I came home to my Mac Book Pro (late 2009) showing me the blinking question mark folder.

I followed all the instructions available online (Reset NVRAM, SMC) but neither boot screen (pressing Alt during/before start-up) nor Internet recovery (Command+ r during/before start-up) shows me anything. They just lead to an empty grey startup screen.

I attached an external hard drive with bootable macOS that I have used on this computer before, but it changes nothing - boot screen doesn't show.

EDIT: I solved the Problem by exchanging the IDE Cable. I do not know how this has effected the start-up process, but now i was able to boot from the external drive and from my drive as well.

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    I have experienced similar problem with my MacBook Pro recently. I have tried similar steps (apart from connecting an external bootable drive) with no success. I was able to come to a conclusion that the connector to the internal boot media was loose. What worked for me was a rather non-conventional approach. After shutting down the MacBook completely by long pressing the power button, simply lift it, hold it firmly and shake it horizontally. I was able to "fix" the loose connection of the drive this way and computer was able to detect the startup disk and booted fine. – Nimesh Neema Mar 20 '19 at 16:30
  • Failing that sounds like it is time to take it to an Apple store or other Apple repair location. – Steve Chambers Mar 20 '19 at 18:59
  • @steve-chambers They stopped supporting that model since there are no replacement parts left to order. – Andresch Serj Mar 21 '19 at 13:02
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    Independent repair shops often use non-Apple sources for parts. Like used computers. A good independant repair tech might be able to fix it, just sayin' – Steve Chambers Mar 21 '19 at 17:05

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