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Apple Notebooks Apple's notebook computers including MacBook Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, PowerBook, and iBook.

Emergency! Blinking Question Mark Folder at strartup


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rsherid

 
Member Since: Sep 06, 2008
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Last night I fell asleep with Hulu playing on my MacBook. It was unplugged so the battery died while I was asleep. This morning I go to plug it back in to charge and I hear a clicking noise. After about five clicks, I get a grey screen and a blinking folder with a question mark on it.

I am terrified my hard drive has suddenly crashed. If so, is there anything I can do to recover some GarageBand files?
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rsherid

 
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After some quick research, apparently it means it can't find my OS. Excuse me? This thing was running perfectly 12 hours ago.
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Collin Bl

 
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Try powering on and holding shift key then go into Sys Prefs and reselect HD as start HD. That is my first guess - others may have a better way to sort it. Perhaps holding Option key after powering on will give your HD as a choice for start HD. All depends what Hulu did behind the scenes.
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rsherid

 
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In terms of recovering data, I have an external drive big enough to back up all the info on the "damaged" drive. If I take it to an Apple-authorized repair place like Micro Center, would they be able to back up at least some of the data on the new drive?
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Collin Bl

 
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Well you are obviously posting this on another computer - if it is a Mac then connect it to your MacBook with firewire cable power on and hold T key and u should see the HD icon of macbook on the desktop. That will show if the HD is still OK
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rsherid

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Collin Bl View Post
Try powering on and holding shift key then go into Sys Prefs and reselect HD as start HD. That is my first guess - others may have a better way to sort it. Perhaps holding Option key after powering on will give your HD as a choice for start HD. All depends what Hulu did behind the scenes.
The shift key didn't do anything, but the Option key at least showed the cursor and got the blinking folder to go away. However, it remained on a blank grey screen.
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rsherid

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Collin Bl View Post
Well you are obviously posting this on another computer - if it is a Mac then connect it to your MacBook with firewire cable power on and hold T key and u should see the HD icon of macbook on the desktop. That will show if the HD is still OK
Yeah, unfortunately, I'm posting from a PC
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rsherid

 
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My biggest concern is recovering the data, in particular some GarageBand files. Is there any way the drive might be salvagable?
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Collin Bl

 
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Try just starting the Macbook in Target mode if that works then with a mates mac you should be able to transfer all the files to another Ext HD
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rsherid

 
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How do I get in target mode? Also, are drives typically salvaged in this situation?
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Have you tried booting from a Mac OS install CD/DVD?

- Nick

- Computer slow, too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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rsherid

 
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Have you tried booting from a Mac OS install CD/DVD?

- Nick
No, I seem to have lost it. And even if I did, wouldn't I risk erasing whatever's still on my hard drive?

How can I get into target mode?
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Prolanman

 
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Do you have any other devices connected to it via the USB ports such as an external Hard drive? If so try disconnecting it and try booting it if you haven't already done so.
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kb2ehj

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rsherid View Post
No, I seem to have lost it. And even if I did, wouldn't I risk erasing whatever's still on my hard drive?

How can I get into target mode?
You won't erase anything unless you tell it to.
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kb2ehj

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rsherid View Post
Last night I fell asleep with Hulu playing on my MacBook. It was unplugged so the battery died while I was asleep.

After about five clicks, I get a grey screen and a blinking folder with a question mark on it.

I am terrified my hard drive has suddenly crashed. If so, is there anything I can do to recover some GarageBand files?

I suspect what happened is you have corrupted your directory structure. I've seen this happen many times. (same symptoms as you describe)

You can use target disk mode to see if you can do a straight copy of your data to another MAC. Google target disk mode for more information.

As also suggested try booting from the orginal disks, if can find them (I know you said you lost them) and run disk utility to see if it can correct the problem, you should also be able to run DU from another computer if you can get it connected to another MAC via TDM.

If DU reports errors and it can not fix them, you might need a 3rd party application to correct the problems. DW runs about `$100(US).

I assisted a gentleman from California with the same problem, using the above steps we were able to retrieve most of his data.

Mark
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