How to Fix a MacBook Pro That Can’t Mount Its Startup Disk

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Experiencing a MacBook Pro that refuses to mount its startup disk can be a disheartening ordeal. The startup disk, being the heart of your Mac’s operating system, is crucial for booting and running the system efficiently. However, like any technology, it’s not immune to issues. In this narrative, we’ll guide you through the steps to tackle this problem, ensuring you can get your MacBook Pro back up and running smoothly.

Recognizing the Signs of Startup Disk Issues

Imagine this: you boot up your MacBook Pro, and instead of the familiar login screen, you’re greeted by a blinking folder with a question mark or, perhaps, an unending series of reboots. These are telltale signs that your Mac can’t find or access the startup disk, leading to the dire situation where you can’t use your device. This predicament might stem from a corrupted startup disk directory, file system issues, or even hardware problems.

Strategies to Revive Your MacBook Pro’s Startup Disk

If you find yourself in this daunting situation, don’t despair. Several strategies can help breathe life back into your MacBook Pro:

Reset NVRAM or PRAM: These small amounts of memory store certain settings and can affect the startup process. To reset, turn off your Mac, then turn it on and immediately press and hold the Option, Command, P, and R keys. Release the keys after about 20 seconds. This action resets the system settings stored in NVRAM or PRAM.

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Boot in Safe Mode: Starting your Mac in Safe Mode performs a check of your startup disk and can resolve certain issues. To enter Safe Mode, start your Mac and immediately press and hold the Shift key until you see the login window.

Use Disk Utility: Disk Utility can repair disk-related issues. Start your Mac in Recovery Mode by restarting your Mac and holding down Command + R until the Apple logo appears. Then, choose Disk Utility from the macOS Utilities window. Select your startup disk and click First Aid.

Reinstall macOS: Sometimes, reinstalling the operating system is the best way to solve complex issues. You can do this by booting into Recovery Mode, choosing ‘Reinstall macOS’ from the macOS Utilities window, and following the on-screen instructions.

Seek Professional Help: If none of the above steps work, it might be a hardware-related issue. Visiting an Apple Store or contacting an authorized service provider is advisable.

User Experiences and Community Discussions

Many users have navigated the choppy waters of an unmountable startup disk. Community forums and discussions offer a wealth of knowledge and shared experiences. In these discussions, users often emphasize the importance of backing up data regularly to avoid losing critical information during the troubleshooting process. If you’re looking for more personalized advice or wish to share your own experiences, engaging in these community discussions can be invaluable. Join the conversation and learn from others’ experiences by visiting Apple Support Communities.


Facing a MacBook Pro that can’t mount its startup disk is undoubtedly challenging, but it’s not the end of the road. By following the troubleshooting steps outlined above, you’re well-equipped to tackle the problem. Remember, staying calm and methodical in your approach is key. And if you ever feel out of your depth, Apple’s support network and the rich community of fellow users are always there to help guide you through the storm. With patience and persistence, you’ll have your MacBook Pro back to its optimal state in no time.


Q: What are the common signs that my MacBook Pro’s startup disk is having issues?

A: Common signs include a blinking folder with a question mark on startup, continuous rebooting, or the inability to reach the login screen.

Q: How can resetting NVRAM or PRAM help with startup disk problems?

A: NVRAM and PRAM store certain settings related to system startup. Resetting them can resolve issues where these settings have become corrupted.

Q: What is the purpose of booting in Safe Mode, and how can it help?

A: Safe Mode performs a check of your startup disk and can fix certain issues. It’s a diagnostic mode that starts your Mac with the minimum necessary system resources.

Q: When is it necessary to reinstall macOS?

A: Reinstalling macOS may be necessary when other troubleshooting steps fail to resolve system or startup disk issues, or when the system is severely corrupted.

Q: What should I do if none of the troubleshooting steps work?

A: If none of the steps resolve the issue, it’s advisable to seek professional help from an Apple Store or an authorized service provider, as the problem might be hardware-related.

Q: Why is it important to participate in community discussions or seek support?

A: Community discussions can provide personalized advice, shared experiences, and a wealth of knowledge from users who have faced similar issues.

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Roger Alexander
2 years ago

my MacBook 13 will not reboot from the Disk, I am locked out and don’t know my password. Do need to replace the hard drive?

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