Yeah, sounds like the NVIDIA issue. If you purchased your computer in 2007/2008, this is most likely the cause. I just had this happen to mine over the past week. Unfortunately for me, they no longer want to support any computers after the 4 year window as addressed here: http://support.apple.com/kb/TS2377. If yours is still within that time frame, you shouldn't have any problem getting the replacement. If not, you're left in the cold, as I had just experienced with mine which was over by a few months, although it was the NVIDIA chip issue, they didn't want to cover it. I was given an offer to pay $500 something dollars for a fix.
Issue has been addressed here: https://discussions.apple.com/message/9412484#9412484
You can try to boot from firewire target disk mode if you have another laptop. http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1661
you might want to try booting from the target disk mode on your computer, while connected to your friend's through firewire. Basically holding T key down as your computer boots up. Your computer should then show up on your friend's desktop as a drive....unless you've already taken out your hard drive. You could then make a bootable clone of your drive on another spare drive.
Another option is to open the Mac up, remove the hard drive and place in a enclosure or use a IDE/SATA to USB adpater cable and connect to a second Mac (or PC with MacDrive installed, or Linux PC) and and access your drive that way.
If your going to transfer files on a PC to a external drive, format the external drive exFAT on the PC that way you can read it with the new Mac or PC or whatever your going to get next.
If your using a Windows XP box, download the exFAT from Microsoft.
It's possible to use Migration Assistant or Setup Assistant against the old drive if you purchase a new Mac.
You can use Migration Assistant to move your users to your friends Mac, but that could cause a space/issues.
Likely best just to grab your files, erase your User account (create a new one and delete the old one) then use Disk Utiliy Erase Free Space 0x-7x then place the drive back into the computer and take it in for service if you wish.
Video's here how to open up your Mac
Hi, I have backed up my data and ready to take it to the genius bar on Tuesday. I just want to scheck something; if it is the NVIDA issue is it likely that this stops the machine for booting i.e. would it still boot but the simply fail to paint the graphics ? Also if my machine is booting I would expect that I should be able to toggle the caps lock key, in my case the caps lock does not toggle.
Conclusion, machine fails to boot and paint graphics (black screen). Is this syytomatic of the NVIDA issues ?
I had a Nvidia failure and the MBP would boot and display the distorted video.
Here is the Apple info:
What to look for:
- Distorted or scrambled video on the computer screen
- No video on the computer screen (or external display) even though the computer is on
Specific products affected:
- MacBook Pro 15-inch and 17-inch models with NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics processors
- MacBook Pro (17-Inch, 2.4GHz)
- MacBook Pro (15-Inch, 2.4/2.2GHz)
- MacBook Pro (Early 2008)
- These computers were manufactured between approximately May 2007 and September 2008
As you can see there is no mention of faiing to boot. Keep your fingers crossed and maybe it will be something simpler.