2008 MBP will only boot from external drive

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by NaughtyMonkey, Dec 10, 2011.

  1. NaughtyMonkey macrumors newbie

    Dec 10, 2011
    My 2008 pre-Unibody 15" MacBook Pro (A1260)stopped booting a few weeks ago. Upon powering up, it displayed the icon of a folder with a question mark.
    Disk Utilities and Tech Tool Pro (from bootable disks) did not see any hard drive at all. I figured that the hard drive had crashed, so I ordered a replacement.

    Replaced the HD (took out old Hitachi 250GB and replaced it with new Hitachi 750 GB 7200 rpm) and, once again, no HD seen in Disk Utilities or Tech Tool Pro. I put the old (presumably crashed) HD into an external enclosure and attached it to my iMac - old HD was seen, contents were intact and I was able to boot from it on iMac. So old HD working fine. At this point, I figured that the HD cable in MBP was broken (I read a series of reports stating that the HD cables are known to fail). Replaced it with a brand new HD cable from OWC. Cloned the contents of the old HD onto the new one and tried intalling both the HDs into MBP with the new HD cable. Neither one boots, no HD seen.

    Now here is the funny thing. Both HDs boot just fine (although slowly) when booting from an external enclosure, but neither boot from the internal position even with a new HD cable. Does anyone have any ideas on troubleshooting or fixing this?

    I suspect a problem with the logic board, but I wouldnt expect it to boot from an external drive if the logic board was screwed.


  2. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
    You could buy an optibay or some cheap variation of it, put the HDD in place of the optical drive, and see if it boots from there (before buying the optibay, you should probably try to boot from a CD).

    Logic board error sounds most likely. Probably the SATA controller, which would explain why you can boot from an external disc.

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