How to resolve a flashing question mark on a Mac

Reviewed By Expert : Ravishan




Figure of flashing question mark on a Mac

Few things give Mac users as much anxiety as the dreaded flashing question mark. Here’s how to make a difference.

Few things fill Mac users with more dread than the infamous flashing folder with a question mark in the center of the screen when the computer first starts up. That is a hint that your Mac is unable to boot because it cannot locate its starting disk.

There are a variety of causes for it, from the more innocent to the more dangerous (you previously started up from an external disk and unplugged it). Whatever the cause, the essay that follows offers suggestions and solutions to assist.

Put the recovery mode on your Mac

The first step in trying to boot from your internal disk is to turn off the computer by pressing and holding the power button, then turn it on while pressing and holding the Command and R keys simultaneously until an Apple logo or globe appears. Your Mac enters recovery mode as a result.

By choosing Startup Disk from the Apple menu, you can modify the startup disk from here.


Fix the disk

You should launch Disk Utility from the utility window if you can’t see your startup drive. Click the First Aid tab by selecting your starting drive. Press Run.

If the fix is effective, restart your computer by choosing the disk from the Apple menu’s Startup Disk.


You’ll need to wipe the drive and reinstall macOS if the repair fails or you can’t see your starting disk in Disk Utilities.

What is a backup?

Making a backup of your system’s data allows you to retrieve it in the event that your originals are lost or corrupted. In the event that you remove older data from your system, you can restore copies of those files using backup.

Backup is a common method used by companies and organizations to safeguard their crucial data, making it one of the most important elements of a company’s disaster recovery plan and business continuity strategy.

Make a data backup

Choose Restore from Time Machine Backup in the macOS utility box if you have a recent Time Machine backup.

With Google One, you can automatically backup your mobile device so that you have a cloud backup of your photographs, movies, texts, and other files. When you obtain a new device, restore from your backup to get your data back.

If you’ve recently been creating a bootable copy of your computer using, for example, Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper, you may plug that in, choose it as the Startup Disk, restart, and wait for the Setup Assistant.

You’ll need to create a backup if you don’t already have one.

Open Disk Utility after plugging in an extra external drive. Erase the external drive by selecting the Erase tab. When it’s finished, click Utilities and then select Reinstall. Be careful to use the external disk you just deleted.


Wait for your Mac to restart while you follow the steps. Select the option to migrate data from another disk when the Setup Assistant appears, and then choose the default startup disk.

Once the Setup is complete, wait to finish. Verify your data is on the external drive once it’s finished.

Solutions for Data Backup

There are several different kinds of backup solutions and tools on the market that offer various RPOs, and RTOs, and manage various scopes. These are the most widely used ones.

Hardware Equipment

These appliances frequently come with storage, which is installed and connected to your network as a 19″ rack-mounted device. The installation and configuration of the appliances are simple. Most of the time, you don’t need to install any software, provision a separate server, or install an operating system. The backups are done by the agents installed on your systems, and you access the solution through a graphical interface offered by the appliance.

Solutions for Software

Software programs that you install on your own PCs take care of backup management. While many solutions let you use your current infrastructure, others demand dedicated servers that are only used for backup. You must install and set up the operating system as well as the backup program for these. You can frequently install the program on a virtual machine.

Internet Services

Many vendors provide backup-as-a-service (BaaS), a cloud-based solution that enables you to deploy lightweight agents on your machines and provision and manage your backups from the vendor’s or service provider’s cloud infrastructure. Because there are no systems to provision or operating systems to set up, the BaaS is even more straightforward than software.

Solution for Hybrid Data Backup

All-in-one hybrid backup solutions, which provide you the flexibility to install the software or utilize it as a cloud service at will, are the most recent advancement in the backup industry. The greatest option for many organizations, these solutions blend the best of both worlds.

Reinstall macOS after wiping your starting disk

Disk Utility now allows you to delete the default startup drive. Restart in the recovery mode using the external disk, then select Reinstall and choose your Mac’s original startup drive this time. Choose the migrate data option once more when your Mac has restarted and this time select the external disk as the source for the data you wish to relocate.

Your starting drive should then have a fresh installation of macOS with all of your stuff still present.

In case of emergency, call a genius

If none of the aforementioned solutions work, your drive might have a hardware issue. The best line of action is to schedule a meeting with a Genius at your local Apple Store and request assistance.

How to remove the question mark from a Mac folder

Your laptop can’t find a starting disk if you notice a flashing folder with a question mark when it first boots up on your OS. This might also imply that the selected startup drive is empty of the OS.

When it comes to a Mac flashing folder with the dreaded question mark, there are two possible outcomes: either you see it momentarily and continue to load, or the flashing question mark folder lingers and that’s all you see on your screen.


How do I resolve Mac issues with the question mark folder?

There is nothing wrong if it briefly flashes with a question mark before continuing to boot. Only the starting disk setting in System Preferences has to be changed. Your bootable hard disk is NOT your Mac’s default boot device.

What should I do if my Mac starts up with a blinking question-mark folder?

If the flashing Mac folder with a question mark only displays when you boot your device, it signifies the default boot volume isn’t set up properly.

How can I resolve a Mac starting issue?

  1. Safe mode restarts your Mac.
  2. To find out if any of your login items are incompatible, check them.
  3. To fix your starting disk on a Mac, use the Disk Utility software.
  4. Do a disk backup before reinstalling macOS.
  5. Utilize macOS Recovery, a feature of your Mac’s integrated recovery mechanism.

There is a box with a question mark in it

In iOS, an issue that causes “question mark boxes” to appear in place of the letter I have been validated by Apple. Users have reported seeing tweets, emails, and other online information with the letter “A” and a question mark in a box.

My Mac starting disk has to be reinstalled

While your Mac is rebooting, hold down Command and choose Disk Utility. Once Disk Utility has loaded, select the disk you want to repair by selecting “Repair Disk”; the default name for your system partition is typical “Macintosh HD”.

How can I enter recovery mode on bootup?

When you see the Android mascot on its back on the screen, release your grip on the Power and Volume Down buttons after a few seconds of holding them down for each.
When you’ve located Recovery mode, hit the Power button to load it by pressing the Volume Down button to cycle through the available options.

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