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Daniel, Mac Genius
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 4770
Experience:  Apple certified on desktop and portable, help desk qualified. Have owned and used Macs since 1989.
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I have a MacBook about 4 yrs old. An mark inside a file

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I have a MacBook about 4 yrs old. An ? mark inside a file folder is flashing on the screen. When I attempt to re-install the start-up disk (1) it walks me through the first several screens until I get to 'where do you want to install this'. Well, the diolige box is empty, theres no place send it. I ran the disk utility and it will not allow me to select repair.
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Daniel :

Hello, my name isXXXXX will stay with you until the problem is resolved.
What that is telling you is that you do not have a usable hard drive in your machine.
At least one that you can install an operating system on, you may be able to recover the data that is on it by installing it in a laptop hard drive enclosure and accessing it as an external drive.
You will however, have to replace the hard drive before you can install OS X. on the drive.
You might try using Disk Warrior DiskWarrior 4, this utility may be able to repair it or it may not but I have had are a good success with it in cases like this.
Another good utility is Tech tool Pro Micromat TechTool Pro, but again there are no guarantees.
Please realize that I am basing my answer on the description that you gave me, you did state it quite clear.

Daniel :

This website will have the instructions on how to replace it and they will sell you a replacement hard drive.
iFixit: Do-it-yourself Apple

JACUSTOMER-bj8qh56t- :

I have a TechTool Deluxe CD that came with the unit.

Daniel :

Try booting from that by holding down the letter C. from startup. Hold it down until you see something new starting to load.

Daniel :

It may not even see the drive and if that is the case then your drive is toast. What I mean to say all hope is lost for that drive as a usable drive.
This utility might possibly recover some data, Data Rescue

JACUSTOMER-bj8qh56t- :

We'll that's what I was afraid of when I didn't see a location to install the OS. Thanks for verifying and a little ray of hope. Still, I was initially hopefull went it started up and the Apple appeared and I was asked to select a lanugage, etc. Thanks. jdb

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