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I am using MacBook 2010 with OS X 10.6.8. Today when I started my laptop it kept showing the Apple logo longer than expected. Then I read online to hold the shift key while booting. Doing that it started showing a folder icon with a question mark and it keeps showing untill the laptop gets shut down. Right now I don't have any disk utility tool either.

How do I solve my problem?

  • @Volatil3 You promised to make a backup and create a recovery thumb drive after the almost fatal rm * incident ;-). Did you already try to reset PRAM and SMC? – klanomath Mar 24 '15 at 7:33
  • @klanomath I did have data backup ready but definitely not all installation and command line tools I had configured. I tried to run fschk but it failed to recover. I rather then got a new HD and installed Yosemite and trying to setup everything from scratch :(. The OLD HD can only be used as a data storage. – Volatil3 Mar 24 '15 at 13:58
  • @Volatil3 So did you buy a new HDD already? – klanomath Mar 24 '15 at 14:29
  • @klanomath yeah – Volatil3 Mar 24 '15 at 18:28
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Sounds like your hard disk could be on its way out.

A folder icon with a question mark means that the Mac can not find a valid Operating System on the disk (or the OS which was on there has become corrupted).

Booting with your finger on shift boots the Mac into, what is called, Safe Mode (or Safe Boot). That is to say no extra software is loaded at boot time, only the essentials, as well as some checks being performed. Quoting the Apple web site for Safe Mode:

Starting up in Safe Mode does several things:

  • It verifies your startup disk, and attempts to repair directory issues if needed.
  • Only required kernel extensions are loaded.
  • All user installed fonts are disabled while you are in Safe Mode.
  • Startup Items and Login Items are not opened during startup and login on OS X v10.4 or later.
  • In OS X 10.4 and later, font caches that are stored in /Library/Caches/com.apple.ATS/uid/ are moved to the Trash (where uid
    is a user ID number).
  • In OS X v10.3.9 or earlier, Safe Mode opens only Apple-installed startup items. These items are usually located in
    /Library/StartupItems. These items are different from user-selected
    account login items.

Together, these changes can help resolve or isolate certain issues on your startup disk.

Your best bet is to start your Mac using an install OS X CD (or USB stick) or an external disk drive containing another installation of Mac OS X, and run Disk Utility (or preferably Disk Doctor) from that and/or reinstall the OS. Better still, maybe seriously consider replacing the hard disk, if it is getting old, and failing.

Also, it maybe worth copying off any data that you require (or do not wish to lose). However, saying that, you can always use your [time machine] backup to recover any lost files. You have been making regular backups, haven't you?

  • Repair Utility failed again and again and I rather bought a new HD – Volatil3 Mar 24 '15 at 13:59
  • What are the errors that Repair Utility is reporting? Can you update your original question with a screen shot of the error? Thanks. Also, how old is your hard disk? – Greenonline Mar 24 '15 at 14:02
  • I don't remember exact anymore but it's said something like can not repair this hardisk or volume, backup file etc as soon as possible – Volatil3 Mar 24 '15 at 14:22
  • If you could run the test again, and get a photo, or screenshot, that would be great for two reasons. Firstly, the more accurate the information you provide in your question, the more accurate our answers can be. Secondly, your additional information will, undoubtedly, help someone else who has the same problem and finds your question on the internet. Thanks again. – Greenonline Mar 24 '15 at 14:59

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