can not start in safe mode. (With install disc out of the drive or in)

    Thanks
  • macjack Level 9 Level 9 (50,625 points)
    Hi akell, both operations should be done WITHOUT the install disk in. The fact that you cannot startup in either Safe Mode or Startup Manager isn't a good sign. Try whatever else you can to save off your documents. Might want try this list of all startup commands and see if one works.

    EDIT: Command-n and command-t won't do you any good without another computer.


    -mj
    macjack@gmail.com

    Message was edited by: macjack
  • EZ Jim Level 7 Level 7 (21,680 points)
    You're welcome, akell

    Thanks for posting back the info. You explanations were helpful.

    Your response to macjack that your Startup Manager sees your DVD drive but not your hard disk suggests that files required for startup on your Mac's hard disk are either missing or so damaged that they are unusable. The usual way to correct this problem is to reinstall OS X. However, your installer log errors from your previous reinstall document the failure of that reinstall.

    (5) Did you use the disks that came with your Mac to try to reinstall, or did you by chance try to use some other OS X install disk? Unless you are an OS X expert, you should use only the disks that came with your Mac.


    Before trying reinstall again, you might find the suggestions in Reinstalling Mac OS X and Mac OS X 10.4 Help Reinstalling Mac OS X of interest.

    You really should backup any files you cannot afford to risk before you attempt another reinstall. The simplest way to do that for any Mac that cannot boot is to find a working 10.4.9 Mac and connect your Mac to it via the FireWire Target Disk Mode. (Your Mac will be the "first computer" in these instructions.) The "second" Mac can then copy and burn your important files directly to CD or DVD.

    If you cannot find another Mac to use as the "second computer," your plan to ask your Apple Service Tech to backup your files before doing anything else is a wise one.

    Before you see your Apple Service Technician, here is one other thing that you might try, especially if you have changed or removed your battery when your MacBook Pro is sleeping.

    I know that this KBase article does not list the MacBook Pro as one of the susceptible computers, but it might be worth trying setting your NVRAM anyway. NVRAM on your MacBook Pro is reset whenever you Reset MacBook Pro's System Management Controller (SMC).

    Thanks for answering all my other questions. In order to stay on point about your original question, I will not address your individual answers unless you ask specific questions.

    Please let us know if you need other suggestions or what you did to get sorted.

    Cheers,
    Jim
  • ak1956 Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Jim

    Thanks for the suggestions. I will work through these.

    In answer to your question (5) whether I used the discs that came with the mac - I did.

    My plan, as you suggest, is to try to get my data off before trying a reinstall. I will see what the Apple technician says tomorrow first. I think the idea of using target disc mode looks promising - if I can locate another Mac machine.

    I will post again when I have some news.

    akell
  • EZ Jim Level 7 Level 7 (21,680 points)
    You're welcome, akell

    Good plan.

    We will watch for your status update.

    Jim

      Mac OS X (10.4.9)    G5 DP 1.8  PowerBook 1.67 GHz
  • ak1956 Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Good news and bad news.

    Good news.
    Went to Apple store. Great technician. Booted my machine from external drive and could see all my files.
    Splashed out and bought external Firewire drive and moved all my user files to the external drive. Data saved!!!
    Also have new and faster backup device for when I get this fixed.

    Bad news.
    Tried Erase and Install and -- midway through the install the machine rebooted itself from the install DVD and took me back to the installation utility. Same issues persist - unable to start from the MacHD.
    Looked at disc and all my files had gone (so it loooks like the erase was successful)
    I did not get asked for the second disc which I was expecting. I have saved install log incase it is needed.
  • ak1956 Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Update on last post

    I tried to Erase and istall again, The reboot was normal at the end of the installation process - so it did not reboot midway through the install. However outcome the same with same symptoms as previous.

    Sorry for the mis-information.
Previous 1 2 Next