MacBook Pro boots up showing a folder with a flashing question mark

This dreaded flashing question mark inside a folder means that the startup disk is no longer able to find a Mac operating system to boot from. There are a few things you can try to do to fix this yourself.

Reboot MacBook pro and then hold the Command (⌘) and R keys on your keyboard to startup from the macOS Recovery. I did this and was able to go through disk diagnostics telling me that there were some disk errors. I proceeded to fix what I could but found that on subsequent reboots to macOS Recovery showed different partition errors. Sometimes the disk utility completed successfully but other times it would stop repairing even if left overnight.

If you did have a failing disk drive, the marked errors would be consistent and multiple passes will bypass these marked errors. I had erratic results however which led me to believe it may or may not be a bad disk. The next investigation should be to look at the disk drive connections to the SATA controller.

Open the MacBook pro and take a look at the disk drive. Once opened, I removed the drive, took the make and model of the drive in case I needed to purchase a replacement, and placed it back in. I noticed that it was a little loose on and that re-seating it made it more secure.  I powered it back on normally to see if it would find the Mac operating system and voila, it did.

If it didn't work, the final fix would be to replace the drive and reinstall the Mac operating system from scratch. So you better have the installation media and backups of your files to restore from. Failing that, bring it over to us and we can take care of it for you.


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