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Rob, Mac Genius
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 409
Experience:  14 years Mac experience, 10 years Mac Consulting, ran a printshop for 23 years.
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i have a macbook ! when it starts up i get a gray screen with

Customer Question

i have a macbook ! when it starts up i get a gray screen with a folder with a question mark in it
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Mac
Expert:  Rob replied 7 years ago.

Your computer can't find it's operating system. Here is the best remedies to get the computer to recognize the operating system again:

1) reset the pram by pressing the power button and immediately hold the

Command Option P R keys

keep holding these keys until you hear 3 startup chimes, then let go. You should then startup normally

2) Restart, as soon as you hear the startup chime hold the Command S keys. You'll get a Unix text screen. When the prompt come up type:

fsck -f

make sure there is a space between k and -. Then hit the return key. When the diagnostics say the computer seems to be ok type:


then hit return and you'll start up back to normal.

3) Start up in Safe Mode by restarting and as soon as you hear the startup chime, hold the shift key. Keep holding the shift key until you see the Gray Apple and spinning gear. Then let go of the shift key. It may take up to a half hour to start up because the system runs diagnostics and may be repairing. After the computer starts up, restart again without holding any keys.

Rob and 3 other Mac Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Rob replied 7 years ago.
I see where you started another question on this topic. I'll reply here. How about the other remedies, did you try them?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
i tried but i still get that folder with a question mark!!
Expert:  Rob replied 7 years ago.
Ok, at this point you have to insert your system install disk while the question mark is up, force it to shut down by holding the power button for 5+ seconds.

1) Press the power button again after the computer shuts off and hold the C key to start up from the system install cd.

2) When it starts up click the next button at the language screen.

3) Click the Utilities menu heading in the next screen

4) Select Disk Utility from the drop down menu

5) Click your hard drive and click repair disk then follow that with repair permissions.

Restart and see if the computer starts up now.
Rob and 3 other Mac Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
im in disc utility screen and when i click on hd it dosent do anything but show on the bottom to verify disk permission?
Expert:  Rob replied 7 years ago.
If there is another icon there of your hard drive, click that one and see if Repair Disk shows up.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
the only thing that show is the install disk and 5.3 matshitadvd-R uj-857 -and on the bottom it just says verify disk permissions
Expert:  Rob replied 7 years ago.
That is bad news. The computer is not seeing the hard drive much less the operating system. It sounds like your hard drive has failed and is no longer working. You will have to take the computer into an authorized Apple Service Center.

You can try resetting the System Management Controller with instructions here:

but, it looks like your hard drive has died.