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Apple Notebooks Apple's notebook computers including MacBook Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, PowerBook, and iBook.

MacBook - Is my hard drive dead?!


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dogtanian

 
Member Since: Jun 02, 2009
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Hello
I wonder whether anyone could kindly give me some advice please?

I have a Macbook, about 20 months old, running 10.4.

Last night it froze for no reason and I couldn't do anything, not even Force Quit applications as it was totally unresponsive. I turned it off by holding the power key. When I restarted the macbook it had a grey screen and flashing folder with a question mark in.

I googled and found loads of info on what I needed to do.... but I'm having the following probs.

When I boot pressing C the machine will not startup from DVD. I've tried this about 50 times! On one occasion only it DID, but when I selected the Disk Utility it got stuck on Gathering Disk Information with the cogwheel and wouldn't progress past there. I haven't been able to get back to that stage again.

When I boot pressing D with DVD1 in the drive - nothing happens.

When I boot pressing T I have managed to get the firewire logo to appear twice.

When I boot pressing shift or Command-V or Command-S -- nothing happens.

When I boot pressing Control - the mouse pointer appears but the blank screen remains. At this stage the caps-lock key will light if pressed, whereas on trying the other boot sequences above it will not.

I have reset the NVRAM which appeared to work because it reset my volume level (previously on mute) so I now hear the start-up tone... but it hasn't helped my problem.

I now don't get the flashing folder when I try and start up... I just get the grey screen. After a period of time it will spit my DVD out and the flashing folder with question mark reappears.

My wife has a Macbook Pro so I've just ordered a firewire 9 to 6 pin cable and if I can get my Macbook to boot into firewire mode again I will try and see if I can grab any of my files from the hard drive. But to be honest there is nothing on my hard drive that I am that worried about, so if I can't salvage anything it doesn't matter -- I certainly don't want to be paying for any attempted data recovery.

I have a few questions it anyone can help:
- Does it sound to you like this is just a hard drive failure or could it be something more catastrophic?

If it is just a hard drive failure then I don't really want to be paying my Apple service centre for tell me this....... not least because they are 40 mins drive away but also because the instructions/pics I have seen make it seem like it's a very simple job to change my own hard drive.

Therefore if I were to buy my own I'm not really sure what to get? I don't really need anything bigger than 250 or 320GB. I don't know what make is good or who is a good online retailer?
For example these 3 are all 59.99 but one is 160GB, one 250GB and one 320GB and the spec all looks pretty similar to me:

160Gb 2.5" SATA Hard Disk Drive Apple MacBook/Pro/Mini - Apple Mac Store

Hard Disk Drive Apple MacBook/Pro/Mini 250GB - Apple Mac Store

- Scorpio Blue 320GB Hard Drive Upgrade for MacBook & Mac mini Mac One stop Shop

Many thanks for any help.
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Kevriano

 
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Not necessarily the HD, though it's possible.
FSCK has cured this problem for 2 people here recently, on my recommendation, so well worth a try.

Have a read of my "how to" in this thread:

http://www.mac-forums.com/forums/app...tml#post850202

Well worth trying for sure.

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techiesteve

 
Member Since: Apr 24, 2009
Location: UK
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Based upon your symptoms almost certainly the HD has failed. You can prove this by ejecting the battery, undoing the 3 small captive philips screws, pulling out the 'L' bracket, then the HD by its white tab, the try starting from install DVD 1, the Macbook will boot the installer no problem. A failed Macbook HD can effect booting from a DVD, and can give a grey screen for some time. It's very easy replacing the drive.

Steve Bell
UK
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dogtanian

 
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Kevriano - I just get the grey screen booting with Apple + S

techiesteve - genius! I removed the hard drive and can now get the installation screen booting from DVD.

Please, please can you or someone else give me a bit of advice re a new HD. In my OP I have 3 links all at 59.99 but one is 160GB, one 250GB and one 320GB and the spec all looks pretty similar to me. Is there a preferred reliable manufacturer of HDs generally recommended?
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Kevriano

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dogtanian View Post
Kevriano - I just get the grey screen booting with Apple + S

techiesteve - genius! I removed the hard drive and can now get the installation screen booting from DVD.

Please, please can you or someone else give me a bit of advice re a new HD. In my OP I have 3 links all at 59.99 but one is 160GB, one 250GB and one 320GB and the spec all looks pretty similar to me. Is there a preferred reliable manufacturer of HDs generally recommended?

Ok shame.
No preferred manufacturer for reliability, but Western Digital are very popular at the moment.

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vansmith

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dogtanian View Post
Please, please can you or someone else give me a bit of advice re a new HD. In my OP I have 3 links all at 59.99 but one is 160GB, one 250GB and one 320GB and the spec all looks pretty similar to me. Is there a preferred reliable manufacturer of HDs generally recommended?
Some people might swear by Seagate and some by Western Digital. They both have pretty similar warranties and pricing so you should be fine with both. Me personally, the first HD I bought was a WD and I have since then because none of them has died on me. Why fix something that's not broken?

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dogtanian

 
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Thanks for the advice.

Sorry, I've never done anything like this before, so it's a learning curve.

So, the type of 2.5" internal hard drive that I'm after is it not Mac specific then? Are these universal and fit in pc notebooks, ps3 etc?

I've seen this WD drive on Amazon: Western Digital Scorpio Black 320GB SATAII 16MB Cache: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics & Photo but I'm not sure if it's ok for macbook. One person says he bought it for his macbook and made this comment:

Quote:
...The higher than normal (for a laptop drive) RPM is definitely noticable in my macbook as there is now an audible vibration whenever I place it on a hard surface, and it has also caused a slight increase in operating temprature. However I have also noted increased speed for data access, and I haven't noticed much change in battery life, which surprised me as I assumed a 7200rpm drive would consume much more power....
Is that a real issue and would you recommend sticking to a 5400rpm drive therefore?
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vansmith

 
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I upgraded from a 5400RPM drive to a 7200RPM drive and while the drive does run warmer (not much and nowhere near temps that are dangerous for the drive) and louder (it's still pretty quiet), it is faster. If the 7200RPM isn't much more expensive, go for it.

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techiesteve

 
Member Since: Apr 24, 2009
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There will be users who report successfully fitting 7200 rpm drives to Macbooks, but I tend to ere on the side of caution. I replace no end of hard drives in Macbooks each day, sometimes 3 or 4, and wouldn't want to temp early life failure, as even the 5400 rpm drives seem to fail readily. 7200 rpm drives in MBP's, yes. I only fit Seagate drives, and WD 500 GB drives in MBP's, but only as the company I work for only buy these in for out of warranty spares, but find they perform well and are as reliable as any HD could be.

Steve Bell
UK
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andrewkevin1

 
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i agree with techsteve, he said HD is failed, its better to buy a new one by replacing it dogtanian. Hope you solve the problem.

Thanks and regards
Portable hard drives
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