Flashing/Blinking Folder with Question Mark at Start-up on Mac; Flashing Question Mark over Folder File Macbook, iBook,
PROBLEM: Mac Won't Start Up, Folder with Flashing Question Mark Over It
You tried to startup your Mac, but it won't start-up, instead when you tried to reboot, you get a folder (file) with a flashing question mark inside which starts blinking? Maybe you hear a clicking noise? Perhaps you just completed a system update, your Mac tried to restart but then all you see is this flashing question mark?
Discover how to recover the data on your Mac hard drive (Download Now) and repair your Mac.
Flashing Question Mark with file (folder) Problem
Flashing/Blinking Question Mark on Mac at startup
The reason you are seeing the flashing question mark with folder on your Mac at start-up is because your computer cannot find the right software (file) it needs to boot or start your system. So basically, it doesn't know what to do.
If it manages to find the folder/ program it needs to start up, it will startup itself in a few minutes. If it doesn’t, then you have a problem.
This problem is a result of some sort of system corruption or possible hard drive mechanical failure or crash. Quite often, it occurs after installing the system updates or if your disk drive has become corrupt. This could be because of a virus (yes, Macs get viruses too), system driver conflict, human error or a software malfunction.
Nevertheless, if you are looking for a way to save and/or recover your files and important data on your Mac - there is hope! Hard drives crash all the time and data recovery is still possible.
Blinking Folder Question Mark Mac OS X
How to Retrieve Important Data Off Your Mac
It is possible to restore your data. To do that, follow these steps:
First of all, you need to determine if the flashing question mark problem is the result of physical or logical failure of your hard drive.
Physical hard drive failure means there is something wrong with you hardware (most likely you would have heard a clicking/grinding noise). (See video below for an example).
A logical failure occurs when the hard drive is healthy but you cannot boot into the operating system. (probably your situation right now with the blinking question mark).
If it's the latter, it is likely that you may still recover most of your missing data.
To begin, remove your failed/crashed hard drive and connect it to another Mac machine that is functioning properly. If you don't have another Mac yourself, find someone who does, a friend or family member for example.
If your hard drive is detected by another Mac machine, it means that you have a logical failure of your hard drive. In most cases, you can easily retrieve your data using a good Mac data recovery tool such as Stellar Data Recovery.
Download the Macintosh data recovery software. Scan your drive to find your missing files.
Now, if your hard drive is NOT detected by the other Mac computer that means that more than likely, you have experienced a physical failure of your machine. Data recovery is tough, however it is still possible. You need to contact professional data recovery specialists. This could cost a fortune however, so be prepared.
Mac Won't Boot - Clicking or Grinding Noise
If your computer will not start-up and you hear a grinding or clicking, you can be certain that your Mac has suffered a physical hard drive failure. See below for an example of what the sound is like...
The best bet is to remove the hard drive and put it into a different system to retrieve the important data from the drive with a Mac data recovery tool.
How To Remove Mac Hard Drive
- How to Remove an Apple Mac Hard Drive
How to Remove an Apple Mac Hard Drive. The Mac operating system is known for its user-friendly interface. However...
Other Solutions to Flashing File with Question Mark on Mac
1. Resetting PRAM and NVRAM
Still no luck?
In some cases, this has worked:
- Shut down the computer.
- When you try to re-boot, Press the following keys on the keyboard simultaneously: Command, Option, P, and R.
- Press and hold the Command-Option-P-R keys. You must press this key combination before the gray screen appears.
- Hold the keys down and wait for the triple startup chimes. Hold you hear the startup sound for the second time and then release.
2. Start up from a system software CD or DVD, and repair your disk using Disk Utility:
- Insert the Mac OS X Install or Restore disc.
- Restart the computer, then hold the C key during startup.
- From the Apple menu, choose Disk Utility. Do this in the first screen of the Installer. Don't click Continue.
- Click the First Aid tab.
- Click Repair Disk.
- After repairing the disk, try to start from the Mac OS X hard disk.
Tip: If your hard disk is not available (mounted) when started up from CD, reset the parameter RAM (PRAM) as shown above.
Backup Your Data REMOTELY & AUTOMATICALLY. Use Offline Mac Backup!
You probably don't want to hear this now but you need to have some sort of data backup.
All computers, hard drives and processors will die some day. It's a FACT. As we put more & more memory in hard drives, we strain them even more. Eventually, they will crash or become corrupted. Its the reality of our modern-day lives dominated by technology.
But lets face it, we're all too lazy to bother with backup.
I know I AM.
And you too are probably thinking right now, "Yeah, I'll might get some sort of data backup solution later. Maybe. Let's just fix the problem right now".
My thinking is this...
You either get a backup solution which backs-up your files automatically in the background, while you work, or you will never get it done. Period.
That's why I use and highly recommend you try an online and automatic backup program such as Mozy, which works really well with Macs.
Backing up data on CDs or external hard drives can eat up a lot of time AND hard drives can crash, get stolen or whatever. Plus, you can only manage to do it every so often.
With a service such as Mozy, it is 100% automatic. You always have the most recent versions of your files in an online environment that you can access from anywhere.
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Have you ever got this flashing question mark over a folder (file) when you try to boot your Mac?
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