View Full Version : Blinking folder with a question mark - macbook

18th January 2008, 02:32 PM
I just found out that my Macbook Core Duo won't start up. After a hard shut-down, I tried switching the Macbook on but all that happens is:

1. A light gray screen appears (normal)
2. A quiet triple click noise from the DVD drive (never noticed that before)
3. The light gray screen stays on for a few minutes (not normal)
4. A blinking folder with a question mark in the middle appears in the center of the screen
5. A few minutes later the Macbook switches off

Throughout the whole procedure, the hard drive emits very quiet noises at regular intervals. I have had hard drive failures in the past and the noises HDDs create when in agony do differ to the one that I am hearing from the macbook. In fact I wouldn't be able to hear it at all if I don't put the base of the Macbook against my ear.

Having said all that, I should also say that I do not have the CDs that came with the laptop. Also, I tried resetting the SMC and pressing all kind of key combinations but nothing seems to make any difference. Also, the keyboard seems completely dead - the caps lock and the num lock do not work and I doubt that the keyboard is operational.

Please let me know if there is any way to reset anything or to access the firmware of the Macbook. Also, There is another Macbook on my lap right now - a G4 with Panther on it and I could use it somehow (provided I had a Firewire cable I suppose) to fix the other one.


18th January 2008, 02:36 PM
Get a firewire cable, hold T on the Macbook as you turn it on, and you should be able to check the hard drive from the G4. I'd suspect it's the drive or a faulty motherboard. You might also check the seating of your RAM just to be thorough, but I very much doubt it's causing the problem.

18th January 2008, 02:52 PM
The 'dead' MB is failing to find a system folder according to the issue you describe.

As suggested above, firewire the two 'books together and get the dead one running in target disk mode and then run the disk utility under utilities to see if it can fix the problem.

Failing that, an original install CD/DVD will allow you to start the machine and run the same procedure or checking and repairing.

18th January 2008, 03:14 PM
that's a dead hdd. :(

happened to mine just before christmas, so I sent it into Next Byte to be replaced.

18th January 2008, 03:17 PM
The same happened to me when I owned a Macbook. Unfortunately I thought it was just the HD, but turned out to be a problem with the logic board as well. Anyways, nothing much you can do. Try and access the files on as suggested to get a backup and take it in for a repair if it's under warranty. If not, hopefully its just the HD. If it's just the HD, get yourself a PATA 2.5" HD and you'll be able to install it yourself. Good luck

18th January 2008, 03:19 PM
I wouldn't jump to the conclusion of a dead HD just yet. A simple corruption to a file or two or a buggered disk directory can do the same thing and can be simply fixed in many cases.

Of course, a completely dead HD will look the same to the MB as a corrupt one while it tries to start up, so there's no way of telling without some extra testing.

18th January 2008, 03:28 PM
Most likely dead hdd. Most likely you have a seagate that has just conk out.

28th January 2008, 07:59 PM
Yea, I've got exactly the same problem - hard reset, power on - same symptoms.

Unfortunately, I can't even enter into target disk mode with my MB - so I can't seem to get files off, and it won't boot from my Leopard install disc.

I got this MacBook for free from Apple (used to do some work for them), so I'm not sure where I stand with warranty unfortunately. I hope I can get it fixed!!!! There's a bunch of photos on there that I took recently that I was yet to back up.

28th January 2008, 08:02 PM
Dead HDD :(

How come you didn't get the CD's?

28th January 2008, 08:11 PM
Dead HDD :(

How come you didn't get the CD's?

Um, as I stated, It wont boot from the Leopard DVD that's sitting right in front of me ;) -- So I do have the DVD's (not sure what you mean about CD's....)

28th January 2008, 08:16 PM
Um, as I stated, It wont boot from the Leopard DVD that's sitting right in front of me ;) -- So I do have the DVD's (not sure what you mean about CD's....)

I was barking at the original creator of this thread.