Basically, tonight my mac crashed so I re-started and got a flashing folder.

I have searched around online for the commands that I need to press when I first hear the chime to get into the disk utilities so I can do a fresh install. What are they?

I have not got the fresh install disks, however, I do have Mac OS X Lion 10.7.5 installed onto the system.

Hope someone can help.


Try OS X Recovery, which is supported in Lion and later and hopefully on your Mac (if your Mac shipped with Lion it is supported, otherwise see http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4904 for a list of older Macs that support Lion Internet Recovery. If your Mac is not listed you will need the OS X Recovery Disk Assistant, see http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1433).

To start up into OS X Recovery you need to turn on your Mac while holding down R (http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4718):

OS X Lion or OS X Mountain Lion includes a built in set of utilities in the Recovery System. Restart your Mac and hold down the Command key and the R key (Command-R), and keep holding them until the Apple icon appears, indicating that your Mac is starting up. After the Recovery System is finished starting up, you should see a desktop with a OS X menu bar and a "Mac OS X Utilities" application window. Note: If you see a login window or your own desktop and icons, it is possible that you didn't hold Command-R early enough. Restart and try again.

In order to reinstall OS X Lion or OS X Mountain Lion, you will need to be connected to an Ethernet or Wi-Fi network. The Wi-Fi menu item is in the upper-right corner of the screen. Click the icon to display all available Wi-Fi networks. Click your preferred network name and, if needed, enter a username and/or password.

(You will be given the chance to restore from a Time Machine backup, which works very nicely and I'd highly recommend.)

Read the rest of the article for more information on how to proceed.

  • hey, I have tried the cmd and r but had no joy whatsoever. I've not got was lion recovery partition and I've lost the disks that came with the Mac.. What can I do now? Thanks – Phorce Dec 20 '12 at 10:30
  • Option 1: Go to an Apple Store, if you are lucky enough to have one near you. Option 2: Bring your Mac back to the store you bought it or, if you bought it online, to an Authorized Reseller. I'm pretty sure they will be able to help you. Option 3: If you know someone who owns a Mac, borrow the OS X discs and reinstall (this may not work if the discs were shipped with a model different than your Mac). Option 4: If you know someone who owns a Mac, ask him/her to create the OS X Recovery Assistant as explained in support.apple.com/kb/DL1433. – jaume Dec 20 '12 at 11:00
  • thanks for the reply. I have a late 2011 Mac mini (without the CD drive) so will option 4 be possible? – Phorce Dec 20 '12 at 13:44
  • According to support.apple.com/kb/HT4848, it depends on whether the Mac used to create the external recovery drive shipped with OS X Lion or Mountain Lion. If that's the case, you are out of luck, you won't be able to use it. If the Mac was upgraded to Lion or Mountain Lion, the external OS X Recovery drive can be used with other Macs. I think it's worth a try. If that fails, I'd recommend that you visit an Apple Authorized Reseller. – jaume Dec 20 '12 at 14:58

Been having the same exact issue with my Macbook Pro, I spent several weeks researching this.

I decided to put my Macbook to sleep using the dropdown menu under the Apple icon on the top left corner instead of putting it to sleep via the hot corner (upper right hand corner). Voila! I stopped getting this dreaded folder with a question mark upon waking my Macbook from sleep and haven't for over a week.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .