I’ve been given a MacBookPro A1278 to fix. Suddenly it had just refused to boot, displaying a Flashing Folder of Death (FFoD).
What is it with Apple & the lack of informative messages? We don’t want to bother your pretty little head with information. My pretty little head hurts.
What I want to do is insert a bootable diagnostic system to diagnose and fix the problem. The Mac doesn’t come with this.
I found some startup key combinations for Mac. Some don’t work. I wanted the Mac to tell me something which might be helpful, but V Verbose mode was unforthcoming. Information please!
I know the disk has a recovery partition. Recovery sounded good. I tried R. This invited me to pick a WiFi. I picked mine. I put my password in. After a long wait with no information it gave me an error message: 2002F What is this? I tried again. Big long wait: 1005F. Eh? All I want is a diagnostic & it’s forcing me onto the internet, to some server, somewhere…
In desperation, I asked for help from Apple online. Without too much of a wait I received an automated landline call back. Some more waiting online & a pleasant Irish lady asked me to try things I’d already tried. Apparently 2002F and 1005F are network/internet errors. I had not found this information online. What is so hard about giving the actual error message, no DNS access or whatever? She referred me to her supervisor & he advised me to do a Disk Verify, erase the disk & run a restore from the backup. So I ignored this advice.
I guessed there was a problem with DHCP. As I have few internet devices, I give each an IP address, so no DHCP needed; it’s so simple! A couple of devices are too dumb to accept this, so in the router settings, I allow DHCP for two IP addresses. I’d omitted to add DNS addresses to DHCP as my devices don’t need it.
I set DNS as the local router address & tried recovery mode. This appeared to download something from the internet…eventually and Disk Utilities started. Disk Verify couldn’t see the hard disk. It could only see disk0, presumably some internal “disk” for BIOS or whatever?
I took the disk out and put it in a USB caddy. I plugged it into my Ubuntu Linux machine. It would not mount.
fsck.hfsplus -q /dev/sdb1
revealed no hfs signature found
sgssecurity.org’s TestDisk said: BAD MAC partition, invalid block signature, bad DPME signature. Not a happy disk, but the disk hardware was running OK.
showed 3 partitions: EFI, the main partition and a recovery partition. After gparted, I found the disk would mount & I could see folders. It looks like Linux! I backed up my user folder in the Users folder using gsync. I dismounted it.
I plugged the caddy into the Mac. Disk Verify could see it as “untitled”. It found errors. Repair Disk fixed them. DV ran clear of errors.
I put the disk back in the Mac. A long wait after re-booting delivered: the FFoD!
Remounting on USB, I tried holding down C on bootup: start up from a bootable. After a progress bar (progress towards what? Messages please!) it displayed: the Flashing Stop Sign of Death, or maybe a no-entry sign; I expect it means something in the USA. Informative messages please!
I tried an OS X re-installation via Disk Utilities. I set it going. It was downloading a lot from the internet, slowly. How about a bootable DVD or a USB stick Apple?
In the morning I found: FFoD! Disk Verify still ran clear. Disk Utilities offered me a boot from “untitled” with OSX 10.11.4 on it. After a ding and a blank and a wait I got: the FFoD!
I put the disk back into the Mac & rebooted: FFoD (and no helpful information). Disk Verify did not see the disk. So there must be a hardware fault.
I had a brainwave: maybe the PRAM settings have to be compatible with the specific version of the OS? (now 10.11.4) I put the disk back on USB & switched it on & held down PR to re-flash the PRAM. A progress bar displayed for a while & then it booted via USB. The system ran!
So I still have a hardware fault to find & fix. I hope it’s just the disk cable.
I don’t like this Mac. I wouldn’t buy one myself.
17-May-2016: a replacement disk cable arrived today. I put it in & the Mac is running again with the disk installed inside it. I had examined the original cable (821-1480-A) carefully under a magnifying glass, but could see no fault. I’ve actually bought a slightly different part number (821-0814-A); it’s a slightly longer cable, probably for a slightly different logic board, but it works.
18-May-2017 – update
Grant Bennet-Alder on https://discussions.apple.com/thread/7865927?language=en
“The folder with question mark (FFoD?) says: could not find a bootable Volume in the place you told me to boot from.
The World Icon says you have dropped into your Mac’s ROM version of Internet Recovery, bypassing the recovery partition on your drive (which does not bode well for the health of your drive).
The -1005 and similar errors are usually an indictment of your Wi-Fi network being inaccessible, using a hidden SSID network-name, not using DHCP, requiring PPPoE, or requiring a proxy or using a login page”.