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Flashing Question mark on starting screen?

Hi everyone.My Macbook air which i bought a year ago,is giving me blinking question mark whenever i try to start it up.I tried everything that is written on the Apple website,tried formatting internal 'Macbook HD' etc.If i try to install mac osx El Capitan from osx utility window,it gives me an error telling me that the additional components cant be downloaded.So according to apple,there is one way of fixing it which i haven't tried yet,to download El Capitan on an external drive or usb.I know it might slow down the performance,if it works,how much space does it take?Is an 32 gb flash drive will be enough or do i need more storage?

Thanks for all answers

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Sounds like your internal SSD drive is having major problems here ;-{

First, I would visit an Apple Store or Apple authorized service center to see if this is covered under an extended warranty program. At this point if it's not covered you still will need a new drive (thats assuming the drive is faulty vs something else). OWC offers a 3rd party replacement SSD which might be the best way to go here if you must buy a new drive. Here's what they offer: MacBook Air 11" & 13" Mid 2013, 2014, and 2015.

If you still want to see if you can recover your current drive you'll need to either connect your system to another Mac or setup a bootable USB drive with the OS installer so you can re-install the OS.

I would recommend hooking up your system to another Mac first using Target Disk Mode following this Apple T/N: Use target disk mode to share files between two Mac computers Then you can use the other Mac to test and re-install the OS on your systems drive which you can download from the App Store from the other Mac.

If you can't do that then you'll still need to gain access to a second Mac but this time using a USB thumb drive setup an install drive following this guide: How to create a bootable macOS Sierra installer drive

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Thank you! So does this mean that i can't use an external drive to run my macbook?

You could, if you really couldn't get a new internal SSD drive for your system. But, that would be tying one hand behind the systems back here :-{

FYI: A USB drive is only about 1/3 the speed of the internal SSD.

Can you find a friend who has a Mac to hook yours to? You might want to see if this 'Hail Mary' will get you going if you need to save for the new drive.

I still would make my way to Apple ASAP to at least see if the drive is covered under warranty. You didn't get your system wet or banged up to the point it would be a question did you? At least find out whats wrong and let us know maybe we can pull a rabbit out of the bag still ;-} Good Luck!

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