Introduction: Mac Startup Disk Not Showing In Disk Utility
Hello and welcome to another content rich article for your Mac. This time, we’ve come up with another big issue that Mac users face. The issue is about having no startup disk on Mac. More and more people are facing this issue on their Mac in the present times.
If you’re also going through this issue on your Mac then you need to read this article in its entirety. That’s because, in this article, I’ll tell you about how you can fix this problem on your Mac.
But first, let’s understand the crux of the problem. This problem regarding the startup disk happens when you’re trying to boot up your Mac. Do you see a folder with a big question mark inside it on the screen when booting up your Mac? Well, the folder with the question mark appears only for a few seconds.
So, I’m not sure if you’ve ever caught a glimpse of that. Now, the thing with this folder with a question mark inside it is that sometimes it can stay for hours, not letting your Mac boot. Or, sometimes it can be there only for a fraction of seconds, having no major influence on the booting process.
Anyway, the thing is, if you’re seeing this folder, it’s a sign that there’s no startup disk to choose on Mac. Calm down! Don’t worry. I’ll share with you some of the ways to overcome this problem. So, are you ready? Let’s begin.
Why Is My Startup Disk Not Showing For Mac?
Well, there are many reasons for the ‘Mac startup disk now showing in Disk Utility’ issue. I mean, it could be anything from a basic lag to a hardware or software related issue. That’s the reason why you need to run timely maintenance tests on your Mac. For instance, you can reset the repair permissions on your Mac or reindex the Spotlight.
If your Mac isn’t able to read the startup disk then it’ll not boot. Therefore, you need to do regular maintenance tests in order to make sure that your Mac device is running smoothly. Here are 4 of the highly useful and workable solutions for this problem:
- Repair your startup disk via macOS recovery.
- Work on your startup disk and get it detected in Disk Utility.
- Reset NVRAM on your Mac to get the issue fixed.
- Change your startup disk with a new, working one.
So, let’s try fixing the problem of ‘no startup disk on Mac’ with the help of these 4 workable solutions.
Startup Disk Repair Via macOS Recovery
In order to repair your startup disk via macOS recovery, you first need to access Disk Utility. However, you simply can’t access Disk Utility on your Mac by searching it on Spotlight because you’re unable to boot your Mac. Therefore, you need to access Disk Utility through macOS recovery mode to overcome the ‘Mac startup disk not showing in Disk Utility’ issue. Let’s start:
There are two separate ways of entering into the macOS recovery mode depending on whether you have an Intel processor or Apple silicon. If you have Apple silicon, you need to turn on your Mac and press and hold the power button.
You need to continue doing so till you see the startup options window. In that window, click on the gear icon, follow the instructions, and then click continue.
If you have an Intel processor, you need to turn on your Mac and press and hold the Command and R keys. You need to continue doing so till you see the official Apple logo on your screen.
- Once the options appear on your screen, you need to choose a specific user. Remember, when you select a user, your Mac will ask you to enter its password. Therefore, select only that user whose password you remember. Right after entering the password, click on Continue. Now, you’ll be taken into the macOS recovery mode.
- In the disk recovery mode, click on Disk Utility.
- In the Disk Utility window, you need to navigate to view. Now, click on Show All Devices.
- Now, are you able to see your startup disk? If yes, you need to follow the 5th step. On the other hand, if you’re unable to see your startup disk, you need to jump on the workable solution number 2 in this article. The ‘no startup disk on Mac’ problem occurs most of the time when you’re unable to see your startup disk.
- Select the startup disk you want to repair. Click on the First Aid option. Congratulations! Your Mac will now repair your startup disk by finding and repairing any errors.
Startup Disk Detection In Disk Utility
Disk Utility holds the power to repair any startup disk. However, things take a dramatic turn when you’re unable to see your startup disk in Disk Utility. Anyways, here’s what to do in order to make your startup disk appear in Disk Utility:
- The first thing to do when you’re witnessing the ‘Mac startup disk not showing in Disk Utility’ issue is shutdown your Mac and disconnect all its connected peripherals. Turn your Mac off.
- If you’ve installed macOS on an external hard drive, you need to take a quick look at its cables. Check whether the cables are all good and sound. Unplug them and then plug them back if you see that the cables are not properly connected.
- This should make the startup disk appear in Disk Utility. However, there’s only one way to find out. You need to follow the designated steps of solution 1. Now, if you’re still unable to see the startup disk in Disk Utility, you better take help from Apple Support.
If the folder with a question mark appears on your Mac screen momentarily, you need to follow the first two steps. However, if the folder with the question mark haunts you each time you try to boot your Mac, you need to reset the NVRAM.
Nonvolatile Random-Access Memory, also known as NVRAM, is the place that can store all the startup disk selection settings. Therefore, there’s a big chance of repairing your startup disk by resetting the NVRAm of your Mac. So, let’s do it.
- Shut down your Mac. Disconnect all the connected peripherals.
- Connect all the peripherals to your Mac and turn it on.
- As soon as your Mac starts turning on, press and hold a total of 4 keys. These keys are, Option, Command, P and R. You need to press and hold these 4 keys until the Mac boots up.
- When the Mac boots up, check whether the designated startup disk is selected in the Startup Disk Preferences.
Changing Startup Disk With A Different One
If the first 3 options shown in this article weren’t of any use to you, there’s no doubt in admitting the fact that your startup disk has somehow failed. Therefore, you need to choose a different startup disk for your Mac in order to work on it.
Plug in the external hard disk to your Mac and I’ll tell you how you can change the startup disk on your Mac for one time and every time.
- Turn off your Mac and disconnect all the peripherals. Connect them back after a few minutes.
- Now, you need to turn on your Mac by pressing and holding the power button. You need to press and hold the power button till you see the startup options on your Mac.
- Select the preferred Startup Disk from the available options and click on Continue. This should start your Mac properly, without having the ‘Mac startup disk not showing in Disk Utility’ problem.
- Turn on your Mac and click on the Spotlight search bar.
- Now, search for System Settings and click enter.
- In the System Settings, search for Startup Disk.
- Select your desired startup disk.
- Once you’re done choosing your desired startup disk, you need to restart your Mac.
- Boom! This should restart your Mac on your desired startup disk.
Avoiding The Issue With The External Startup Disk
Now that you’ve chosen an external startup disk on your Mac, you need to make sure that the problem in question doesn’t happen with this startup disk. Therefore, you need to take certain precautions while working on your Mac with the external startup disk. Here are some of these precautions:
Clean USB Port From Time To Time:
One of the big reasons why people incur the ‘Mac startup disk not showing in Disk Utility’ issue with their external startup disks is that they don’t clean their USB ports from time to time. When small dust particles get accumulated in USB ports, they negatively impact the functioning of the startup disk.
For instance, dirty USB ports can end up loosening the external startup disks. Or, they can even create short currents. Therefore, you need to clean the USB ports of your Mac every now and then. Now, you can clean the USB ports of your Mac with the help of a cotton bud. Insert the cotton bud into the port and try to remove the dust particles.
Update Your Operating System:
Did you know that an out-of-date operating system can be a reason for many of your Mac related problems? Well, it’s true. Updating the operating system of your Mac can help resolve a lot of problems. By updating the operating system of your Mac, you are improving its stability and performance, boosting its security, and minimizing all the potential risks of getting your files corrupted.
Therefore, updating the operating system of your Mac is your best bet. In order to do so, you first need to click on the Spotlight search bar.
Now, you need to enter System Settings.
In the System Settings, click on General, and then on Software Update.
Now, if there’s an update showing on your Mac screen, click on it.
Eject The Device Properly:
One of the biggest mistakes that people make with their external startup disks is that they eject their startup disks incorrectly. It’s not at all good to do so. This can be the reason for the ‘Mac startup disk not showing in Disk Utility’ issue. If you’re not ejecting your external startup disk correctly, you’re inviting a lot of trouble for your startup disk and Mac.
What happens when you eject the external startup disk incorrectly is that its operations get stuck in the middle. Your Mac starts using the cache of your external startup disk right from when you plug it in. Now, if you eject it all of a sudden, you are stopping your operating system from working on the cache of your external startup disk. This can lead to unfinished operations.
Therefore, you need to eject the device step by step in order to let your operating system clear its cache and finish all the background operations regarding it.
So, these were some of the few precautions that you need to practice in order to save your external startup disk from witnessing the ‘no startup disk on Mac’ problem. The external startup disk should always be in the right format as regards your operating system. Both your external disk and operating system are two parallel lines that need to stay parallel in order to perform smooth functioning.
The Bottom Line
So, these were some of the few ways you can overcome the ‘no startup disk on Mac’ problem on your Mac. I’ve tried enlightening you about each of the workable solutions to this problem in this article. However, if you still have some questions or you’re having trouble with any of the 4 workable solutions mentioned in this article then you can reach out to us in the comments section.
We’ll be more than happy to help you. I’ve also mentioned some of the precautions that you need to practice in order to save your external startup disk from having the ‘startup disk not showing Mac’ problem. Make sure you practice these precautions every now and then if not on a daily basis to avoid putting your Mac at risk of its files getting corrupted.
Priyanka is a tech enthusiast who likes to write about different kinds of topics in the tech industry. She has expertise in writing problem-solving guides related to Mac computers. You can find her on LinkedIn.