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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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My MacBook has a white screen, then after several minutes,

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My MacBook has a white screen, then after several minutes, a blinking black file folder with a ? on it appears. I hear a "clicking sound" also.

Hello Bridget, my name is Dan.
I will do my best to help you, the only stupid question is the unasked one.

That folder means it cannot find anything to boot from. You mentioned a clicking sound, did you happen to have a DVD or CD in the optical drive?
If not then it could well be your hard drive has malfunctioned. That can make a clicking sound because of internal damage.
How old or new is the MacBook and what version of OS X is on it?
Is there any chance you have an Instal DVD?
A copy of TechTool or Disk Warrior?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I did not have a DVD or CD in the optical drive.


My MacBook is 8 years old and I believe the OS X version is fairly new...Snow Leopard (?).


I don't have a copy of TechTool or Disk Warrior, but I do have the Snow Leopard disk.

That SL disk will work. Turn it on if off and insert the DVD.
Then it may find it on its own. If not then turn it off.
Now hold the Option key down and start it up.
Keep Option pressed until you see a screen like this.
Most likely the only thing you will see is the DVD.
Select that and click the right arrow. It should boot up and we can run some tests.

Let me know.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

It's working! It asked to install Mac OSX, now I must select the disk wher I want to install the Mac OS X. My only choice is "Go Back"

That is a good thing, do not install anything yet.
First tell me how many startup disks were available to choose from?
Just the DVD or was there a Mac Hard drive also?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

There was a Mac Hard drive.

Ok, that is good. Now lets do some repairs on it.
At the top of the screen you will see a menubar.
Select Disk Utility.
Select the Mac Hard drive and this is what you will see.
Click repair drive, the above is grayed out, yours will be active.
After that finishes click Repair Permissions, there will be a long list, ignore the SUID file notice.

If it tells you the drive is unrepairable let me know.

Once this finishes you can quit the Utility and restart.

Keep me posted.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Repair drive is not a choice here.


My choices are: Matshita DVD-R UJ-857D or

Mac OS X Install DVD which I selected.


I get a menu with the following at the top: First Aid Erase Restore

If I select Restore, it says: To copy a disk or restor a disk image to a disk, select the source disk or disk image, select the destination disk, and then click Restore.


To select a source, I can do one of the following:

click Image to restore a disk image stored on disk or

drag a disk image from a web browser to the Source field or'

copy a disk by dragging it from the list on the left (Mac OS X Install DVD or the Matshita DVD)


I have the origianl installation disks. What should I do?


That means that your hard drive is toast and will need to be replaced. An 8 year old MacBook may be time to upgrade to a newer one, the drives are hard to replace in those.

I do hope that you backed it up, that clicking sound worries me, that usually is a bad thing.

The rest of the machine is good, I know that because it booted up, a new hard drive and all is better.

There are places to have it repaired apart from Apple or you can do it yourself if you have jewelers screwdrivers, a magnifying glass and an ice-cube tray (or something to keep track of all the screws).
I can give you the how if you give me the serial number.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Where would I find the serial number?

MacBook: How to find the serial number
That shows how and where.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Serial #: 4H6461UAWGL

MacBook Core 2 Duo Hard Drive Replacement - iFixit

That will walk you through the whole thing. They will also sell you a drive. They list the tools you need.
It is an easy procedure on that model.

All you need is a drive.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks, Dan. You've been a real help. I guess everything on my computer is lost...I have a exterior hard drive. I backed up a couple of months ago...yeah, dumb! But at least I have that. Thanks again. Bridge

Better than nothing. I back mine up every day at midnight, takes about 1 minute.
Easy when the drive is always connected, easy also if it is connected to a wireless router that can handle a hard drive.

If you should wish to set something like that up let me know. I can help.
There are data recover companies but they are costly. Depends on what the data is worth to you.

Glad I could help, I like it when I can.
Thank you.
Daniel and 3 other Mac Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Dan. Looked into replacing my hard drive myself..sounds easy enough. Then I checked into data recovery and found an article in Popular Mechanics Mag which referred to a data retrieval software product called PROSOFT DATA RESCUE I I, which is tailored for the Mac OS and Mac-formatted drives. Sounds intriguing.


The article goes on to instruct as follows: "Install the software, select the defective drive as your source, choose a destination folder to receive the data, making sure your recovery drive has enough space for the contents of the failed drive. Then be prepared to wait, and wait."


Do you know anything about this software?

It is a very good product, however, the drive has to be functional for it to work. Worth a try but it will set you back $100.00 to find out.
I have and use it myself, again, the drive has to run. You said a clicking sound, that, to me, sounds like a drive that cannot run, the drive motor is broken and the click is it trying.

I have used that utility more than once. It does work as it claims.

That help? I have been away on a mini vacation so just now saw your post.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks, Dan, for sharing these questions with me. None of them apply,
this time, but I still appreciate your mail. I did follow your advice and
ordered, received and installed a new hard drive from iFixit and everything
is ok. Thank you again. Bridget