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Nathan H Level 2 Level 2 (360 points)
When I try to boot up my computer, I get a flashing folder with a question mark on it. However, when I move the hard drive to another computer and then boot up, there are no problems at all. Would I be correct in guessing that it's the hard drive cable at fault here? Has anyone had this problem, and if so, how did you fix it?

Nathan

Mac OS X (10.6.5)
  • 1. Re: Hard drive not recognized - cable?
    rkaufmann87 Level 8 Level 8 (42,145 points)
    It could be something as simple as the computer forgetting where the startup volume is. Please read this Apple Service Letter:



    http://support.apple.com/kb/TS1440



    Try it's suggestions and it may be OK. If the drive has failed then you will need to replace it however it's a very simple process, about 10 minutes. If have have been backing up then you should have nothing to worry about.

    Roger
  • 2. Re: Hard drive not recognized - cable?
    Nathan H Level 2 Level 2 (360 points)
    I've actually used the hard drive in another computer, and it boots up without any issues. Sometimes if I disassemble and fiddle around with the cable, the computer will boot up for a short time. After I try to wake it from sleep, it freezes, however. Regardless, the drive will power up and spin without any signs of damage, it's just not being read by the computer itself.
  • 3. Re: Hard drive not recognized - cable?
    rkaufmann87 Level 8 Level 8 (42,145 points)
    How is the drive formatted and have you tried a different cable? Also what kind of other computer was it connected to, have you tried another external HD to see if the computer boots OK with it?
  • 4. Re: Hard drive not recognized - cable?
    Nathan H Level 2 Level 2 (360 points)
    The drive is fine. It was in a MBP Unibody; I moved it to an older MB and it booted up fine. I ran diagnostics and there's nothing wrong with the drive itself. I'm pretty sure it's some sort of hardware problem within the MBP itself.
  • 5. Re: Hard drive not recognized - cable?
    rkaufmann87 Level 8 Level 8 (42,145 points)
    If the drive hasn't been re-formatted and had OS X (from the Install Discs that came with the NEW machine) installed that is exactly what your problem is! The version of OS X that was on the MBP Unibody is specific to that hardware installation and will not work in any other hardware configuration. What you are trying to do is have your new MBP look identical to your old MBP. This is possible but your short cut simply does not work. What you need to do is put the original HD that came in the MBP back in and the un-working HD back into your old MBP Unibody. Then you can run Setup Assistant or Migration assistant to migrate all the apps, data and settings from the old machine to the new one. If the old MBP isn't working for some reason then you can put that drive into an enclosure and do the same.
  • 6. Re: Hard drive not recognized - cable?
    Nathan H Level 2 Level 2 (360 points)
    Sorry, I don't think you understand what I'm trying to say. The drive just isn't recognized at all by my MBP when I open up Disk Utility via DVD. It powers up and spins, but the computer doesn't recognize it at all. It doesn't matter what sort of bootable drive I have in there, whether it is the original or one from another computer.
  • 7. Re: Hard drive not recognized - cable?
    rkaufmann87 Level 8 Level 8 (42,145 points)
    Well I'm not sure what is going on. I think it's time to take it into an Apple Store and have it looked at.
  • 8. Re: Hard drive not recognized - cable?
    Juan Monroy Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    I'm having the exact same problem. Did you ever figure out what was causing the problem?

    My computer just froze and then the blinking question-mark-in-folder icon appeared. I bought a new drive, thinking that original drive had gone bad, but that didn't work. It wouldn't show up in Disk Utility.

    I suspect that the cable has gone bad because I was able to get the computer to boot once, after swapping out the NEW drive I bought with the OLD drive. When I look in System Profiler, the NVDIA controller still shows up but the drive does not. I'm guessing that there is a broken link, and the break is between the drive and the controller, which would be the cable (right?).

    I hope you resolve this very frustrating hard drive problem.
  • 9. Re: Hard drive not recognized - cable?
    musicgod Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    has any one resolve this issue or know what is the fault.
    this seems like a manufactory fault. as a few people has the same fault,
    as I treat my macbook like a new born baby. I take good care of it.


    I have the same problem with 13 macbook pro unibody . late 2009. no apple care. lil bit over a year old
    My wife has the same specs macbook not the pro,
    so i swap out harddrive and memory. the drive from the faulty macbook pro worked fine in my wife macbook so is the memory cards.

    I took the macbook to apple store today. the apple agent was really helpful as usual. Nothing beats apple good customer service.
    I was told it looks like the the cable that connects from the drive to the logic board is the fault. so he placed an order for the cable. was told as a good will gesture they will only charge me for parts. which is about £12 for cable.
    So fingers cross I hope the cable is the fault. as i forgot to buy the apple care before the year was up.
    but then again for a lil bit over a year macbook pro with this fault should not me my fault.
  • 10. Re: Hard drive not recognized - cable?
    musicgod Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    this wiki link says apple knows of the harddrive cable fault

    http://appledefects.com/wiki/index.php?title=MacBook_Pro
  • 11. Re: Hard drive not recognized - cable?
    Juan Monroy Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    A trip to the Apple Store resolved this issue. It turned out to be the hard drive cable. I too was out of warranty and without Apple Care, and it cost $60 USD to fix. I was thankful that it wasn't the logic board but annoyed that such a blatant manufacturing defect existed.
  • 12. Re: Hard drive not recognized - cable?
    Knight Rider Level 2 Level 2 (445 points)
    Same problem here. Got the folder with the question mark. Tried swapping the hard drive with my back up with no luck. HD boots fine when connected externally. I ordered a cable from iFixIt.com, will report back when it comes in.
  • 13. Re: Hard drive not recognized - cable?
    musicgod Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Ok got my laptop back from apple, yes it was the harddrive cable that caused the fault.
    cost me £12 for repair they only charged me for parts at the apple store lakeside shopping mall UK.
  • 14. Re: Hard drive not recognized - cable?
    Knight Rider Level 2 Level 2 (445 points)

    Replacing the hard drive cable worked for me.

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