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  1. #1
    Macbook Pro no longer recognizing internal hard drive

    Member Since
    May 19, 2013
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    3
    Exclamation Macbook Pro no longer recognizing internal hard drive
    Hello. I have a mid-2009 13" Macbook Pro. I was using it at home a couple weeks ago and when finished I powered it down and carried it back up stairs. A couple of days later, I powered it on only to find the flashing folder with a question mark.

    I had replaced the original 160GB hard drive with a Samsung 830 256MB SSD last summer. Booting from a Mountain Lion bootable usb drive I created with Lion Diskmaker 2.0.2 I found that the drive was not even showing up in the system. Thinking the drive may have died, I pulled it and hooked it up to my PC via an external USB adapter. All the data is still intact and I am able to read and write from the drive.

    I have since tried two different drives in the Mac. The first was a 750GB that I pulled from my daughters 2012 Macbook pro last summer. Had never even booted it up. I threw that in just to see if it would boot the existing operating system. It did not. Just the spinning white loading symbol for hours. I tried to boot to my ML usb drive and install a clean copy of ML but kept getting errors that the drive was locked. Couldn't erase anything or delete the existing partitions. Connected it to my PC and deleted the partitions with EaseUS partition manager, reinstalled the drive, and got the same error.

    Next I reinstalled the original 160GB drive that came with the laptop. It was formatted as a single FAT32 partition. Again the Mac would not recognize it in disk utility or the installer. Hooked it back to my pc and deleted the partitions again but still nothing.

    Just wondering if anyone could recommend a next step? Obviously the drives are not bad because they work externally, and the 750GB was at least recognized by the Mac so I doubt the controller or cable are bad. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

    Sorry for the long post. Realize it will be TLR for a lot of people but I wanted to include as much information as possible so nobody has to ask these questions.

  2. #2
    Macbook Pro no longer recognizing internal hard drive
    chscag's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 23, 2008
    Location
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Posts
    45,292
    Specs:
    27" iMac i5, 3.2 GHz, iPad 3, iPhone 5c, iPhone 6+, 3 iPods, Yosemite
    The SATA cable is suspect. I would change it as a precaution since good drives are not working in the machine. If it's not the cable, then we can think about the controller, however, if that's bad the entire logic board would have to replaced.

  3. #3
    Macbook Pro no longer recognizing internal hard drive
    dtravis7's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 04, 2005
    Location
    Modesto, Ca.
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    28,482
    Specs:
    iMac late 2007 10.11.b4, iMac 2008 10.10.5, Macbook2007 10.7.5, Mac Mini 10.7.5, iPhone 3GS Note 8!!
    I have seen many reports of those thin flex cables dying over time. I do agree with Chscag, that would be my next step. If even one conductor breaks the drive might try to work but fail. Seen that many times with those thin flex cables.

  4. #4
    Macbook Pro no longer recognizing internal hard drive

    Member Since
    May 19, 2013
    Posts
    3
    Thanks for the help. I will try the cable first. I know iFixit sells them for about $60, but does anyone know a better, cheaper source? Hate to drop $60 to find out it's the controller.

    Took the original drive, hooked it to the mac via a usb enclosure and was able to boot from it fine. So definitely agree on either the cable or the controller.

  5. #5
    Macbook Pro no longer recognizing internal hard drive
    dtravis7's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 04, 2005
    Location
    Modesto, Ca.
    Posts
    28,482
    Specs:
    iMac late 2007 10.11.b4, iMac 2008 10.10.5, Macbook2007 10.7.5, Mac Mini 10.7.5, iPhone 3GS Note 8!!
    Let me see what I can find. That sure sounds high for a stupid cable! What is your exact model again?


    Trying to find out if this is the right cable.

    http://www.amazon.com/Drive-Cable-Se...ref=pd_cp_pc_1

  6. #6
    Macbook Pro no longer recognizing internal hard drive

    Member Since
    May 19, 2013
    Posts
    3
    Wink
    Quote Originally Posted by dtravis7 View Post
    Let me see what I can find. That sure sounds high for a stupid cable! What is your exact model again?

    Trying to find out if this is the right cable.

    Amazon.com: Hard Drive Cable w/ IR Sensor for MacBook Pro 13" Unibody - 922-9062: Computers & Accessories
    Sorry for the late reply. Was out all afternoon. I have the mid-2009 Macbook Pro 13.3 2.26Ghz. I believe the Apple model number is MB990LL/A and that link you provided appears to be the correct part. I will look around for a better price but $25 shipped is more than acceptable. Thanks again for your help. I will update the post once I have done the repair and report my results in case someone else comes looking for help with a similar issue.

  7. #7
    Macbook Pro no longer recognizing internal hard drive

    Member Since
    Jan 26, 2011
    Posts
    2
    I've got an A1211 (15", 2.16MHz, Core 2 Duo) that's exhibiting a similar problem. I can get it to boot off an external FW drive, and the OS-disc, but the internal drive is invisible to the system. I tried replacing the cable, still nothing. Do the "controller" sections of the motherboard often go out on these MacBook Pro's?

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