How To Troubleshoot A Mac With A Flashing Question Mark?

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If a question mark is getting displayed on your Mac, then it simply means that it is facing a problem for searching a bootable OS. Generally, the Mac does the booting process so quickly that you shall not be able to observe the displayed question mark. Exceptions do exist. Sometimes it keeps showing the question mark symbol for some time, or it may get frozen there itself for a longer time.

At the time question mark is getting displayed, the Mac checks from every disk for an OS it can use. If it is able to search for any, the device will be done with the booting. You can make this procedure simple and short by choosing a ‘startup disk’ in ‘System Preferences’.

The ways of fixing a Mac with a flashing question mark

How to eliminate the search process by choosing a startup disk in System Preferences

  1. Press ‘System Preferences’ in the Dock. Alternatively, press the System Preferences from the menu of Apple.
  2. Then, press Startup Disk preference pane.
  3. Look that the number of drives which are presently attached to the device and comprise OS X, macOS or any other bootable OS downloaded on them shall be shown.
  4. Press on the padlock symbol placed at the end and corner side.
  5. After that, give your administrator’s password.
  6. Next, check the list of present drives and choose the one that you would prefer for using as your Startup Disk.
  7. Lastly, you have to restart your device.

The method of using disk utility for repairing a disk

  1. Firstly, go to Disk Utility. For visiting it, you first need to press on Applications and then on Utilities.
  2. Then, look that Disk Utility shows the ‘Mount Point’ of each volume attached to it
  3. After that, in the Disk Utility Sidebar, choose a volume.
  4. Next, look at the Mount Point that has been put in the Volume info location towards the below and center of the window.

Note: If you get the forward slash symbol, then it implies that the volume is used as the ‘startup drive.’ And whenever it is not, then its mount point is usually named as / Volumes/(volume name) in which the (volume name) shall be the name given to the chosen volume.

  • Then, keep choosing volumes in the Disk Utility till getting the startup volume.

Lastly, as the user got to know about the volume that has been preferred as the startup disk, they shall be able to go back to the ‘Startup Disk’ preference pane for putting perfect volume as the startup disk.

Nick Hollins is a Microsoft Office expert and has been working in the technology industry since 2002. As a technical expert, Nick has written technical blogs, manuals, white papers, and reviews for many websites such as

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