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

MacBook Pro Hard Drive Connection Problem


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beanlynch

 
Member Since: Oct 02, 2007
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A couple weeks ago my MacBook Pro was running and suddenly went into a non-stop pinwheel freeze. After waiting a few minutes I decided to do a manual shut down and when I attempted to reboot it, I just got a blank white screen that wouldn't go away and then a blinking question mark folder when I tried it again. Luckily I already had an external HardDrive Dock so I removed my Hard Drive, used the system startup Disc that came with the computer to redirect the start up disc, and I've been able to boot my MacBook from the Dock since then through a USB cable. So I have a temporary fix, but of course it requires a lot of set up, it's a slower connection, and is less convenient when I take my laptop from place to place.

What I want to do is replace the connection between the Hard Drive and I my MacBook but I want to make sure that I purchase the right part. My MacBook is two or three years old now but it runs fine (besides these issues) and is fast enough for all of my needs. My Macbook is a MacBookPro5,5 with an Intel Core 2. I believe it is a 15 inch model. I'd like to avoid taking this to the Apple Store if possible because I have a limited budget and this should be a pretty simple repair as long as I'm replacing the right part. Can anyone tell me what the probable part is that I need to replace?
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chscag

 
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I'm having a bit of difficulty understanding what happened but here's what I suspect:

Your internal hard drive in your MacBook Pro has probably died. And now you're using an external hard drive in a carrier to boot from and run OS X? If that's true, everything will be considerably slower because you're connecting by USB.

What you will need to do is replace the defective hard drive in your MacBook Pro and reinstall OS X to it plus all your apps. If you have a cloned external hard drive that you're now using, you can clone that back to the new hard drive to get things working again. I hope you understand the procedure I'm referring to.

Post back to this same thread if you have any questions. The changing out of the hard drive in your MacBook Pro is an easy do it yourself task. But you will need to purchase a new hard drive and possibly a new SATA cable between the hard drive and logic board.
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harryb2448

 
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When booted to the external, go into Disk utility and see if the internal is listed. if it is run Repair Disk and advise what is reported. If it does not appear, replace as Moderator chscag suggests. You can also do this booting from the system disc, which is probably Snow Leopard OS X.6.

Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!
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beanlynch

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chscag View Post
I'm having a bit of difficulty understanding what happened but here's what I suspect:

Your internal hard drive in your MacBook Pro has probably died. And now you're using an external hard drive in a carrier to boot from and run OS X? If that's true, everything will be considerably slower because you're connecting by USB.

What you will need to do is replace the defective hard drive in your MacBook Pro and reinstall OS X to it plus all your apps. If you have a cloned external hard drive that you're now using, you can clone that back to the new hard drive to get things working again. I hope you understand the procedure I'm referring to.

Post back to this same thread if you have any questions. The changing out of the hard drive in your MacBook Pro is an easy do it yourself task. But you will need to purchase a new hard drive and possibly a new SATA cable between the hard drive and logic board.
I think you're misunderstanding the situation. I'm running the computer from it's own Hard Drive. But I'm having to boot it through USB from an external Hard Drive Reader because my computer isn't able to read the Hard Drive when it is directly connected. So I'm assuming that it's a connection issue and I want to replace that part. But I don't know what the name of the part is that connects the Hard Drive to the computer.
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chscag

 
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OK, sorry about misreading the problem. What you need is the SATA connector which goes from the internal hard drive to the logic board. That particular cable is subject to a lot of heat and eventually becomes brittle. Probably suffered an internal break.

Here are several places where you can purchase the cable. Make sure you get the right one.

Mac Repair - Mac Parts and Service for Apple Macbook, iPhone, iPad

iFixit: The free repair manual

Mac Parts & Apple Parts Store - Macintosh Parts

Good luck with the repair and let us know how it went.
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VAMountaineer

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beanlynch View Post
I think you're misunderstanding the situation. I'm running the computer from it's own Hard Drive. But I'm having to boot it through USB from an external Hard Drive Reader because my computer isn't able to read the Hard Drive when it is directly connected. So I'm assuming that it's a connection issue and I want to replace that part. But I don't know what the name of the part is that connects the Hard Drive to the computer.
That hard drive ribbon cable is a very common failure that I've seen.. I have done so many of these this year alone, that I actually bought them in bulk from wegener media.

there are numerous models, so make sure you get the correct one for your year!

Oh, and one other note (I learned this form the folks at wegener, who were kind enough to include instructions!): Be sure you disconnect your battery AND discharge the logic board prior to starting.. Otherwise you'll likely damage the new cable when plugging it in!
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