mac folder with question mark

10 Dec

If your Mac is not starting and instead of the Apple logo appearing, you see a flashing question mark in a folder, do not panic, this guide will assist you with troubleshooting the issue. 

Essentially, the reason that you are seeing Mac folder with question mark, is due to your Mac not being able to locate the system folder in the startup disk, hence, unable to boot. There are many reasons why this may occur. It could be software-related or hardware-related. We’ll go through the most common software-related issues in this article.

For the advanced techniques to hand the complicated software and hardware issues, please read on our advanced article: How to fix Mac question mark folder – an ultimate guide for beginner to expert

First Step

The first step is to Force Shut Down the Mac by holding down the power key for five seconds. Next, start the Mac whilst holding the Command and R keys until an Apple logo or a globe appears. Once here, you can select the startup disk by selecting the Startup Disk from the Apple menu. 

Second Step

If you can not see the Startup Disk, open Disk Utility from the macOS Utilities window. Next, select your Startup Disk, (often named “Macintosh HD”), and then select the “First Aid” tab and then click “Run”. If this process completes successfully, you can click the disk in Startup Disk in the apple menu and then reboot. If the process is not successful the disk will have to be erased and macOS must be reinstalled. 

Third Step 

The next step is if you have a Time Machine backup recently, you can directly Restore from Time Machine Backup in the macOS Utilities window. Otherwise, you have to back up the data to an external hard drive. This can be done by installing the macOS to the external hard drive first, then boot the Mac from the external drive. Next,  migrate your data from the internal drive to the external drive.

  1. Use a spare external drive which can be erased and connect it to your Mac, click on the Erase tab and once this is complete, click Reinstall macOS from the Utilities window and select the external disk. 
  2. Reboot your Mac from the external drive, use the Migration utility. Click the option to migrate data from another Disk and then select your Mac’s regular disk (internal). This process should allow you to back up all your data to your external disk. 

Fourth Step 

Now that your data is backed up, you can erase the original startup drive and reinstall macOS onto it. Reboot the Mac whilst holding the Command and R keys, and now select Reinstall macOS, this time select your Mac’s original disk. After this process has completed, select to migrate data as done previously, and now move the data from the external drive onto the Mac Startup Disk. 

These steps should help you with starting up your Mac correctly, however, if your Mac is still not operating correctly, do not hesitate to contact us at IT-Tech Online for any MacBook repairs or call us now to book an appointment at (03) 9563 8588.

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