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Probably a dead HD

282 Views 8 Replies Latest reply: Nov 27, 2012 10:22 AM by Courcoul RSS
Arthur W Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Nov 26, 2012 9:29 AM

Hello everyone,


Having owned my MacBook pro for only a year, I was always very pleased with it's performance, up until this morning.

On opening my MacBook (I'd left it on last night), I pressed command+Q to quit my current application. It took a while to load, and the computer tot slightly unresponsive, so I just gave it the time to do it's thing, when sudderly the screen just went black. At that point notering I idd worked, but the rotating light on the front was on, so I knew the computer was stil on. In the end, I decided to just turn it off by holding the power button: I'd expected that to just fix the crash and get my Mac werking again. However, booting failed: I got the blinking folder with a question mark on it. Confused, I used a university computer to acces the internet, and I came to this guide:, among others. Seeing it was recent and looked professional, I followed the steps. However, this led me to the conclusion my hard drive was no longer recognized by the computer. Non of the various actions told me there was even a disc there. Is there any other way for me to do anything about this?


Any and all comments are appreciated. I will be taking it to the applestore tomorrow either way, because after spending my entire day on this, I'm pretty certain there is something very wrong with my HD. Also, I apologize for any spelling mistakes, writing this on a dutch Ipad. Also, I'm running on OSX Lion.





MacBook Pro, OS X Lion, harddrive failure
  • Courcoul Level 6 Level 6 (11,180 points)
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    Nov 26, 2012 9:46 AM (in response to Arthur W)

    Does it boot from the Recovery Partition? What's the SMART status of the internal drive when you run Disk Utility off the Recovery Partition?


    Offhand, I'll bet on some degree of file corruption due to an improper shutdown, that's impeding booting, rather than outright drive failure. In my 8 Mac portables spanning more than 20 years, I've only had a single drive failure; even when my Early 2008 MBP croaked of a dead logic board last Winter, the HDD was extracted intact and lives on now in an external enclosure.

  • Courcoul Level 6 Level 6 (11,180 points)
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    Nov 27, 2012 7:39 AM (in response to Arthur W)

    Yes, Internet-based Recovery Mode is a fallback mechanism implemented since the Rise of the Lions (prior cats used physical install media which pulled double duty as recovery tools). If its Disk Utility instance can't "see" the storage device then there's either a comm problem or it is well and truly dead. If the device does show up (i.e., xxx.xxGB APPLE HDD blablabla) but no bootable Macintosh HD volume underneath, the drive lives but is corrupted, maybe fixable with a Repair Disk, else will need a complete repartition, reformat and reinstall.


    If it is dead, one last glimmer of hope is to suspect the SATA cable plugging the drive to the logic board. A known failure point; apparently the motion and vibration causes it to have false contacts. So you can try popping the Mac open and jiggling said cable to see if the drive resuscitates. Or pull the drive, stick in an external enclosure and see if it finally fires up. External USB enclosures go for about $10-$20; mind to use the infamous USB Y cable to ensure enough power for the drive.

  • Csound1 Level 7 Level 7 (32,380 points)
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    Nov 27, 2012 10:14 AM (in response to Arthur W)

    Arthur W wrote:


    In all honesty, I'd guess on the cable being the problem. Is it actually possible for a barely 1 year old HD to simply drop dead out of nowhere? :

    It is possible for a barely 1 minute old HD to fail.

  • OGELTHORPE Level 7 Level 7 (22,580 points)
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    Nov 27, 2012 10:20 AM (in response to Arthur W)

    Opening up a MBP, especially the Unibody, is not brain surgery.  OWC has videos that explain fully how it is done.  Unless you suffer from chronic fingerfumbleitis, do not fear, just go in and do it.




  • Courcoul Level 6 Level 6 (11,180 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 27, 2012 10:22 AM (in response to Arthur W)

    Where's your spirit of adventure ??!!?? 


    If it is within the base one-year period, rush out, purchase and activate the AppleCare warranty extension. Then, let Apple deal with the problem. May well turn out to be a case where the price of AC is amply recouped.


    Incredible as it sounds, I've come across at least 2 threads of problems similar to yours, where the issue turned out to be the friggin cable. Don't know if Apple has seen fit to solve it with better components. It beggars belief that they compromise a multithousand dollar computer with a measly cable costing a few bucks. For us oldtimers, it is reminiscent of Apollo 13, where a multimillion dollar mission and 3 lives were jeopardized by a $5 ballbearing. Or the Challenger shuttle, that blew up on launch due to a cheap rubber seal on the fuel tank.


    P.S. I prefer and their pictorial DIY procedures, with ultra-hires photos which you can examine at leisure, rather than a rushed and grainy Web video.


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