Random Flashing Question Mark at Startup Mountain Lion

Suddenly out of the blue my screen at startup shows a flashing question mark on a folder. I cannot press D, cmd, alt or shift immediately after startup - It doesn't change anything....
Then occasionally after some time it boots up just fine as nothing has happened...
Is there anything that I can do? Does apple have any advise on this?
So sad !
Thanks for your help in advance! I know there are threads on this in this forum but
Maybe mountain lion os has change something?

If you want to try to restore Lion, here are the instructions:
Before you go try through the entire install process, when you see the menu bar, click on Utilities and select Disk Utility.  See if you can repair the disk.  If you can, your problem may have been solved.  If not your HDD has expired.
If this does not get you into Disk Utility, try your original installation disk.

Similar Messages

  • Random flashing question mark on startup

    Every once in a while when my mac mini cold boots, I get the flashing question mark. Turning the mac off, and booting it back up again usually fixes the problem. I ran verify disk permission and verify disk; both came back ok. S.M.A.R.T status was always "verified". I have also booted into single user mode and ran FSCK. No problem there either.
    I didn't have this problem until I upgraded to 10.6.3. Just wanted to find out if anyone else is having the same issue and if there is a way to figure out what is causing the problem.

    On the face of it, this sounds like a temperature-dependent problem: when the hard drive is cold, it either isn't spinning up on the first try, or the calibration is slightly off and the Mac doesn't recognize the drive as being bootable.
    When it is slightly warmer (second try) it spins up, or the calibration is now within limits and therefore it boots and now can pass all the DiskUtility tests.
    If it were me, I'd make sure that I had this drive fully backed up onto another external drive -- just in case.
    (In terms of it perhaps being a spin-up issue, I'll note that I have 640Gig 2.5" external that doesn't always mount when I turn it on. Generally the second time is a charm. I attribute it to the drive not spinning up.)
    Just in case the issue is something else, I'd suggest going to Apple Menu > System Preference > Startup Disk and explicitly setting the drive to be your startup drive.
    It might also be interesting to hold down the Option key at startup and explicitly choose the drive. Do this for a few days and see if the problem continues to occur. Holding down the Option key should give the drive a bit more time to spin up.

  • A flashing question mark on startup

    My Mini is displaying a flashing question mark after startup. How do I fix it?

    The flashing question mark indicates that your Mini cannot find a valid startup disk. Restart with the Install disk in place and hold down the C key and the Mini will start up from the CD. Repair the Mini's hard disk using Disk Utility on the Install CD (Look under the Apple menu). If this does not work, you may need to obtain a startup CD with a third-party recovery utility such as Disk Warrior to attempt to rebuild the Mini hard disk directory.
    Here's a link to an Apple document to help you:
    Bob N.
    Mac Mini 1.5 GHz; iBook 900 mHz; iPod 20 GB   Mac OS X (10.4.5)  

  • File with flashing question mark on startup?

    So my MacBook Air just recently started this, with the white screen and grey box with a flashing question mark in it upon starting it up. Safe Boot did nothing, the question mark file continued to appear.
    Holding down the Alt button seems to be the only thing that has yeilded any other response. When I hold the Alt button down on startup, it asks me to connect to a wireless internet (which I have). After connecting, it goes into Internet Recovery, where it shows a rotating globe and loads up, usually taking a couple of minutes.
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    After that, I get the grey page with Mac OS X Utilities.
    From here, I have no idea what to do. My computer was only recently returned to me after a login error, where all my files has been removed and deleted, so it was at Factory settings. Since then, I haven't had enough things on my compter to use Time Machine Backup or anything like that. so I have no backup sources for it to restore from.
    I have been able to get onto the internet, but only in a small box on top of the grey background.
    I tried to reinstall Mac OS X Lion from here, but when I agree to the terms and conditions, it gives me no disk to install it too, so therefore I cannot continue ahead with the installation.
    As for Disk Utility, when I click on the left hand side Mac OS X Base System, there is nothing under First Aid that is highlighted for me to click (show details is also checked)
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    In the Restore selection, The source (Mac OS X Base System) has Image highlighted beside it. I can click onto that, but from there I have no clue what to do.
    This about the sum of all the options my computer is giving me at the moment.
    I have no speakers or cords that hook up to my computer (seeing how its a MacBook Air)
    As far as I am aware, I have no disks or CDs or external drives that have any programme to help me restore it. I also am not entirely certain what my current systems were, with how up to date everything was, before this happened, but I assume they were all the latest seeing how it was only just fixed a month ago.
    If there are any suggestions, your help would be great.
    If my files can be saved, that is awesome. But if they have to be cleared, I am not at all phazed by doing that either.

    If Disk Utility left panel shows only "Mac OS X Base System", it would seem that it is not detecting your main drive at all.
    I would take the system into an Apple Store for diagnosis.

  • Flashing question mark on startup Mac Pro 1,1

    hi everybody, I have an issue with my Mac Pro 1,1. I bought this computer last week.
    Occasionally, at the start up, the screen show a flashing question mark inside a folder. I know this is a HD problem.
    Since it doesn't show the question mark every time, I don't know if I resolved my issue following the instruction provided by Apple (resetting PRAM).
    Both  times that I saw it is when I have unplugged and plugged the power cable of my Mac pro. Now is all ok, but I'm afraid...it is maybe a power supply problem? Or a logic board problem?
    Sorry for my english!

    The hatter wrote:
    When you reset PRAM you 'cause' the flashing "?"
    No, I've seen the flashing "?" only when I have unplugged the power cable. (Two times.)
    System Preferences : control panel : Startup Disk - set the boot drive
    Ok, I've done it yet.
    Now the Mac starts up normally.
    I only fear that the problem is the logic board or power supply.
    Can I exclude this possibility?
    I'm ready for a failure of the drive.
    Thank you very much!

  • White Macbook gives Flashing Question Mark on Startup

    I'm in need of some advice & help in what to do with an old White Macbook (06/07 vintage).
    I gave this to my mother a few years ago to bring her into the internet age while I conveniently bought a Macbook Pro
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    Inserted the original startup disc (OSX 10.4.8) while holding down C on startup - I decided to go ahead and reinstall the original OSX and upgrade it after everything was back to working. However at the step where you 'Select destination' there is nothing to select. Its as though there is no hard drive on the macbookI selected Disk Utilities at that point and tried to verify the drive (as I could select it at this point)  but an error message appeared and said that the volume needed repair. I then tried the repair Disk option but the process stopped almost immediately with the following error:
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    1 volume could not be repaired because of an error
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    I would like some help with diagnosing what may be wrong to see if its economically viable to repair and get another year or 2 which would be ideal.
    Am happy to open up the backside to investigate further if need be.
    All help appreciated,

    I have replaced the hard drive and tried to reinstall OSX but it still does not work. I still cannot select the hard drive in which to install OSX. I tried system utilities but it does not recognize the drive and says there is an I/O error.
    I am going to source a HD ribbon cable as a last ditch effort. If its not either then it will be the logic board and that is not economically viable

  • Flashing question mark on startup, plzz plzz help

    I know there are many post on this topic, but not getting exactly  for this machine.
    was normal yesterday, today when i turend on, i see flashing question mark with grey folder.
    i really need help with this, how can i sort this out? what will be the problem?
    i tried holding command key on the restart, it ends with below image...... what is this??
    please let me know, i have very important files, i'm worried. your any reply would be appreciated. thanks

    The blinking question mark indicates that the firmware could not find a valid Operating System on your machine.
    Your harddrive may have failed. Your filesystem may have bcome corrupted.
    You may want to seek professional help here.  You need to decide how important you data is to you.  Be sure to specify that you want your data back.
    In addition to the fix your mac places, there are professional firms the will attempt to recover data from a failed harddrive. Recovery does not come cheap.
    I suspect disk corruptions.
    verify & repair your startup drive
    To verify & repair you file system on the startup drive, you will need to run disk utility from you installation DVD.
    This article  will tell you how to get to disk utility.  Once in a disk utility, you can go and attempt to recover the disk.
    To repair your startup drive, you will need to run disk utility from your startup DVD.
    Mac OS X 10.4: About the utilities available on the Mac OS X 10.4 Install DVD
    How to run disk utility from your startup DVD.
    Insert your  startup DVD  into your reader.  Power down your machine.  Hold down to the c key.  Power on your machine.  This will bootup your startup DVD.
    This will bring you to a panel asking you for your language.  Pick your language.
    You you come to the Install Mac OS panel.  Do not install.
    Click on Utilities menu item.  This will give you a pulldown list of utilities.
    Click on the disk utility.
    You are now in disk utility.  Pick your disk.  Click on repair it should be on the lower right of the panel.
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  • HELP PLEASE-- flashing question mark on startup, none of remedies working

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    Secondly, what else can I try to get my computer working? I'm no expert, but it sounds like this might be a hardware problem aside from the HD, being that the computer is not recognizing neither HD nor cd. However, the cd I have is a copy of the OS disc I made, and it may or may not be the right install disc, or properly made copy.
    How difficult is it to open up Powerbooks and replace the HD? I'd like to have it up and running as soon as possible, but most importantly I hope that my data is still safe. And no, unfortunately I hadn't backed up my data. Please advise.

    Maybe the copy of that disk is not bootable. Do you have the original or can you get it?
    Here's a faq to remove disks.

  • Hey, My macbook is giving me a flashing question mark on startup. When I hold down the command key to get to system preferences it asks me for a firmware password, that I did not set! Any ideas on how to bipass this?

    Hey, My mac book is giving me a flashing question mark on start up. When I hold down the command key to get to system preferences in order to help it find the system software it asks me for a firmware password, that I did not set! I also do not have the start up DVD/disk anymore. Any ideas on how to bypass this?

    Contact Apple or an authorized Apple service provider.

  • Flashing question mark on startup, no Macintosh HD on disk utility

    I had to do a hard shutdown on my 2011 MacBook Pro, and when I went to restart it I got the gray screen with the flashing question mark folder deal. I restarted it and went through Internet recovery, but under disk utility there is no option for Macintosh HD, only disk0 and Mac OS X Base System.
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    Clean Install of Snow Leopard
         1. Boot the computer using the Snow Leopard Installer Disc or the Disc 1 that came
             with your computer.  Insert the disc into the optical drive and restart the computer.
             After the chime press and hold down the  "C" key.  Release the key when you see
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         2. After the installer loads select your language and click on the Continue
             button. When the menu bar appears select Disk Utility from the Utilities menu.
             After DU loads select the hard drive entry from the left side list (mfgr.'s ID and drive
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             partitions to one (1) from the Partitions drop down menu, click on Options button
             and select GUID, click on OK, then set the format type to MacOS Extended
             (Journaled, if supported), then click on the Apply button.
         3. When the formatting has completed quit DU and return to the installer.  Proceed
             with the OS X installation and follow the directions included with the installer.
         4. When the installation has completed your computer will Restart into the Setup
             Assistant. After you finish Setup Assistant will complete the installation after which
             you will be running a fresh install of OS X.  You can now begin the update process
             by opening Software Update and installing all recommended updates to bring your
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    Download and install Mac OS X 10.6.8 Update Combo v1.1.

  • Macbook Displays Flashing Question Mark on Startup After Leopard Upgrade

    Hello, I have a first Generation Macbook that I tried to Upgrade to Leopard. I put in the install disk and everything went smoothly until I checked on it an hour later and it said "Install Failed" without specifying a reason and it asked me to restart. So, I restarted with the disk in and then the installer claimed it couldn't locate my hard drive. I popped out the disk and now all I have is a flashing Question mark on my screen. I know there is a help article related to this, but I was wondering if there is something different due to this being a result of an attempted Leopard Upgrade, also I was wondering If I do put in the OSX Tiger Disk that came with my Macbook and re-install it will it erase everything I had on the computer?
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    The Tiger install discs will need to erase your hard drive to allow for Tiger to be installed.

  • HELP! Flashing question mark on startup

    Hi. I have a MacBook Pro 17" 2.33GHz. I was using this the other day, as per normal, and all of a sudden it crashed. I had to restart the laptop by pressing the power button down and when it restarted I got a flashing question mark. What can I do to get back into my laptop? I have a lot of data on my hard drive and need to get on with some important work.

    Your hard drive has not failed. You probably have directory damage. Diskwarrior or Techtool Pro will locate your hard drive and repair the damage. You should not use your computer until the damage has been repaired.

  • Help fix flashing question mark on startup

    I replaced my familys Macbook Pros HDD but didn't back anything up cause everybody had way too much junk saved onto it. Now when i turn on my mac, this question mark on a folder keeps flashing. Can i fix this by just purchasing another operating system disk? or is there more things i have to do. I just want a newer operating system running, and everythings set back to factory settings.

    You'll have to either
    Get out your old boot DVD (Snow Lep) or OSX thumb drive (Lion) and boot from that, then select "Reinstall OS X"
    Have someone saavy build you a bootable drive for the same purpose.  Most any 16GB drive should suffice for Lion or Mt. Lion.  Depending on what is on the drive when you boot it, you should be able to use this to either reinstall (as above) or download Lion/MtLion from the App Store.
    Bring in your Mac to an Apple store for them to reconfigure for you
    Good luck

  • Folder with Flashing Question Mark on Startup

    I tried pressing the option key and no startup manager appeared. I unplugged everything, which was not successful. I booted using the snow leopard DVD, went to the Startup Disk option and my hard drive is not an option (only the snow leopard DVD and a network startup (which has a question mark over it). Any thoughts? Thanks

    Sounds like the hard drive has died. Does Disk Utility show the drive at all in the left-hand column, or is it completely missing from that list? If missing, your drive is completely dead. Hopefully, you have your data backed up, since in this case the only option for recovering data will be to send the drive to an expensive data recovery service, where they will tear it apart and read whatever they can (which may or may not be much or even anything).
    You'll need to contact Apple for service if you're not comfortable opening up the machine and replacing the hard drive yourself.

  • Assistance Please!!!  Flashing Question mark at startup!!

    I am having a major problem. My Macbook froze up, I restarted the system and got a flashinf ile folder with a question mark. Per the manual, I tried to reinstall MAC OSX from the disk. I am able to follow the prompts-choose language-hit continue-but when I get to the box that asks you to "choose a volume destination" there are no options to choose?????? this is driving me crazy-please help!! rrrrraaaaaarrr!!
    Oh, I have also ran a hardware test (by pressing "d" at startup) is says everything is OK.

    The ? means your computer cannot find a valid startup system. This could be due to a corrupt file directory (your computer has lost track of what files it has and where) or something as serious as a failed hard drive. Hardware Test can be trusted if it does find a problem on the computer but has also been known to miss issues that are present. A corrupt directory would not be considered "hardware".
    Let's try repairing the directory first since if that is the problem it is easiest to solve. There's directions below. Note that if Disk Utility cannot see your hard drive as a selection then it is very likely the drive itself that is the problem and that will require a different solution (possibly replacing the drive).
    Boot from the installer disk, select language if applicable, choose utilities, run Disk Utility and verify (and repair if necessary) the drive. You can verify a drive from DU on your main drive while booted but I have found this can result in incorrect reporting of errors. To repair your drive you have to run it from a drive other than the boot drive anyway.
    Next, boot from your drive in [Safe Mode|http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=107393] and repair permissions. You can repair permissions while booted from the installer disc but this uses the permissions configuration on the installer disc which may be out of date if you have run any updates on your computer. Booting your computer to Safe Mode restricts the number of things running on your computer while permissions are being run and does a bit of spring cleaning at the same time.
    [Resolve startup issues and perform disk maintenance with Disk Utility and fsck|http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=106214]
    [Using Disk Utility in Mac OS X 10.4.3 or later|http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=302672]
    [Disk Utility's Repair Disk Permissions|http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=25751]
    From BDaqua (couldn't have said it better):
    "Try Disk Utility
    1. Insert the Mac OS X Install disc that came with your computer (Edit: Do not use this disc if it is not the same general version as what you have currently on your computer, e.g. use a Tiger disc for a Tiger drive, not a Panther disc), then restart the computer while holding the C key.
    2. When your computer finishes starting up from the disc, choose Disk Utility from the Installer menu. (In Mac OS X 10.4 or later, you must select your language first.)
    Important: Do not click Continue in the first screen of the Installer. If you do, you must restart from the disc again to access Disk Utility.
    3. Click the First Aid tab.
    4. Click the disclosure triangle to the left of the hard drive icon to display the names of your hard disk volumes and partitions.
    5. Select your Mac OS X volume.
    6. Click Repair. Disk Utility checks and repairs the disk.
    Then Safe Boot, (holding Shift key down at bootup), run Disk Utility in Applications>Utilities, then highlight your drive, click on Repair Permissions, reboot when it completes."

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