MacBook Pro won't boot from internal hard drive, how to fix?

By Katrina | Posted to Mac Data Recovery, on January 17th, 2019 |

Hi, my MacBook Pro had a problem, someday it ran extremely slow, and I restarted it, when it was booting the little Apple turned into a circle with a slide cross and then into a folder...and then into the Apple...and so many times...I tried everything but couldn't make it work until I used friend's computer and booted it from external drive. What should I do?

Is your MacBook Pro/Air, iMac, Mac Mini not booting up after the latest macOS update? or seeing a black, gray screen of death? If so, you are not alone. Some users report that their MacBook Pro won't boot from the internal hard drive but will only boot from an external drive. But it's not the end of the world, you still have pretty good chances of fixing it without a technician's help. Here is what you can do.

Reasons your MacBook Pro won't boot from internal hard drive

In most cases, MacBook hard drive not booting can be caused by one or more of these, such as problem with the computer's PRAM, corrupted boot drive's directory, damaged or deleted system files, hardware issue.

First of all: Back up

Since you have a problem with your MacBook Pro hard drive, the usual course of action is to repair the drive and boot the computer. But have you backed up important data? If the answer is "No", it's advised to recover lost from the crashed/dead MacBook Pro before doing anything else. Because in this situation, the original data on the MacBook Pro is so fragile that any operation will overwrite it.

iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery is the best free Mac hard drive data recovery software that can recover lost data from dead/crashed/failed MacBook Pro/Air/iMac/Mac Mini, recover data from Macs with Apple's T2 security chip, recover lost data from unmountable APFS boot volumes, recover lost data after macOS Catalina 10.15/Mojave 10.14/High Sierra 10.13 update, recover lost data from corrupted APFS SSDs. on macOS Catalina 10.15/Mojave 10.14/High Sierra 10.13/10.12 and 10.11/10.10/10.9/10.8/10.7.

There is no need to take out the crashed MacBook Pro hard drive. You are allowed to create a bootable USB and recover lost data or run the software through iBoysoft Server.

Solution 1: If you have only one unbootable Mac computer

If you have only one computer at your hand, please click to see how to run iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery bootable media through iBoysoft Server. This method is the best way to recover lost data from the unbootable Mac.

Solution 2: If you have two Macs

step 1: Download, install and launch iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery on another Mac computer.

Step 2: Click iBoysoft Data Recovery on the menu bar and then select "Create Boot Drive".

iBoysoft Data Recovery create bootable drive

Step 3: Insert a USB drive into the healthy Mac computer.

iBoysoft Data Recovery create bootable drive

Step 5: Follow the wizard to create a bootable recovery drive on the USB drive.

iBoysoft Data Recovery create bootable drive

iBoysoft Data Recovery create bootable drive

Step 6: When the creation process completes, you can insert the USB drive into the unbootable MacBook Pro, and then start the Mac up.

iBoysoft Data Recovery create bootable drive

Step 7: Select iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery from the boot options.

Note: If you're running macOS Mojave or earlier, iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery will launch immediately when your Mac boots up. But, if your Mac is running macOS Catalina, you need two additional steps to launch this program.

Step 8: Wait for your Mac to boot up, open "Terminal" application from "Utilities" drop-down menu.

Open Terminal

Step 9:Run the following command:

'Volumes/Image Volume/'

Launch iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery Command

Follow the wizard to scan for the lost data on the MacBook pro hard drive.

Besides, the program also recovers data from formatted, unmountable, unreadable, inaccessible hard drives, external hard drives, USB flash drives, SD cards, memory cards, etc. It is able to support hundreds of file formats including documents, pictures, music files, videos, emails.

Solution 1: Reset your Mac's NVRAM settings

NVRAM stores information the computer needed before it loaded the operating system. If NVRAM get corrupted, your Mac might not start up correctly. To reset NVRAM settings, shut down your Mac, press the power button, and as soon as you power up the laptop, hold down Command-Option-P-R. Keep holding down those keys for about 20 seconds. Then let go and allow your Mac to continue starting normally.

Solution 2: Boot your Mac in Safe Mode

Starting your Mac in Safe Mode helps to check and prevent some software from automatically loading or opening. Press and hold the Shift key while tapping the power button to start your computer. Release the Shift key till you see the Apple logo and loading bar. If your Mac loads successfully in Safe Mode, try restarting without pressing any keys.

Solution 3: Use Disk Utility in Recovery Mode

When you have a problem with disks, the most common fix is to run First Aid to repair them. Even when your Mac doesn't start, you can also run it in Recovery Mode.

The first thing is to boot your Mac to Recovery Mode: hold down Command + R keys immediately after pressing the power button to turn on your Mac, release the keys until you see the Apple logo. From the macOS Utilities menu, select Disk Utility and click Continue. Then choose the system disk and click First Aid on the top menu bar. When the process is finished, click Done and restart your Mac.

Solution 4: Reset the MacBook Pro

Resetting the Mac will remove all data on the MacBook Pro startup drive, so please make sure you have made backups or restored important data with iBoysoft Data Recovery.

Step 1: Boot your Mac to Recovery Mode: hold down Command + R keys immediately after pressing the power button to turn on your Mac, release the keys until you see the Apple logo.

Step 2: Select Disk Utility from the macOS Utilities menu.

Step 3: Select the system drive from the side bar.

Step 4: Click on Erase from the top.

Step 5: Setup the required information to reformat the disk and click Done when finished.

Step 6: Go back to macOS Utilities screen and select Reinstall macOS. Follow the wizard to reinstall macOS.

Solution 5: Send your MacBook Pro to the local repair center

If none of the solutions above can't fix the boot failure, your MacBook Pro may have be physically damaged. In this case, you can only send it to local repair center or replace the internal hard drive with a new one.


Katrina is a data recovery expert @iBoysoft who loves to help readers solve various data recovery problems.