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Old Aug 29, 2007, 11:10 PM   #1
papayafish
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Macbook Hard Drive Failure Epidemic

Here's my story. I purchased my black Macbook new August 2006 with an original 80GB HD. A few months later, I experienced my first failure and lost all my data. The computer started up one morning with a severe clicking sound and a question mark blinking on a manila folder on the start-up screen. Come to about one month ago and the same thing happens. I was on YouTube at the time when my computer suddenly froze up and refused to work. I took it to the Apple Store where I was told the HD was dead and I needed to replace it AGAIN.

I asked the IT people at my high school about their experiences with Macbooks and they said 10/12 have had the exact same failure. Looking at the Apple forums, I've found many people with similar problems...it's funny how the topic on the apple.com forum with the same name as this is locked...no, it's actually really frustrating to me.

I've put in an order for another HD(my one year warranty has expired and no AppleCare=no hope of getting a free replacement) but if this HD fails as well, then I don't know what I'll do. I can't afford to keep replacing HDs every few months.

Another thing, I know it's not the HD itself because many others have had the same issue. I'm pretty sure this is an inherent design flaw in the computer itself which Apple should address.

Any tips/suggestions? What should I do if my HD fails again? Just buy another one or another possibly faulty Macbook? My parents are getting so pissed that they even suggested buying a Thinkpad!!!
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Old Aug 30, 2007, 05:40 AM   #2
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Either sounds like you are really unlucky or you're a bit rough with your Mac. My flatmates Macbook has never missed a beat and he uses it everywhere, all day, everyday.

The thinkpad isnt a nice thought is it!!!

Hope your luck changes!!!
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Old Aug 30, 2007, 09:42 AM   #3
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I agree your luck with hard drives seems to be bad. However the geeks at your highschool who told you 10 out of 12 macbook hard drives will fail reminds me of another poster who tried to convince us that she heard on the internet that 50% of all macbooks will die in a year or have major problems. She took such a beating from everyone that after the original post or 2 she was shamed out of the forum. Basically what it boiled down to was the idea that youve been had on a false percentage of failures. You cant go to a forum and expect to see a good mix of horror and blessing stories because people usually go to a forum to bitch, its called forum bias. Also with that bias comes a bit of forum lies, and the ever popular trollers just trying to raise a lil bit of controversy. Everyones trying to get something free. In your case its very unfortunate that you let your applecare expire because in your (somewhat) unique case you are having problems keeping a hard drive alive. There arent very many things that actually could be causing this physically in the computer besides a few variables that you can try to be aware of. First, dont violently shake your laptop, that means in a bag too, and if its in a bag try to put a neophrene case around it to keep it from knocking around. This holds true ESPECIALLY when the hard disk is hot from use, thats its most vounerable time, so let it cool down for a minute or 5 before you sack it away. Obviously dont use a generic hard disk, ever, just use the oem parts whenever possible. If your laptop eats the next one and youve been extra extra careful with it, just be sure you have a backup and with these books its super easy to replace it on your own. If your current one does die a premature death (about 3 years) I would put a new disk in there, load the os and sell it on ebay. Use that money towards a new one. Thats about all you really can do. Just please dont be going around trying to convince people that 10 out of 12 macbooks will have hard disk failure prematurely, I would have a better time beleiving 1 out of 100. Lucky you! But your replacement shoudl hold up just fine.
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Old Aug 30, 2007, 09:51 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by papayafish View Post
Another thing, I know it's not the HD itself because many others have had the same issue. I'm pretty sure this is an inherent design flaw in the computer itself which Apple should address.

Any tips/suggestions? What should I do if my HD fails again? Just buy another one or another possibly faulty Macbook? My parents are getting so pissed that they even suggested buying a Thinkpad!!!
Perhaps the brand of hard drives that Apple is using is faulty. We have the 60GB Macbook and it's been fine.

If Apple won't replace the hard drive this time, you should buy a nice 160GB (or bigger) hard drive and put it in yourself. It'll come with a 3 or 5 year warranty, so if it fails, you could get a new one from the manufacturer.

And maybe buy a different brand than the one that comes with the MB.

ft
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Old Aug 30, 2007, 09:54 AM   #5
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out of my 4 bad macbooks 2 had the hard drive clicking, My MBP is sooooo quiet it was the first think i checked....oh and yes the Macbooks were all bad but my last one was perfect and quiet...2.16
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Old Aug 30, 2007, 12:22 PM   #6
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seagate = 5 year warranty

speaking of which you should have gotten apple care, after the third replacement talk to the tech and they may give you a brand new mackbook
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Old Aug 30, 2007, 12:27 PM   #7
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When the same part fails in the same computer repeatedly, it's systemic... it has to be one of a few limited issues:

- You have (excessively) dirty power in your home
- There is a central flaw (probably power delivery) in your Mac
- Something that's being done, whether physically to the computer or software wise or whatever, is abusing the part in question

The odds of receiving three bad "lemon" hard drives in a row, even from the worst HD manufacturer, are pretty slim.

Just to comment on the school's "10/12"... the experiences here on MR don't seem to be anywhere near that high.
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Old Aug 30, 2007, 12:36 PM   #8
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You MUST Buy Applecare With Mobile Macs

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Originally Posted by papayafish View Post
I've put in an order for another HD(my one year warranty has expired and no AppleCare=no hope of getting a free replacement) but if this HD fails as well, then I don't know what I'll do. I can't afford to keep replacing HDs every few months.
Not buying Applecare for a mobile Mac is asking for trouble. It's a freaking MOBILE Mac. Stuff goes wrong way more often in mobile Macs. It's a RULE to always buy Applecare with Mobile Macs.
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Old Aug 30, 2007, 12:37 PM   #9
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Hard drives fail, how could it be the computers fault anyway? I've had several macs in the past year and none of them have had a hard drive that failed. Although I have had a hard drive that failed on me at one point, because it happens. It's the piece in your computer that is the most likely to fail.
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Old Aug 30, 2007, 12:37 PM   #10
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I agree with mkrishnan - something else is going on here.

I was once in a Microcenter and a salesman accidentally knocked over part of a display of brand new Seagate hard drives. He thought nobody saw and quickly picked them up. Just imagine if some poor slob bought a drive there that failed - he would return it and exchange it for another drive from the same display. It too would fail, and then that person might go on a forum and rant about how Seagate builds bad HDDs...
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Old Aug 30, 2007, 12:39 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkrishnan View Post
- You have (excessively) dirty power in your home
The MB and MBP have external power supplies plus internal regulars. This is highly ridiculously improbable. On top of that, he'd know there was a problem his TVs, radios, lights, and everything else without those conditioners would be be breaking much more often.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mkrishnan View Post
The odds of receiving three bad "lemon" hard drives in a row, even from the worst HD manufacturer, are pretty slim.
I used to buy only western digital hard disks. After they switch off the 6 gig platers everyone I've had has failed. And I'm talking many more then 3.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mkrishnan View Post
Just to comment on the school's "10/12"... the experiences here on MR don't seem to be anywhere near that high.
well, I have to totally agree with you here. However, I will add that it seems apple has had a lot of issues with their stuff since switching to intel.




Oh, and my CD MBP 17" had a total hard drive failure resulting in total data lose as well.
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Old Aug 30, 2007, 12:44 PM   #12
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Not buying Applecare for a mobile Mac is asking for trouble. It's a freaking MOBILE Mac. Stuff goes wrong way more often in mobile Macs. It's a RULE to always buy Applecare with Mobile Macs.
exactly who's "rule" is this? why should you expect somthing to fail within 3 years? as long as you dont bang the thing about it should last ages.
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Old Aug 30, 2007, 12:47 PM   #13
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I disagree - Apple's quality control has not changed appreciably since before the Intel transition. They are good, but there are lemons out there, as there are with any product. Apple is making more laptops now than ever before, which means that even if the percentage of lemons produced remains constant, the absolute number of lemons goes up as production increases.

Some appliances are much more tolerant of dirty power than others. A light bulb can handle all sorts of power fluctuations that would kill a computer. Not saying that's what is happening here, but it's not impossible.

I have only had 3 hard drives fail on me in 14 years, and of those three two of them failed when they were over 10 years old. I bought a 160GB Western Digital SATA hard drive from Newegg last year and it died after about 9 months. Other than that I've had good luck with HDDs. Your mileage, of course, may vary. But 3 failures in quick succession indicates that the MacBook is eating the drives because of some other problem.
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Old Aug 30, 2007, 12:47 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by logandzwon View Post
The MB and MBP have external power supplies plus internal regulars. This is highly ridiculously improbable. On top of that, he'd know there was a problem his TVs, radios, lights, and everything else without those conditioners would be be breaking much more often.
I was trying to be general about the list, yes, sorry. Agreed this is far less likely in a notebook than a desktop. With respect to other devices, though, aside from perhaps your DVR and maybe your router, your computer is probably the most power surge sensitive electronic item in your home. Think about the other examples... when people have power surges because of storms, there are numerous posts on the internet about this taking a router down. I don't think I've ever heard of it taking a DVD player or a microwave oven down. I think that some devices are just more sensitive to this. I think actually a fair number of erratic computer behaviors are actually undiagnosed power issues. But not necessarily that this is one of them.
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Old Aug 30, 2007, 12:53 PM   #15
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Running Any Computer Without A UPS Is Insane

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Originally Posted by mkrishnan View Post
I was trying to be general about the list, yes, sorry. Agreed this is far less likely in a notebook than a desktop. With respect to other devices, though, aside from perhaps your DVR and maybe your router, your computer is probably the most power surge sensitive electronic item in your home. Think about the other examples... when people have power surges because of storms, there are numerous posts on the internet about this taking a router down. I don't think I've ever heard of it taking a DVD player or a microwave oven down. I think that some devices are just more sensitive to this. I think actually a fair number of erratic computer behaviors are actually undiagnosed power issues. But not necessarily that this is one of them.
I can't believe in this day and age that any of you run your Macs without a UPS between them and the wall. They cost next to nothing and eliminate any chance of dirty power or surges ever getting near your Mac.

Last week I bought Belkin 900VA 540 Watt UPS for $70 at Fry's. That's the kind of UPS that would keep a Mac Pro running for half an hour beyond total power failure.

Last edited by Multimedia; Aug 30, 2007 at 01:00 PM.
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Old Aug 30, 2007, 01:06 PM   #16
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I agree it's a very good idea to get a UPS, though I have never used one at home. My next tower will be getting one.

The common perception is that a surge protector is sufficient, which may or may not be true...if you want to be safe a UPS is a good investment. The problem with me is that every time I have cash to spend on my Mac it turns into video cards, RAM, software or other upgrades...
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Old Aug 30, 2007, 01:09 PM   #17
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I can't believe in this day and age that any of you run your Macs without a UPS between them and the wall. They cost next to nothing and eliminate any chance of dirty power or surges ever getting near your Mac.
My UPS actually arrived in the mail yesterday. It's charging up today and I'm going to power it up tonight! But the reality with notebooks is they're also going to be used away from "good power." That's why they have such great buffering in their power supplies. It's not reasonable to ask notebook owners to carry a surge suppressor strip around with their 4.6 lb notebook.
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Old Aug 30, 2007, 08:59 PM   #18
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I'm on my 3rd 160GB hard drive since April on my C2D 17" 2.33 model. I've had Hitachi and Seagate models (all supplied from Apple), both with the same failure mode.

Since it occurs with multiple brands, this surely isn't a bad batch of disks -- there must be something wrong with Apple's recent logic boards that is somehow inducing failures in hard drives. I can only hope that this is someday soon resolved, whether via firmware updates or a special repair program.

It's infuriatingly restrictive to not be able to trust your main work computer. Sure, I back up, but this is just ridiculous.
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Old Aug 30, 2007, 09:22 PM   #19
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UPS? Yeah, for those of us that use our laptop about 95% on the road, that makes real good sense. I need an inexpensive portable printer that fits in my briefcase more. I've hard crashed HP Unix servers by butt-swiping the 30-Amp power line more times than I can remember (and no, my ass ain't that big, it's just tight quarters back there), and they return to life every time, without fail. Now, tape drives are another story.

Hard drive failures? In 26 years, I've had exactly one fail. I've also had a total of one power supply smoke itself in the same time (a $30 ATX PS for my Frankenputer, about 8 years ago).

For me, it's just a weekly SuperDuper smart backup weekly, AppleCare, and a new machine about every three years or so. No worries. YMMV.
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Old Aug 30, 2007, 11:45 PM   #20
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I'm on my 3rd 160GB hard drive since April on my C2D 17" 2.33 model. I've had Hitachi and Seagate models (all supplied from Apple), both with the same failure mode.

Since it occurs with multiple brands, this surely isn't a bad batch of disks -- there must be something wrong with Apple's recent logic boards that is somehow inducing failures in hard drives. I can only hope that this is someday soon resolved, whether via firmware updates or a special repair program.

It's infuriatingly restrictive to not be able to trust your main work computer. Sure, I back up, but this is just ridiculous.
Actually, I've had a Seagate fail and then a Hitachi fail. I need to see how to get a warranty to replace the failed drive since I ordered it from Other World Computing(OWC). Bahhh, this is so stressful.

As for damage and abuse, I don't know if keeping my comp in its case whenever I take it out and making sure to always shut down properly constitues "abuse." If it can't take that, then god help Apple.

Also, the 10/12 failure rate was just something I heard from my school's IT staff. I can't believe that the HDs are just faulty if my school's bulk failed that high. Plus, you have to agree that that failure rate is ridiculous. I've looked around on other forums(Apple.com and other minor tech forums) and found loads of people with the same issue. What the national percentage is, who knows?

As for Applecare, you know, I'm a student and that extra 200 dollars can be hard to shell out. Plus, I'm not carrying around a UPS while working in class or out in cafes. That's not practical at all.

Thanks so much for the responses, by the way. I'm going to work on getting the HD manufacturer to replace the HD free under warranty or something. Baaah, this is so stressful. But let me say, if this next HD fails, you will be hearing from me about it here again.
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Old Aug 31, 2007, 01:21 AM   #21
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OMG......Hard Drive Failure!!!

I had waken my 17MBPC2D from sleep so that I can download/upgrade my AEBS fireware and I can hear my harddrive spinning "clicking" randomly and system froze....forced power down and now will not boot!!!

FYI, 160GB 5400rpm HD.......145GB data is what I'm concerned about!!!
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Old Aug 31, 2007, 02:01 AM   #22
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I asked the IT people at my high school about their experiences with Macbooks and they said 10/12 have had the exact same failure.
Come on, everyone knows that 14/56 statistics are made up right on the spot.

That being said my Black MacBook is awesome. It is completely silent, no problems whatsoever. I also keep a back-up of my data because I know that hard drives are fickle and crash. Nothing like loosing 3 back-up hard drives in the span of a week. I guess I should have burned some DVDs.
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Old Aug 31, 2007, 02:16 AM   #23
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I bought a MBP, got yellow problem + hard drive failure.

My friend bought a Macbook, hard drive failure.

Thats 2/2 for me. We both returned the MAC, will try again couple years later.
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Old Aug 31, 2007, 06:22 AM   #24
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It's amazing how many people need a hard drive to die and all of their data to disintigrate before they learn to back things up. BACK THINGS UP!!!!!!

.. I'm part of this group of people :-D Now i have 2 copies of all my data, one internal one external so it can be easily transported from system to system.. do it
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Old Aug 31, 2007, 07:44 AM   #25
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.. I'm part of this group of people :-D Now i have 2 copies of all my data, one internal one external so it can be easily transported from system to system.. do it
Yes, and SuperDuper is excellent. It makes it very easy. I have to admit that I have not traditionally been good about this, but I'm getting better. I started by storing backups of my iBook on my iMac and now I have an external 500GB 7200.10 SATA drive to back them both up.
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