Missing file system - macbook fails to boot


My son has a macbook with OSX 10.4.7. Several days ago it suddenly stopped, and when he tries to reboot it nothing happens - he gets a white screen which lasts for several minutes, then a flashing folder with a question mark shows up in the middle. It appears not to be able to find a file system.

I tried using the install disk to recover from - it starts up and I get to the "select a destination" menu, and there is no destination volume listed, the list is empty.

Does this mean my disk is fried? Can anyone suggest where I go from here? The machine is under warranty still, but without looking at it Apple repair (in Beijing) told me it is software, and they would reload without attempting to recover or save anything on the disk now.

Thanks for any suggestions,



If you boot to your installer DVD, you will find that you can open Disk Utility from the Utilities menu.
If your hard drive shows up there, you can try the Repair Disk button.
If the hard drive does not show up, then the drive may not be recoverable (no data can be retrieved). This situation is a good time to try DiskWarrior, which sometimes works miracles, or simply proves that the drive is bad. You could try contacting one of the data recovery services, such as DriveSavers. Be prepared to spend a lot of money to get your data, if that is possible (sometimes data recovery is just not possible).
Or, Apple can just replace the drive, because it has failed. You can do your own restore then.


Tech-Bot 5000
Also try restarting while holding the command + S buttons together till you see a black screen with white text. Type this at your earliest opportunity (in the cursor/prompt):

fsck -f

Wait for the process to finish. At the next cursor/prompt type:


Might fix your issue. Otherwise, do what DeltaMac says.


Thanks for the tips. I brought it in, and they think disk (I am hoping for controller). The data is probably gone, a relatively cheap way to teach him the necessity of backups.