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Pete, Computer Engineer
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 17287
Experience:  Over 16 years of computer experience, CISCO certified
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Hiya, I have a mac book pro which had just decided to freeze

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I have a mac book pro which had just decided to freeze up on me. Initially it started with the coloured wheel that wouldn't go away ( that lasted for around 24 hours) but now I just have a white screen with a flashing grey document icon with a question mark in the middle of it. The mouse doesn't work and neither do any keys on the keyboard.
Many thanks
I am Pete, and I'll be happy to assist with your question today.

First, try resetting the PRAM:

1. Shut down the computer.
2. Turn the computer on again.
3. Press and hold the Command-Option-P-R keys before the gray screen appears.
4. Hold the keys down until the computer restarts.
5. Release the keys.

Let me know if that works?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
No luck unfortunately. Once the computer restarts I still have the flashing document/ question mark icon.

Hi Stacey,

It seems the Macbook is unable to find the system software it needs to start up. You will need to remind it where its software is. To do this, follow the steps below. If any step resolves the issue, you don't need to continue to the next one.

  1. Select your Mac OS X startup disk with Startup Manager by restarting and holding the Option key. After your Macbook starts up, restart again to verify that the flashing question mark does not appear.
  2. If the issue persists, insert your Mac OS X installation disc. Be sure to either use the disc that came with your Mac, or, if you installed a later Mac OS X version from disc, use the newest disc.

    Once started up from Mac OS X media, skip to step 3.

  3. Restart the computer, then hold the C key during startup.
  4. From the Utilities menu, choose Disk Utility. Don't click Continue.
  5. Select your Mac OS X disk (usually named "Macintosh HD") in the left side of the Disk Utility window.
  6. Click the First Aid tab.
  7. Click Repair Disk to verify and repair any issues with your Mac OS X startup disk.
  8. After repairing the disk, try to start up normally.
    If Disk Utility finds issues it cannot repair, you may need to back up as much of your data as possible, then erase the disk and reinstall Mac OS X.
  9. If the issue persists, and Disk Utility didn't find any irreparable issues, quit Disk Utility, quit the Installer, select your disk when prompted, and restart.
  10. If none of these steps resolve the issue, start up from the Mac OS X Installation disc and reinstall Mac OS X.


Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Still not much luck unfortunately. The computer worked for around 30 minutes then got the coloured wheel and no response from any keypad prompts or the shut down button. We bought this laptop as "re furbished" so it did not come with a cd
Hi Stacey, it does sound like the system's operating software is corrupt or damaged 9a common problem on older or refurbished Macs), so you will need to obtain an OS installation disc to attempt a repair.
If you are unable to get one, a local computer repair shop or Apple store should be able to repair the OS for you.

Pete and 5 other Mac Specialists are ready to help you