1 2 Previous Next 22 Replies Latest reply: Jan 7, 2014 10:41 AM by ScalaEnthusiast
ScalaEnthusiast Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

Last night I was working on my MBA (the one I am now typing this on) and all of a sudden, spinny little pinwheel of sadness and a totally unresponsive computer. I had to to a hard power down (hold power key until it cried uncle) and then attempted to boot it up again....white screen....for about several minutes. Powered off again and powered on again....white screen....for a few minutes...and then a big flashying folder with a question mark on it. After staring at it another few minutes in disbelief, I powered down and attempted to boot again with the option key, hoping that it was just "confused" about where the boot drive was.

 

At this point, it goes into "Remote Install Mode" (which is pretty freaking awesome, unless you think you just lost your hard drive) asks me for a wifi password and downloads the installer from Apple servers and brings me into what is effectively an OS installation screen. I choose disk utility to have a look at my hard drive to see what is going on and low and behold....no hard drive....nothing...only the disk image that was downloaded from Apple.

 

If there was any greater sadness than the spinny pinwheel, this was it. I am asking myself how a flash hard drive just stops working - I mean...nothing moves - its just happy little dancing bits moving around (ok, fine, the bits move...but nothing else.) So I schedule my appointment with the local genius bar...from my iPad...and go to sleep.

 

Fast forward to next morning (bypassing nighmares of failed backups and weird little munchkin people stealing my hard drive) and I am waiting for my oil to get changed at the local garage. Being ever hopeful, I fire my MBA up in the waiting room and 7 seconds later, there is my login screen.

 

And now here I am typing this question to the community wondering what just happened. What would cause the hard drive to simply disappear as though it died, and then reappear the next morning again as though nothing had happened?


MacBook Air, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.1)
  • 1. Re: MBA SSD Failure...then it works again...??
    fowlerryan Level 3 Level 3 (515 points)

    This seems very perculiar! When its owrking, go into disk utility and do a verify and repair on the disk and see if that has any effect?

     

    Ryan

  • 2. Re: MBA SSD Failure...then it works again...??
    ScalaEnthusiast Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for the suggestion, but I had tried that after it happened a second time. I booted the MBA from Apple's cloud server (part of Recovery) and ran the utility. It showed that there was no hard drive in the laptop.

     

    Fast-foward one-week later and a visit to the genius bar - just received my laptop back from being sent to Apple's Service Center.

     

    SSD Drive failed and had to be replaced. This particular unit was the Samsung one and no one at the genius bar had ever heard of the SSD failure before. I got the impression that it was acutally the controller on the drive that had failed, but I can't be certain.

     

    After a restore from a full time machine backup, all is well with my MBA. Posting this update from the very machine.

     

    Carvel

  • 3. Re: MBA SSD Failure...then it works again...??
    ycherniavsky Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I have exactly the same issue with my MacBook Air 13-inch 256GB, Mid 2012!

     

    I notice that when CPU temperature rice 95-100C (during heavy tasks) for several minutes, all system is freezing.

    Then I must shut down MBA by hard power down. If I try to turn on MBA right away, I get white screen and after several minutes big flashing folder with a question mark rise on. But If I wait for 10-15 minutes and MBA cool down – system start up properly.

     

    ScalaEnthusiast, is this the same behavior as your and I need to change SSD Drive?

  • 4. Re: MBA SSD Failure...then it works again...??
    ScalaEnthusiast Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Yes, that appears the be the exact same behavior I experienced. Backup the hard drive and then take your Air to an Apple store and have the drive replaced under warranty. Apple tested everything in mine and determined it was the hard drive - replaced at no cost. Just took a couple days for them to send it out and get it back.

  • 5. Re: MBA SSD Failure...then it works again...??
    Golf25Radioman Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    I think I experienced an SSD failure today.  Out of the blue the screen went blank - there was some texture to it but the desktop was gone.  I did the force shut down, waited, rebooted and the boot screen (the little Apple) and the surrounding area had a pink tinge to it.  When it was supposed to go to the second Apple it just went to a blank screen.  I waited, nothing.  Noticed the fans came on.  Forced another shutdown, tried rebooting into another partition on another disk (MBPro with the SSD in the optical drive) drive (in the regular place) but it too had the pink tinge and all the other above.  First I thought "maybe this is what a display failure lookslike."  I used my iPad to look around in Apple Support and nothing came up like this.

     

    I had another drive, an SSHD (hybrid SS) which had my whole system on it but only about five months old.  It booted just fine, all was back to normal.  I keep a "mirror" of my boot HD, so I booted to it and did a mirror of it to the SSHD and I'm up and running, only lost a few Outlook mails I sent today. 

     

    I placed a request for a replacement SSD, but am curious if anyone has experienced a similar failure.  Scared the crap out of me when I thought the display failed.  Not that this was any fun but I don't want to think what a PITA it would have been to replace the display - even with AppleCare.

     

    Tom

  • 6. Re: MBA SSD Failure...then it works again...??
    Golf25Radioman Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    Oh... System: MacBook pro late 2011, 2.3 GHz, 16 GB RAM, OS 10.8.3.  The SSD was a SanDisk (256 GB), the SSHD is a Seagate Momentus (500 GB), the other HD is also a Seagate 750 GB Momentus.

  • 7. Re: MBA SSD Failure...then it works again...??
    sabatica Level 2 Level 2 (210 points)

    This is a known issue that seemed to randomly affect a small number of the 2011 models.

     

    HOWEVER its probably not your SSD or internal HD. If you purchased a 2011 model and if you are still receiving your flashing Question Mark and are unable to resolve with standard Steps http://support.apple.com/kb/ts1440

     

     

    Test it out by removing the internal HD/SSD from your mac. Try mounting in an external USB connected drive mount. If able to mount then this probably affects you.

     

    Its your Cable going to your internal HD that needs to be replaced in MOST instances in the 2011 model. Funnily I have just had to replace a number of cables suffering from this very same issue recently. The last one repaired was 2 hours ago.

     

    Hope this helps. Enjoy. 2011 wasn't a good year.(

  • 8. Re: MBA SSD Failure...then it works again...??
    Golf25Radioman Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    sabatica wrote:

     

    This is a known issue that seemed to randomly affect a small number of the 2011 models.

     

    HOWEVER its probably not your SSD or internal HD. If you purchased a 2011 model and if you are still receiving your flashing Question Mark and are unable to resolve with standard Steps http://support.apple.com/kb/ts1440

     

     

    Test it out by removing the internal HD/SSD from your mac. Try mounting in an external USB connected drive mount. If able to mount then this probably affects you.

     

    Its your Cable going to your internal HD that needs to be replaced in MOST instances in the 2011 model. Funnily I have just had to replace a number of cables suffering from this very same issue recently. The last one repaired was 2 hours ago.

     

    Hope this helps. Enjoy. 2011 wasn't a good year.(

    I haven't had any trouble with the internal HD, to this point.  The SSD change also was smooth until this oddity.  Not having ever seen an SSD failure (but many regular HD issues) I presumed it to be related to it.

     

    I'll give the external/USB suggestion to see if the SSD indeed can be confirmed as the culprit.

     

    Tom

  • 9. Re: MBA SSD Failure...then it works again...??
    JackSeoul Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    sabatica wrote:

     

    This is a known issue that seemed to randomly affect a small number of the 2011 models.

     

    Its your Cable going to your internal HD that needs to be replaced in MOST instances in the 2011 model. Funnily I have just had to replace a number of cables suffering from this very same issue recently. The last one repaired was 2 hours ago.

     

    Hope this helps. Enjoy. 2011 wasn't a good year.(

     

    Hi, I'm seeing intermittent failure of the Samsung SSD in my 11" 2011 Macbook air. The logic board was replaced under warranty (2 years) but not the SSD (1 year, expired) and the problem persists.

     

    I'm considering replacing the SSD with an OWC drive but I don't want to do that if the problem is with some cabling somewhere. However your description of the problem doesn't really match the 2011 MBA teardown photos on the internet - there's no cabling related to the SSD, which slots directly into the logic board.

     

    Is the common problem you're talking about applicable to the macbook air?

     

    Thanks

  • 10. Re: MBA SSD Failure...then it works again...??
    Golf25Radioman Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    JackSeoul wrote:

     

    sabatica wrote:

     

    This is a known issue that seemed to randomly affect a small number of the 2011 models.

     

    Its your Cable going to your internal HD that needs to be replaced in MOST instances in the 2011 model. Funnily I have just had to replace a number of cables suffering from this very same issue recently. The last one repaired was 2 hours ago.

     

    Hope this helps. Enjoy. 2011 wasn't a good year.(

     

    Hi, I'm seeing intermittent failure of the Samsung SSD in my 11" 2011 Macbook air. The logic board was replaced under warranty (2 years) but not the SSD (1 year, expired) and the problem persists.

     

    I'm considering replacing the SSD with an OWC drive but I don't want to do that if the problem is with some cabling somewhere. However your description of the problem doesn't really match the 2011 MBA teardown photos on the internet - there's no cabling related to the SSD, which slots directly into the logic board.

     

    Is the common problem you're talking about applicable to the macbook air?

     

    Thanks

    Not sure if cabling is the issue, hope its not.  After my suspected SSD failure (which I don't think it was) my graphics failed (the graphics is integrated into the logic board and required its replacement - thank goodness for AppleCare).  So I'm not sure if what I was experiencing was the pre-failure of the graphics.  I'm back up and running, have reinstalled the SSD and we'll see if there's some connection to it and the graphics failure (doubtful).  There so much of a performance increase from the SSD it's hard not to keep it in the computer; even a hybrid SSD was noticibly slower. 

     

    Figures I'd get a 2011 with a cable issue... 

     

    Tom

  • 11. Re: MBA SSD Failure...then it works again...??
    sirdanielm Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    The SSD in the 2012 MBA seems to be failing commonly these days...

  • 12. Re: MBA SSD Failure...then it works again...??
    Gregs67 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    My SSD failed one month out of warranty in Juli 2013

    After my mac was frozen I turned off the PC , but it don´t wake up again.

    I have boot with an external drive and I can't see the SSD in the system.

    Apple support told me to do a firmware update, when I start the update but it says I don´t need it!

  • 13. Re: MBA SSD Failure...then it works again...??
    MansterRock Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    2 out of 4 of my(my family's) 2012 model MBA have had their SSD Replaced since June 2013.

     

    1 of the 2 that had its SSD replaced, just had it happen now for a second time. Seems to happen on all 3 occasions when waking up from a sleep.

     

    I am a little bummed and very glad I bought AppleCare. as it's now out of warranty and very happy that my Synlogy NAS has a Time Machine backup from this morning. This will be the 3rd time Time Machine will do a full restore.

     

    Hmmmm.....I am thinking there is a pattern here.

  • 14. Re: MBA SSD Failure...then it works again...??
    Mrbil13 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Same problem as above. June 12, 2012 purchase date, so 3 months put of warranty. San Francisco 256gb ssd, may go into store to figure out. I believe mine died after software update of some sort. Hard boot down lead to folder with blinking question mark. 20,000 photos scattered on other devices will be frustrating to piece back together and reorganize.

1 2 Previous Next