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Ask Max: Prevent the flashing question mark folder on startup.

Asked on 04/17/2007:

I have an iBook G4 that I just got from you guys refurbished. I had another one of similar vintage which I had given away and still had the start up discs, so I did a hardware check up. Everything came back fine. However, whenever I start up the computer, it first shows the question mark folder that looks like the classic folders, then goes into OSX. Is there some latent problem that I should be worrying about?


There is no need for worry, that flashing folder icon is what a Mac displays when it is searching for a boot volume. A Mac will keep looking for a boot volume until it finds one. That could be a hard drive, DVD/CD, or an external hard drive. The reason you see that flashing folder icon now, when you did not see it before on your other Macs, is that the hard drive has not been designated as the assumed boot volume. Your Mac has to look around for a second to find where OS is on the hard drive. The fix for that is simple. In OS X go to the System Preferences and select ™Startup Disk.™ In the Startup Disk preference you can select which version of the Mac OS that you want to boot from every time you start your Mac. If there is a locked padlock in the lower left corner you may need to click on it and enter your password before you can select your version of OS X.

Now when you start up your iBook it will start loading OS X without delay.

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