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so for some reason my 2011 MBP died on my way to work this morning? when i got in and booted it up, it froze. i restarted it and got a flashing folder with a question mark on it.

what does this mean exactly? how could this happen? i was literally just using it last night before i went to sleep, and then it was doing this when i woke up.

so i read some stuff online and did an internet recovery, which i've never done before. now it's at a disk utility page asking me to choose a method to restore. i want to restore from an old Time Machine backup I have, but that's back at my apartment. is it safe to put it to sleep on this screen until i get home?

sorry for this, i'm very confused and frustrated as to why this just happened. and my backup is old and i don't know if i backed up any system settings so i don't know if that will even work.

Anyway...

  • What could have caused this? What does that error even mean?

  • What is the current status of my computer? Is everything wiped from my HDD?

  • Is is safe to leave it sleeping on the Disc Utility until I get home?
  • Can I restore from Time Machine if I didn't backup system settings?

i'm really anxious at work right now, and any insights would be really helpful right now.

thanks

UPDATE:

if anyone comes across this in the future, here's an update.

my harddrive was fine, the cable between the logic board and the HDD was dead. i took it to the apple store, and they were very nice and understanding and replaced it right there for $18.

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It means your HD was corrupted, or unfortunately, destroyed. But as you are getting the Disk Utility screen, I don’t think that’s likely. Also, please ask only one or two questions per post. Bullet-pointed questions are hated here. –  duci9y Nov 2 '12 at 16:43
    
ok, sorry about that. –  patricko Nov 2 '12 at 19:04
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1 Answer

up vote 0 down vote accepted

What could have caused this? What does that error even mean?

You may have a hard drive that is going bad. The flashing folder means that the Mac can not find or read the needed system files to boot up.

What is the current status of my computer? Is everything wiped from my HDD?

Hard to say, but probably not. You could remove your harddrive, put it in an external HD dock, and try to recover you personal files. Or, you could restart it while holding down the "T" key to put it in target disk mode and then connect it to another running Mac computer via a Firewire or Thunderbolt cable. Your hard drive will show up as another disk on that computer and the can get to your files.

Either way, I would consider replacing the hard drive. To check for errors, in the Terminal (/Applications/Utilities), type

grep -i "i/o error" /var/log/system.log

If you see any results, your hard drive may be dying.

3. Is is safe to leave it sleeping on the Disc Utility until I get home?

Yes

4. Can I restore from Time Machine if I didn't backup system settings?

Yes

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Regarding the grep command, you may want to also try grep "I/O error" /var/log/system.log as grep is case sensitive. –  Tim Dearborn Nov 2 '12 at 16:48
    
Or just use grep -i to ignore lower/UPPER case –  patrix Nov 2 '12 at 18:14
    
@patrix - RE: grep -i - very cool - that flag will now become a normal part of my grep usage. –  Tim Dearborn Nov 2 '12 at 19:04
    
thank you very much –  patricko Nov 2 '12 at 19:04
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