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Archived - Mac OS X: Flashing Question Mark Appears; Computer Unexpectedly Starts up From Mac OS 9

Reselect the startup disk when you see a flashing question mark or when the computer unexpectedly starts up from Mac OS 9.

This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.

Symptom

  • After you turn on the computer, a flashing question mark appears on the screen.
  • The computer may not start up or starts up from an alternate System Folder, such as the Mac OS 9 System Folder used by the Classic environment.



Solution

    1. Start up the computer from the Mac OS 9 System Folder.
    Note: If the computer does not start up successfully from Mac OS 9 a moment after the flashing question mark appears, then start up the computer using the Mac OS 9 CD-ROM disc included with Mac OS X 10.0, or the one that came with your computer. For best results, use Mac OS 9.2.1 or later.
    2. Double-click the hard disk icon to open it.
    3. Locate the System Folder in the hard disk and open it.
    Note:
    There is another folder named "System". That is not the right folder.
    4. Open the Control Panels folder.
    5. Open the Startup Disk control panel.
    6. Click the Mac OS X System Folder to select it.
    7. Restart the computer.


Important

    1. You should use Startup Disk 9.2.1, or later, which is available from Apple Software Updates (http://www.apple.com/swupdates/).

    2. Startup Disk 9.2.1 is not included on a Mac OS 9.0 or 9.1 CD-ROM disc. The version of Startup Disk located in the System Folder on your hard disk is most likely a later version. For this reason, do not use the Startup Disk control panel available from the Apple Menu when started up from CD-ROM. Use the Startup Disk control panel located in the System Folder on the hard disk instead.

    3. If you have installed licensed copies of Mac OS X on multiple disks on the same computer, see technical document 106220: "Mac OS X 10.0: May Start Up From Wrong System Folder When Multiple Versions Are Installed"

 

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Last Modified: Feb 20, 2012
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