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Ashik, Mac Technician
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 11178
Experience:  Bachelor of Computer Application (BCA), 9+ Years of Experience in troubleshooting Macs, iPhone, iPad, iPod etc
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My mac book air crashed and shows a file folder with a

Customer Question

Hi, My mac book air crashed and shows a file folder with a question mark when I turn on. I can get to the restore through Internet; however, I don't want to loose all my files. I have another Mac. I don't have it with me but can get it tomorrow from my mom. I noticed in the post above you told the man that he could recover his files if he had another Mac. Could you explain this process please? Thanks in advance for any guidance you can provide.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mac
Expert:  Ashik replied 2 years ago.

Hi Christy and Welcome. My Name is ***** ***** I look forward to assisting you today with your question.

The folder with question mark is a serious issue. It indicates that either the system files are corrupted or the storage has failed. If this is just the system files, you can reinstall the OS X from the Mac OS X Utilities screen to fix the problem.

If you can get the other Mac, then you can connect both to recover your files and the process is called Firewire/Thunderbolt Target Disk Mode. See here -->

If this is a Mid 2011 or later Macbook Air, then your Mac has the Thunderbolt port. If your Mom's Mac falls in any of the following below, then it also has the Thunderbolt port.

  • MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Late 2012) and later
  • MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2012) and later
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, Early 2011) and later
  • MacBook Pro (15-inch, Early 2011) and later
  • MacBook Air (11-inch, Mid 2011) and later
  • MacBook Air (13-inch, Mid 2011) and later
  • Mac mini (Mid 2011) and later
  • iMac (Mid 2011) and later
  • Mac Pro (Late 2013)

So you have to get the Thunderbolt cable to setup Target Disk Mode.

You can also buy Disk Warrior (powerful disk utility application) and try to repair your storage/memory or recover your files with it. If it is unable to fix the storage, then it will at least help you to recover the files that are readable and save them to an external drive. Get it from here :

Disk Warrior is costly. If you don't want to recover any files, then you don't have to buy Disk Warrior. It is not worth it if you don't have any important files/applications to recover.

If you have any questions or would like any additional information, please don't hesitate to ask.

Remember, this is not my final answer. If my solutions didn't work please don't rate me bad or poor. Instead please reply back to me and I will continue to help you until we fix the problem or you are satisfied.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for your response. I will try this tomorrow when I get the other computer. Both are Mac book air and I believe are 2012 or 2013, so they should have the thunderbolt port. I will respond tomorrow if it didn't work or I'm unable to complete the steps correctly. Thank you.
Expert:  Ashik replied 2 years ago.

You're most welcome and Good Night !

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hello again,I have the other mac book now and have verified they both have the thunderbolt port. I found a cord, I hope they have it in stock, but I wanted to see if I could attach the photo to make sure that it is the correct one before I buy it. What should I do next if they do have it in stock? How will I know if my computer's hard drive is wiped or if it is all there, somewhere, anywhere for me to retrieve? Thanks so much!!!
Expert:  Ashik replied 2 years ago.

That cable is correct one. If you send me the link I will verify it.

The best way to know is by connecting both Macs in Target Disk Mode. Or boot into Utilities select Disk Utility and do you see anything in the left column

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I was hoping to buy it tonight or tomorrow in town, but I called and checked around and couldn't find one. I really didn't want to have to order one and wait; however, I live in a small town and the nearest apple store is 2 hours away. It looks like I might be shopping on Amazon and seeing if I can get one delivered in a day or two. Just to be clear, it has to be a thunderbolt to thunderbolt cord? It can't be a thunderbolt to USB cord? Those appear to be a little easier to come by, so I wanted to double check and make sure it has to be that specific one to complete the file transfer off of my computer to hers. Thanks again! I'll keep you posted and send a link if I find one that I am going to order.
Expert:  Ashik replied 2 years ago.

No, don't buy Thunderbolt to USB. It won't work. Only Thunderbolt to Thunderbolt will work.

Expert:  Ashik replied 2 years ago.

Can you boot your Mac to OS X Utilities screen, then open Disk Utility and see if you can see the drive there ?