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PeterC, Mac Support Specialist
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 29
Experience:  Apple Certified Support Professional, former AppleCare product specialist, now self employed
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I manually shut down my MacBook Pro and now when I turn it

Customer Question

I manually shut down my MacBook Pro and now when I turn it on I just get a white screen. Help!!
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Mac
Expert:  PeterC replied 8 years ago.

Obviously this is more than important to you ...

First... ASSUMING... you are on another computer and you are stuck.

1>>   un-plug all usb and firewire devices... All of them.   power off and start it with the power button

resolved? yes   / no ??

2>>   start it is safe mode.    With power off... turn it ON and RIGHT after the CHIME Hold the SHIFT key until you see the Apple.   LET it start and it might take a LONG time. Let it Start even if it takes a LONG time.   

The are several other things we can do if you are still stuck like a Hardware teat that is built in. But start with this so we can go in steps. I am online and available.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

hi peter,

thank you for responding so quickly...


1>> i tried powering back on and it just went to the same white screen and then after a while an image of a file with a question mark in the center came onto the screen.


2>> i tried to turn it on in safe mode, but when i held down SHIFT nothing happened.


any other ideas? i'm just a little panicked because this is my boss' computer and he leaves for rome on sunday and absolutely has to have it. he is the host of Entertainment Tonight and his computer is used to record all of the voiceovers!

Expert:  PeterC replied 8 years ago.

Hardware Test...

Lets come back to Safe Boot in a minute.   Current Macbook Pros have a Hardware test built in. If by some chance you would say this is an OLD one this might not work but assuming is is kind of current...

Start with power off.   Start power and hold D key for some time. It will eventually say "Hardware test".   

Important: is there a disk in it?   remove it if possible or tell me one is stuck in it proceed.   

Did Hardware test work and reveal anything??


Customer: replied 8 years ago.

I tried to hold down the D key but still the screen remained white. The computer is new (last year), so it wouldn't be that the hardware test doesn't work.


There is no disk in it. Any more ideas?

Expert:  PeterC replied 8 years ago.

I appreciate your patience and I know this is a stressful situation.

Resetting the Power Management Unit is very appropriate:

If the Macbook Pro is on, turn it off.
Disconnect the AC Adapter and remove the computer's battery.
Press and hold the power button for 5 seconds and then release the button.
Reconnect the battery and AC Adapter.
Press the power button to restart the computer

Write back please,


Customer: replied 8 years ago.

hi peter,


still did the same thing with the white screen. i even tried that whole process with the safe mode start-up. did i ruin this computer?!



Expert:  PeterC replied 8 years ago.

Again thank you for you vigilance.

resetting the Mac's volatile RAM is a good measure and a necessary step.   Let's plese do this for good measure    

Shut down the computer.
Locate the following keys on the keyboard: Command, Option, P, and R. You will need to hold these keys down simultaneously in step 4.
Turn on the computer.
Press and hold the Command-Option-P-R keys. You must press this key combination before the gray screen appears.
Hold the keys down until the computer restarts and you hear the startup sound for the second time.
Release the keys.

write back please.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

hi peter,

thank you so much for your help. unfortunately, that didn't work either. would i need to hold those keys down for over a minute?

what would the file folder with a question mark in it mean? after several minutes that shows up on the middle of the screen.

sincerely XXXXX XXXXX


Expert:  PeterC replied 8 years ago.

The flashing question mark indicates that the computer cannot locate valid system software. Typically, blinking question marks are caused by:

Third Party software conflict
Damaged or missing system software
External devices
Corrupted PRAM

We attacked some of these...

Perhaps double check that>>

NO USB device or Firewire devices attached
Possible re-do PRAM reset or Power reset instructions is you feel it may not have "ran" due to the procedures or timing and so forth.

Those were indeed appropriate steps so thank you for you patience and efforts but possible redo anything that might be in doubt.

Starting in SAFE-BOOT would be excellent so possible re-try in case it just did not "take".

Moving forward.   You may very well be at a point were a "Archive and reinstall saving User Setting" would be appropriate, but perhaps not the only option.

Instructions are straight forward, and it will require the TWO disks that came with the Macbook Pro. All documents and setting are saved however some software will likely have to be re-installed so those disk may be needed.

I'll hold off on step by step instructions for that for the time being.

Please consider all your support choices.   When was it purchased?   Apple provides support for One Year initially and then if Apple Care was Purchased that extends to Three years. so is it less than a year old and/or did you buy Apple Care Protection Plan Apple may be Apple resource.      Support can be carry in at an Apple store and set an appointment on-line first if you are leaning toward that.

So, I know this is huge with you work obligations.

There are some things we can consider if you can tell me if you have the Two Disks that came with the MacbookPro... perhaps answer that question at this point and also re-visit the several discussed (just in case)

PeterC and 4 other Mac Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.


I had our IT department at work take a look at it...they attempted to reboot using the leopard installation cd (I think) and said they thought the problem was internal--something to do with the hardware on the system. I'm going to take it to the genius bar at 2pm and see what they say about it.

Thank you for all your help!