My MacBook screen went black while I was working and then started blinking with this file image:

enter image description here

I was not able to get the MacBook to recover, and I ended up pressing the power button and losing my work. When this happens is there something I should do to get back to my work, or is powercycling my only option?

Details about my setup:
MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015)
Processor: 2.2 GHz Intel Core i7
Memory: 16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
Graphics: Intel Iris Pro 1536 MB
Sierra 10.12.3
No Time Machine set up.

closed as unclear what you're asking by Allan, nohillside Mar 11 '17 at 6:01

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • This question as written is way too broad. What MacBook do you have? What version of macOS? Are/were you using Time Machine? Did you save your work periodically? The more relevant info that you provide, the better we can assist. Remember, we're not there to look over your shoulder. – Allan Mar 10 '17 at 21:32
  • @Allan Question updated with details ;) – wogsland Mar 10 '17 at 21:39
  • Does rebooting work or do you always get the question mark folder? Which specific problem do you want to halve solved here? – nohillside Mar 11 '17 at 6:01

This is usually a sign that the Macbook can't detect your hard drive. So, something happened while you were working that caused your hard drive to either stop spinning, or just to not be recognized by your system anymore.

One option: Unless you have experience taking apart Macbooks, and have the appropriate drive sled to offload data from your (possibly) failing drive, I'd highly recommend taking it into a Mac service place so that they can copy the data off your drive before it completely fails (if it hasn't already). That's your best bet for data recovery. While they've got it apart, they can put in a new drive (I'd recommend an SSD upgrade if you have a spinning disk currently, since it'll speed your machine WAY up).

The other option is if you have another Mac and a thunderbolt (or firewire if this is an old mac) cable, you can try repeatedly rebooting while holding down the T-key. This boots into Firewire/Thunderbolt Target Disk Mode, which basically turns your laptop into an expensive external hard drive. When hard drives start to fail, occasionally you'll be able to reboot several times and they'll work again. Do that, and if/when it works, then plug into the other Mac and immediately copy off all of your most important files, followed by your less important files, since the drive could fail again at any time.

Hope this helps and you can recover your data!

  • Oh man, none of this sounds good. I really need to get on time machine. – wogsland Mar 11 '17 at 0:14

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