Mac Hard Drive Issues

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by skypilot09, Oct 29, 2012.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Location:
    Oklahoma City, OK
    #1
    Hi all,

    I'm hoping you all can help me out with an issue I'm having with my girlfriend's mid 2009 13" Macbook Pro. Last night she tried to start the computer and was greeted with the grey folder with the flashing question mark icon. She (of course) did not have a back up, so I swapped out the HDD with my MBP and it did boot. I backed everything up with the intention of doing a clean install of 10.8 and then restoring from that back up. This morning I put her HDD back in her computer and tried to do a clean install. However, the installer cannot find the HDD at all.

    Now I'm stumped. If the drive was the issue, wouldn't the same problems be present on both computers with the bad drive in them? Currently I'm using the "bad" drive in my own MBP repairing the disk permissions. Does anyone have any suggestions? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. macrumors P6

    Weaselboy

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    #2
    If the drive works fine in your machine and not hers, but you cannot see the drive at all on her machine, it could be that the drive connection to the logic board is bad. Try running the Apple Hardware Test on her machine from the DVD that came with it. I believe the AHT is on the second DVD for that machine.
     
  3. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Location:
    Oklahoma City, OK
    #3
    @weaselboy I just ran the AHT and it said no trouble was found. I own Drive Genius 3. Might the drive benefit from a repair run through with the DG3?
     
  4. macrumors 68000

    AppleNewton

    Joined:
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    Location:
    1 Finite Place
    #4
    back-up all the data on that drive. try putting the drive back into her MacBook (her original drive) and perform an SMC Reset and PRAM reset
    Outlined here:
    SMC http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3964
    PRAM http://support.apple.com/kb/PH11243


    to see if the drive comes back online. sometimes software, firmware or changes on the system may cause the drive to appear offline for that machine.
     
  5. macrumors P6

    Weaselboy

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    #5
    You can certainly try, but often the ? mark means the machine cannot see the drive at all... and if that is the case DG3 may not work. Sure worth a try though.
     
  6. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Location:
    Oklahoma City, OK
    #6
    @AppleNewton I cleared the PRAM last night thinking that might help, but unfortunately, no change. I haven't done an SMC reset, however, so I'll swap the drives when I get home and do both again and report back. Thanks for the suggestions.

    ----------

    Yeah that's kind of what I figured. I was thinking that since the drive works in my MBP I could put the bad drive in mine, boot hers from the DG3 cd and boot mine (with the bad drive) into target disk mode and maybe I could repair it connected via firewire.
     
  7. macrumors 68000

    AppleNewton

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    #7
    If you have access to disk warrior, use that especially if you can see it on another machine.
     
  8. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Location:
    Oklahoma City, OK
    #8
    Okay, I've tried a few different things without success.

    First, I tried booting her computer (with my hard drive) and it will not boot with my hard drive either. Which makes me think there is a much larger issue than her hard drive.

    Secondly I put her hard drive back in her computer and I cleared the PRAM and reset the SMC, but the issue still persists.

    I do have Disk Warrior, but it is installed on my machine, not hers. Short of taking this to the Apple Store are there any other solutions I can try?
     
  9. macrumors 68000

    AppleNewton

    Joined:
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    #9
    if the drive mounts on your computer, try an external enclosure, and run disk utility on that.

    more than likely it appears to be a shorted/bad data cable (aka SATA Cable), probably a cheap fix if not under warranty.
     
  10. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Location:
    Oklahoma City, OK
    #10
    Just a quick google of "Macbook Pro SATA" all but confirms your theory. Others have described almost identical issues with a bad cable, it seems. I'll order one from iFixit and let you know if that fixes it. Thanks to both of you for all the help!
     
  11. macrumors 68000

    AppleNewton

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    #11
    goodluck, post back with details.

    its funny ive worked with techs that say cables never fail, a huge fraction of the time spent on these devices resulted in swapping the cable vs the HDD. not always but alot more than expected. :cool:
     
  12. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #12
    I suggest you spend about $25 and get one of these devices:

    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias=aps&field-keywords=usb+sata+dock&x=0&y=0
    (many items shown, they all work the same, just pick one you like that's cheap)

    Having a USB/SATA dock at hand will make your diagnostic and repair efforts go much more easily.

    Once you have it, put YOUR drive back into YOUR Mac.

    Then, put your GF's bad drive into the dock, hook it to your Mac, and turn it on.

    You may find that even though the drive is not "bootable", it's still "mountable", and shows up on the desktop.

    At this point you can decide what to do next -- use Drive Genius to repair it, copy her personal files to some other drive, perhaps even re-initialize and restore the old drive (and you can "test-boot" from the dock if necessary).

    Perhaps her system has gone bad or gotten corrupted, but her personal data is still intact and unharmed (the latter is what really counts). You may be able to re-initialize the drive, put a clean system onto it, and then restore her personal data.

    And if you get this done, buy her a USB/SATA dock of her own, a "bare" drive, and get ahold of CarbonCopyCloner and show her how to use it!
     
  13. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Location:
    Oklahoma City, OK
    #13
    That's great to know considering replacing the cable is much cheaper than the drive itself. I've got the part ordered and will post back Friday when it comes in.

    You have no idea how much I was wishing for a hard drive enclosure during this ordeal haha. After swapping the drive for what seemed like the 10+ time I was ready to pay any price (target disk mode did not prove very helpful). I've been meaning to pick one up for more than a year, but it's one of those items that your forget about until you need it. I'll definitely be picking one of these up now.

    I've stressed the importance of backing up and the usefulness of these programs (Drive Genius, Disk Warrior, CarbonCopyCloner, etc.), but in her world everything just works. There are no problems. Maybe I can use this as a segue into getting her to use applications other than Safari and Twitter. Here's to hoping. Thanks for the help!
     
  14. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Location:
    Oklahoma City, OK
    #14
    Just following up real quick to let you all know that the new SATA cable fixed the issue! Received the part Friday afternoon and within about 5 minutes her computer was up and running. Thanks again for all of your help and suggestions!
     
  15. macrumors 68000

    AppleNewton

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    #15
    Excellent, great to hear.
     

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