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.
When I use either Command + R or option during boot, it never takes me to the Startup manager indicated here: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1310. Instead, it immediately goes to internet recovery. I've tried to work with the Disk Utility function, but I can't actually use it to repair permissions or anything: it shows me an existing drive, but its not my HD (that one simply doesn't show up), and the one it does show doesn't let me click any of the repair buttons. So, I simply can't evaluate my HD in any way, it seems, because my Mac doesn't seem to able to find it at all.
At the very least, you've given me some hope this'll get fixed, any further tips, etc. are greatly appreciated!
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.
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? :/
In all honesty, I'm not really comfortable opening up my Macbook on my own....
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.
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.
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 IFixIt.com and their pictorial DIY procedures, with ultra-hires photos which you can examine at leisure, rather than a rushed and grainy Web video.