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

MacBook - Shutdown issue when not touching keys/mouse

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Member Since: Jul 22, 2009
Posts: 2
JasRonq is on a distinguished road

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Help! I am having an issue on an old MacBook (white, not aluminum). The computer shuts down if I don't keep touching the mouse/trackpad or press keys. If updater is running, movies are playing, anything at all, it doesn't matter, the computer shuts down unless keys are being pressed or the trackpad is being twiddled.

Sometimes I get the dialog window asking "Do I really want to shutdown?" with the options to shutdown, restart, etc. Even if this pops up, the computer may still shut itself down.

This happens within the minute of not touching the inputs, usually within ten seconds.

As if this isn't strange enough... The problem is non-existent when started up in target disk mode, or in hardware test mode. It does on the other hand happen regardless of the OS or the hard drive. I cloned my iMac onto an external, and started up off that, it still happens, 10.4.6, 10.4.11, 10.5.7 all do it. Internal drive, eternal drive, 10.4 CD boot, 10.5 CD boot, they all do it. I've reinstalled the OS, I've zeroed the drive then installed the OS. Still happens.

Things I have done that didn't help:
Zeroed drive and reinstalled OS
Updated OS
Booted from other OS versions
Booted from externals and DVDs
Zapped PRAM
Ran Fsck -f
Ran virus scans
Ran Disk utilities and repaired permissions
Ran Hardware test, no problems found
None of the above found anything (some permissions fixed, but didn't help)

Help! If anyone wants to know other specifics to help figure this out, please ask. I can't think of anything else to try.

What is different about Target disk mode and Hardware test (diagnostics) mode that means it doesn't happen?

PS, I posted this underhardware because it seems to be totally OSX version independent. It may be firmware, and it doesn't happen in target disk mode and hardware test mode, and hardware test comes up clean, but it is definitly not in the OS.
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Collin Bl

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Try switching to another user or setting up a new user and see if you have the same problem in that user.
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Member Since: Jul 22, 2009
Posts: 2
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The issue is unchanged when logged in as root and when booting in safe mode.
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Member Since: Apr 02, 2012
Posts: 1
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I've experienced exactly the same and I was wondering if there is a solution for this problem as it is pretty annoying greets from belgium
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Member Since: Feb 22, 2013
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I have the same problem as described above. Here's a possible clue.

My machine was purchased "as is" off eBay. They stated the computer had water damage to the keyboard. I suspect some kind of weak short in the keyboard/mouse circuitry caused by sugar from soda or some other residue is fooling the software into thinking the power button is being pressed, or some other shutdown command sequence. It only kicks in after 40 seconds of accumulating enough capacitance.

I will pull the keyboard and clean up inside. If that doesn't work ill try a new keyboard. But I hope an inspection of things "under the hood" will reveal more clues.

BTW, the machine works fine as long as I rest a finger on the mouse pad or press keys when I'm not actively using the mousepad or keyboard. Apparently a signal through the mouse or a key press overrides the noise from the short.

P. S. eBay seller also claimed machine worked when connected to a USB keyboard,
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